The 3 crucial types of behaviour in a working environment

Some people will say that ending up with a productive team and nice colleagues is pure dumb luck. I don’t think that is entirely true. Luck is an ambiguous factor that reminds me of procrastination.

Once we have found ourselves in a new working environment we need to learn how to deal with different types of behaviour.

A perfect world in which we will be friends will all our colleagues doesn’t exist. Difficulties and challenges are there to help us develop. Whether you like it or not, that is simply the way it is.

During my own observations, in both profit as non-profit organisations, I came across three typical kinds of behaviour. Because I came across the same type of behaviour in multiple working environments I quickly learned that this behaviour is universal. Behaviour is not always bound to education and background. People can ‘naturally’ share behavioural characteristics such as laziness or negativity.

It is not easy dealing with difficult people, especially when you are trying to bring about change inside your team. Managerial functions help you have the necessary freedom to plan ahead and carry out projects without being bothered by the abovementioned. However, not everyone has that luxurious position. And how can you deal with this situation as a manager?

First of all, difficult behaviour could be interpreted differently. However, difficult people have one thing in common: for them change brings out resistance. They are that group of people who always find it difficult to do things differently, or to try new things to make sure targets are met in another way. They do not believe that it is possible to elevate achievements to a higher level and would rather accept the reality for what it is. Only when they are stimulated to approach a situation differently they will be willing to participate. But again this could be an arduous process.

Difficult people can easily struck a nerve within others. They can also easily demotivate ambitious colleagues with their negative attitude.

That is unfortunate and will be at the expense of the development of the team. After all, the motivated individuals can develop new ideas that will benefit the company.

It is even more difficult when you are dealing with a manager that could considered to be a difficult person.

In the long term a lack of communication can even have drastic consequences. It reminds me of the following: People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.”

How do we, as employer and colleague, deal with these people?

When we look at the roles within a team we can see that there are different types of difficult behaviour.

I will discuss the three most difficult.


This employee lives from his own vision that change is impossible. If you introduce a new proposal you will notice from their behaviour that they start to feel uncomfortable. After all, the concept that change is impossible is ruined here.

Are you dealing with a manager with a negative mind? If you are this is definitely something to pay attention to. A person with this quality offers little room for the ideas from others and will, as long as he is not confronted about it, continue with his behaviour.

Solution: The best thing you can do to motivate this employee or colleague is to keep the relationship completely professional. The less this person has the opportunity to negatively express themselves, the more you will be able to focus on the work at hand. In addition, expressing that you experience negativity could stimulate him to think about the situation. For this person it is key to word proposals as clearly as possible, to work at the same level in terms of knowledge and to never be afraid for confronting conversations.


The lazy person is, I believe, the most challenging. Lazy people are nice people. They have the best intentions at work. However, the behaviour that accompanies these characteristics could have consequences.

Lazy people are not motivated enough to carry out their work the best way they can. When you ask this employee why he, for instance, hasn’t met his target yet you will often be confronted with excuses such as ‘It is too busy’ or ‘I wouldn’t know’.

Solution: if you know this person isn’t giving his all it is your job to convince and show them how it could and should be done. Teach him, by means of role playing or work related cases, what he needs to know in a positive and fun way until he has learned what he needed to. In the end he won’t have the ability to say that it couldn’t be done because you just taught him how to do it.


Incompetent people do not have, as the word already states, enough knowledge and. In this case they do not know how to carry out the tasks assigned to them within the company. They haven’t learned enough about the mission and vision of the company and haven’t been able to work on their own development to be called a fully-fledged colleague.

For this behaviour the person itself is not the only one to blame. Because of a lack of time and budget cuts it is often difficult to educate new employees efficiently. As a result they need to find their own way to settle amongst their new colleagues who have been working there a lot longer.

Because they are not fully trained according to a main purpose it will, in generally, also take a lot of time until they are able to work independently and have enough skills to do so.

Solution: with these employees it is important to work towards a main purpose. Concrete agreements and emphasizing the fact that it is key to work on a development of knowledge in terms of the company policy and its tasks, will help this employee develop. This employee needs structural guidance until the main purpose has been achieved, namely becoming an independent colleague. By guiding them you will be able to focus on certain things and allow the employee to become that independent and skilled colleague.


Changes can occur when you look at the cause. As a manager or colleague it is possible to bring about massive positive change by applying small effective techniques. By paying attention at an early stage and by fulfilling the right managerial position as a manager growth within companies will always be possible. Fitting leadership is the key.

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