Season 06 Episode 5 – Jan 31, 2023  
33:41  Show Notes

Working with Conflicting Personalities


In this episode of the Website 101 Podcast, Amanda presents the topic, “working with conflicting personalities.” We’ll discuss sexism, failing upward, swoop-and-poop feedback, and tactics to avoid Chatty Kathys.

Show Notes

  • My life is work Person
  • Set Boundaries and realistic expectations
  • Old school views - it's always been done this way
  • A person who doesn't know what is going on or doesn't have a clue
  • Bubble boy - a person who lives in a bubble not realizaing what they don't know.
  • Promoted to their level of incompetency.
  • Swoop and Poop feedback.
  • The Know-It-All
  • Logical fallacy - Appeal to Authority
  • Distractions in the workplace - people who interrupt you while working to chat
  • Two stories of extreme workplace conflict
  • Final advice
  • Watch this episode on YouTube.

Show Links

Accuracy of transcript is dependant on AI technology.

Today on the website 101 podcast, Amanda presents the topic, working with conflicting personalities. We'll discuss sexism, failing upward, swoop and poop feedback, and tactics to avoid chatty cathies.

Listener, welcome back to another episode of the website 101 podcasts. This is the podcast for people who want to learn more about building and or managing websites. I am one of your hosts, Mike Miller, and with me as a.

is Amanda Lutz. Amanda, let's start with you. What was your favorite Halloween candy to get when you were trick-or-treating as a kid? Even now, anything chocolate and peanut butter, those Reese Peanut Butter Cups, those Reese's pieces,

you know what, even generic off-brand? I'm eating them and I'm stealing them from my kid. The Reese Cups are good but they're very messy and they now made a bar that's a Reese bar. Have you seen that? It's like a chocolate. I'm OG. I like the...

intrigued. It's good. I like the the original. No. OK, I'll accept that answer. I'll eat it, but I like the orange. I like the cups as well, but I've got to try those. The bar. Speaking now, that's Sean Smith.

He's with us here. Sean, coffee crisp, overrated, underrated, or rated just right. Oh, completely underrated. It is the chocolate bar of chocolate bars. It is the king of chocolate bars, the emperor of chocolate bars.

There is nothing better than a coffee crisp. I would give it a duke dump, maybe? Like, it's a good try. It's a candy bar, but. Amanda, you are dead to me. And we both. physically fight later. The Reese's cups are cups. They're not chocolate bars. We

asked about a chocolate bar. It's the king of chocolate bars, the emperor of chocolate bars. This is Mr. Pedantic. Don't forget. I got to talk to you. Okay. My what is your then and now favorite Halloween candy?

You know, I have to say coffee crisp is I up there. It's hard to beat. I'd also like the Reese ones though. I'm a huge fan of that. I get them. People give them to me all the time, whenever they give me chocolate. Do you have your own opinion or are you just going to piggyback

off of me and Shawn? I swear to God, I do like, I also like Kit-Kat. I am now these days in my adult life. I'm more of a dark chocolate guy. I'm into dark chocolate. So very very high, you know 90% and higher. I gotta say of the three chocolate bars that were mentioned

Those are the three that I impulse buy at the at the supermarket when I'm in checkout and feeling hungry The Reese and the Kit Kat and the coffee crisp. Yeah, those are the three that oh Occasionally I'll get a bounty to you and by the way this episode sponsored by Nestle

I don't want Nestle as a sponsor. No this episode and we were like yeah it'd be awesome to keep it a tight 30. Good job Mike. I know I know I know like 90% of our audience is rolling their eyes going don't do this

waffly stuff at the beginning just get to the interesting web. So Amanda what are we talking about today? Right so as an extra fun surprise I thought that I would come up with the topic on my own and I'm super excited to hear what the two of you have to say about it. All right. I want to talk about

different workplace personalities, but not all of them, just the ones that you could be potentially conflicting with. And then maybe how you can get around that and resolve it or at least work with it.

Right, man, you all right? So how to handle conflicting personalities in the workplace sounds good to you. Yeah, so what I've done is I'm sure you do, you conflict with everybody. I've broken it down into a couple of

generic categories that I've come up with. And I'm sure that you can, I'm sure we can all come up with a couple of examples of each of these categories. So, are you ready to go? Yep, fire away. I am ready to go.

