Boss Lady

The Businesswoman’s guide to working with people you just don’t get!


As women we accept that we have a lot on our plate. We manage mergers, help with homework, speak at conferences, clean up baby poo and are the only ones that ever walk the dog.

Let’s face it, it’s pretty full on. So the last thing we need is extra stress. And stress often comes in the shape of other people – other people who are not like us. You know – the ones who don’t do the things the way you think they should be done. Like turning up on time to meetings, talking ALL the time, taking over with their arrogance or shutting down every idea you ever have.

Worrying and stressing about people that you work with is non-productive and a waste of time.

What if it was easier? While we can’t make it magically disappear, there is a secret super power that you possess that can make life a lot easier.  It’s called empathy. Far from being a soft skill, understanding more about others’ irritating traits will deliver better results.

The too nice human

I know, some of you can’t believe this is a problem. But for others, it sounds like this.

What do you think about this?

I think it’s great.

But should we run it with X or Y?

I’m happy to go with the majority.

So what are your thoughts on launching?

Oh I don’t mind, what are your thoughts? 

What one person sees as accommodating, another sees as indecisive and weak. This type of person is kind and genuine. For them it’s being part of a team that counts, not so much the result. Often they don’t think their opinions are as important as someone else’s. Sometimes they fear speaking up in case it goes against common feeling, and they find themselves in a confrontational situation.

You need to create a safe space for people like this. Encourage them to have a voice. Use empathy and patience to draw out opinions and ideas. Build a relationship with them so they trust you. Give them time to plan their opinions and set an expectation (with your Warm Face on) that their opinions in meetings count. Bitch Face will only result in them shutting down and you wondering what happened.

The standover human

What, me? Never.

For many people the person that causes them most stress in the office is someone is who is aggressive (no – I’m assertive), intimidating (no – I’m confident) and tend to bark their orders and conversations (I’m just being efficient). This type of behaviour is common with those who have a high level of confidence and secretly tend to believe they are always right. To the rest of us it looks like they’re using Game of Thrones as their playbook.

But they don’t set out to upset your day. They are confident. They enjoy the game of business and are simply at work to do a job in the most efficient and effective way possible. Which doesn’t include chatting to you about your kids.

It’s not personal. It’s just who they are. Stop and think each time this happens – are you being oversensitive? Could you have misinterpreted and taken this personally?

The party animal

You know the one.  Enthusiastic.  Full of fun.  Life is simply AH- MAZING!! Whether the sun is out, it’s freezing cold or they need root canal work, this person sees the positive in pretty much any situation. They talk a lot, with passion, and often about themselves. They never shut up. They talk over the top of you. They finish your sentences for you. They are so damned enthusiastic they just drain you of all energy.

So loud and talkative you can’t get your work done.

People who behave this way do so because they think they provide the fun factor at work and, that without them, people couldn’t possibly be happy.

But usually they are aware of their flaws. All through school parents and teachers told them they talked too much, they were disruptive.  So the great thing here is that you can actually tell them. You just need to hit them between the eyes with it.

“Listen Meg – I can’t think, I can’t get my work done. Love your energy but can you just shut the hell up for the next hour or I may not like you much anymore!”

Clearly you can use your own words but it needs to be hard hitting. For them, it’s important to be liked. That’s why they try to be funny.

The rule maker

Oh how you hate the rules. They restrict life. Strip you of your creative spirit. Or they just get in the way when you’re trying to get things done. That person that says you must follow this procedure, you can’t do that YET, you’ve parked in the wrong spot or used the fresh milk before the out of date one! They drive you nuts with their policies and procedures.

There is a reason this person likes the rules. When there are systems and routine, there is less likelihood of things going wrong.  It gives them safety and security which, for them, are key drivers.

Rule makers are worriers by nature and many of them live on the edge of anxiety. Their rules are their safety net. So when they’re driving you crazy, try and find that mix of respect and the loophole. Can there be a system set up around when to break the rules? 

The dismisser

They don’t even finish listening to your ideas before they dismiss it. It’s like they think your needs don’t count, that you don’t need to be heard. And so eventually you shut down.

The person exhibiting this type of behaviour is often pretty self-absorbed and convinced their way is the best way. They’ll cut you off and shut you down because they’ve usually decided what they’re going to do anyway.

The hard truth is that there is only one way to combat this and that is to confront it. I know, scary for many. But people like this want you to stand up to them. They only respect people who stand up to them. The rest they will gradually grind down into the carpet.

If you want a positive, mutually respectful relationship with the Dismisser you must tell them what is happening. Preface it with – Hear me out/don’t shut me down. And link the thought to a result. Oh and don’t talk about your feelings — they don’t really care.

Whether you’ve been subject to some of these workplace shenanigans or whether you recognise yourself in some of these rascally behaviours, the fact is, we are all someone’s difficult person at some time.

Learning more about the way you behave naturally and the way others behave differently allows you to use your secret superpower, empathy, to modify your own behaviour for less stress and better results.

Which Fruit are you? A fun, fast and unique way to understand more about yourself! 

Not sure how you’re being perceived by those around you? Undertake this short sampler quiz from The RIPE Personality Profiling System to identify your personality type? Are you an Apple, Mango, Lime or Banana? Find out what this means and why you connect with some people and not with others!

About Lynne Schinella'

Lynne Schinella is an internationally renowned behaviour and communications coach, trainer and author who works with individuals and organisations to help them better connect with influence and respect. Lynne’s audiences get real value from her practical down to earth approach, her honest, engaging and entertaining delivery and her talent for making the complex simple and relevant. Lynne is the creator of the RIPE Personality Profiling System and has trained organisations all over the world on how to work with the strengths and challenges of being an Apple, Mango, Lime or Banana and work more effectively as a team with huge success. Lynne is the author of Bite Me! and other do’s and don’ts of dealing with our differences and creator of the Working With People You Just Don’t Get Video Training Programme. Working With People You Just Don’t Get is designed specifically for small businesses – it cuts through corporate speak and replaces it with blameless language and arms the whole team with the understanding and tools to improve their connection and communication with others – team members, clients, suppliers and even with their own families and friends! Website : Fruit Quiz: Book site : Link to Working With People You Just Don’t Get- video training programme: Link to Lynne’s Speaking Page:

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