Good. I got four categories. Here we go. The first one is what I like to call my life is work. This is the type of person on the team where you wake up in the morning and there's already three emails.

from them that they sent overnight and you think to yourself, what are you doing? Can you not make a friend? Maybe they're just really passionate about their job. I guess that's possible but that is a little over the top for sure. Yeah, it's

the kind of person who doesn't know how to set boundaries and limits within their own life and they just let their job define who they are. Yes, yes. I feel like I feel like I'm the opposite. My motto, as I've mentioned previously, is I want to work as little as possible.

For any listeners who want to have help with their website, maybe don't contact Sean. He is lazy. I didn't say it no work as little as possible. So then if you've got someone on your team who's like that, how do you work with them?

How do you continue to have a positive work environment? I think that the key here is what I said earlier is setting. boundaries, setting limits. Don't check your email after work hours. And if you do check

it, don't respond. And at least in Ontario, there are now laws about being forced to work outside of normal working hours. And I know in other regions of the world, there are. So you could, I don't know how realistic it is to try and enforce that. I mean, you

still got to deal with company culture, but just avoid answering until you're at the office. Do you think that these new, I don't even know if they're government rules. I definitely don't want to call them laws. But do you think that?

that they would apply the same to contractors such as us or do you think that they're really mostly just geared towards employees? I think they're geared towards employees but a contractor should take the advice to heart as well

because that's part of my, I wanna work as low as possible as I set limits with my clients. Like they get email, they send me emails. Occasionally I see them come in, but I don't read them and I 100%,

I'm not re- Responding unless the headline is clearly like oh my site is exploded. Oh Sean better get on that But if it's just like updates to what we're ongoing project now, so I'm not responding to you at 10 at night

Yeah, yeah, I don't think we'd be as protected by any laws like that as contractors for sure But it's a quite yeah, it's a it's a matter of just explaining what your personal Practices are like maybe you want to send emails at four in the morning whatever just so you know

I check at this time of the day. I have a friend who works in our industry who? Back when blackberries were a thing she was working with someone and They said, if I recall correctly, they said, okay, what's your availability?

And she said nine to five. And then they said, what's your blackberry availability? And she laughed apparently and said nine to five. Like, because they were expecting, you know. That is an awesome way to set boundaries.

Well, and I think it's really good. I think it's about setting those realistic expectations, you know, and do it like right from the beginning. Yeah, definitely. Oh yeah, 100% at the beginning, because it's hard to rein in behavior

that you've just let go on. You're just gonna have trouble with that. got a set of precedent. Yeah. Okay. So the next personality that you might have a conflict with is what I like to call those old school views. Now, this could be a person who has

been working at the company for a very long time. And their opinion is always, oh, well, it's always been done this way. Or maybe, you know, even a new employee that's come in or a new person to the project or whatever. And what you hear most from them is, oh, well,

at the last place I was at, we used to do it this way. And they just like expect all of that to just be like. And make it big. moved over with them. Have you ever experienced anything like that? Boy howdy. Have I? I think I might have been that person.

Really? Oh I want to hear that story. Yeah. It's just sometimes it's just easier to do it the way you've always done it. Sure. And it's hard to be flexible. I mean I do pride myself on on being open to new ideas but I know that sometimes I'm not.

I find that it's very common in IT departments. Oh 100% at least in my experience. because IT departments are often bound by contracts with Microsoft or whatever providers, and they really can't, in a lot of ways, deviate from that too much. So I've had a lot of conflicts

where I've come into organizations, and you know, there might be some plug-in that will achieve some feature very quickly, but they're like, no, we're going to assign a team on our here at the organization. They're going to work on this for a few weeks. They'll build something

for you. And meanwhile, I'm like, well, I could, in 30 minutes, I could have this up and running with a plug-in or with whatever CMS, and that can sometimes be an issue for sure. So yeah, look out for that type of person in terms of how to deal.

with them. I guess that's not so clear cut. Yeah, I think it's hard to deal with a situation in a tech related job where people are not willing or able to try out new technologies. Yeah, I think this in this case, it's tough to find some make a decision about how to

deal with someone stuck in their ways because there might be a good reason that you're not aware of. It would be very common in our industry for sure to have that kind of thing. It's someone else's problem to deal with. Like if you are a worker bee at a company,

low person on the totem pole, if you are a contractor who has been brought in to work on this project, it's not up to us to make those decisions about whose technology wins, who gets to make the final

decisions. That's someone else's pay grade needs to make that decision. And yeah, maybe you like have a conversation. with them, especially if you've been brought in as an expert, so that you can say, listen,

here is my opinion. And that's all I'm going to say about it. And then just let someone else make the decisions. And I think also maybe let someone else be the person who talks to the person set in their ways to just be like, listen, we've heard what you're saying, we're

not doing it. Stop pushing it. Yep. Good advice. Absolutely. 100% agree. Okay. The next category of conflicting personality that you might have encountered is just the person who just doesn't know what they're doing. They just do.

not know what is going on. I'm sure any of my students who are listening, you have been stuck with this person on a class project. We've all been stuck with that person on any other number of projects. So, Mike, how do you deal with them?

Okay, first of all, I want to... This is something that I refer to as the bubble boy. I want to bring this up. I'm not referring to a Seinfeld episode about the bubble boy, but I am referring to a 30 Rock episode called the bubble. It was featured John Hamm from

from Mad Men, and his character was dating Liz Lemon, and the whole premise was, John Hamm is so handsome that he's lived in a bubble his whole life, where people give him free stuff, they let him off the hook with parking tickets,

telling him he's good at things that he's not good at. I think there's even a scene where he says something like, as they say in France, bla bla bla bla bla, and he thinks he can speak French because people always told him he can speak French really well,

and he was just saying gibberish. I've worked with people who are really, really attractive, and you're just like, they probably just co- through their life and no one wants to bother telling them they're not very

good at what they're doing. Not every attractive person is bad at their job that's for sure. I'm sure also the bubble effect could be applied to people who come from a wealthy family with connections where you can get ahead

just by who you know. Yeah I guess that's another way it can happen yet and yeah I can think of specific people that I would say why are they in this role they're not really qualified to be doing what they're doing. In terms of dealing

with them. I mean, try not to do the work for them. That's for sure. If it's something that you're able to do and they're not, don't just like pick up the slack. Maybe mention it to them in a polite way that, you know, I'm not comfortable with the way

this is going. Could we talk about, you know, just to kind of light the fire under them, that kind of thing? Hopefully something like that would work and you wouldn't have to go over their head. That would be very awkward.

What do you guys think? I think that it's a very tough one to deal with without going over their head. And adjacent to the bubble boy is the person who gets promoted to their level of incompetency.

The failing upward. Yeah. You get promoted until you're. you cannot do the job and then you just stay there forever because they're not going to fire you. You do great, great, great, and then you get to that last level and is like,

well, you suck now, but we'll just keep you there. And so all their underlings have to deal with the suck. Been there, done that, didn't know how to deal with it except to change jobs. Yeah. And I think eventually when you get up to, when you have somebody,

when you're dealing with them that have gotten up to that level, especially if they're like the manager or the boss or whatever. I've heard somebody I read was googling for this episode and somebody described it as

swoop and poop feedback Yes, so they'll just like they'll come in they don't know what's going on, but they just look around and they're like No, and then they just leave and it's and then you're stuck cleaning up

Like without any guidance without any how to make it better. Yeah, that is awesome. Yeah Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's often in my experience something that happens at from senior management If you're like going through some redesign or whatever

You need sign off from the boss they come in and the one thing they say is, can you change the colors to blue? I don't like that green. And then they take off. And then they don't realize there was a whole process that

led to the development of that. Was it green? Color palette. Yeah. Yeah. The one that I said, it wasn't originally. And they're not aware of that whole process. They just swoop in, make their changes,

and you have to deal with all that. So that's a problem for sure. And they don't even make the changes. They just tell you. Yeah. And not a reason, no reason. They just, their own personal opinion, stuff like that.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Hi. Sean here. Hope you're enjoying this episode. of the website one on one podcast. We'd love it if you'd give us a review on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. These kind of reviews help new listeners find out about

us and allow us to keep doing the show. Thanks. So this is this is the last specific category that I came up with invented, whatever you want to call it, that I know everything do it my way. I know it all. The know it all narcissism, I guess, would be a way to describe that.

Someone who's like, I want you to work for me to make my life better. That kind of thing. So Amanda, how about you start this one off and tell us how you would deal with it? Oh, I have had to deal with this.

I think there was a little bit of sexism involved with this too, but I was working on a project and there was a project manager. Was some guy, I think a younger guy than I was at the time, and he decided that all

of the code, just any bit of code that I... wrote it wasn't good enough and so he started like sending me code snippets and I would reply back and be like it's thanks but this isn't what the project's asking for this isn't you know what the client wanted I'm not gonna

put it in and then he would reply and just be like do it and finally I was like I was like okay here and I like put the stuff in the project and when we reviewed with the client and the client was like no I don't know I don't know

what is going on with any of this I actually had to go and talk to Like, I had to go above his head to the person who had like hired this project manager and just be like, or was it? No, actually I think he went to go talk to them.

And he was like, so who wins? Who wins? Is it going to be me or Amanda? And both of the owners were like, Amanda's the tech person. If she says it's not good, what are you doing? Like, let Amanda do her job.

Good. And I had to back. Yeah, they did. Yeah. Which was great. And it's a sexism issue going over people's heads. It's perfectly warranted, of course. I know. you said you didn't do that they did but I was about to yeah how often do you

think people who are sort of the know it all and do things my way how often do you think it's based on their own insecurity that they they know that they're not very qualified about something and they're just trying to

compensate in some way um I know exactly what you mean um and I'm sure that there's a lot of people who are like that but I think that and again it could be sexism but I think that whenever I have experienced it all the

examples I can think of off the top of my head are have always been guys yes granted that's the industry that we're in but they it's almost it the vibe that I get from it is that they're trying to to one up me. They're trying to show me that they know what they're talking about. I have a student

one semester who would like keep interrupting me as I was teaching to like tell the whole class stuff and I'd be like, that's great input. Thank you. And I would go to the next slide and it was literally everything he had like just been talking about. So like eventually I had to tell him, I'm

like, you know what? Can you just like, I want to hear what you've got to say, but can you just wait until I like get through the stuff that I want to say? And like literally every single time for the

next five times he put his hand. up like I had just beaten him to the punch. So I don't know if he was trying to show off or he was trying to one up me or maybe prove to me that he was better than the class. Like

I have no idea what was going on. A question and interruption once. Okay, you're a little bit keen twice. You're a little bit keen. But more than that, now you're a pain in the ass. Yeah, no, for sure. Yeah, I'm sure you have much more, you know, experience, I assume

dealing with this kind of stuff than either of us just with the industry, as you say, with that. But yeah, let's stick to the. But let's stick to the I know everything. Do things my way, type of personality.

You must have experienced that as well. Yeah. How did you deal with it? You have to show that you're correct. It's like, they're trying to do it. Like what happened with you is that the higher ups came down and said, well look, she's

the expert. You need to demonstrate your expertise and that you are actually correct. And without doing it in a way that you come off as an ass. So you need to be humble. or polite and just maybe humbles the wrong approach with somebody's being like that.

But it's like, look, here's the proof. This is the evidence that I am right. Yeah. And if they're still denying it, then it's just a power trip or maybe they're mansplaining or being sexist or typically, like, I just feel like it's somebody who wants to exert

their power or feel powerful over somebody. They're basically a bully in the workplace. What you said, Sean, about evidence, that's the key. And it's not even about proving that I'm right. It's more proving that this approach is the correct way to go.

Like, let's say if you're, again, just to keep in our industry here, you're going through a rebuild and, you know, going back to the blue and green buttons, if maybe you've done testing and you've identified that the blue resonates or whatever, let's say blue, blue

resonates better with the audience. And if he prefers the green and was like, do it my way, if you show them, look, this is the testing. This is what it, you know, the results from it and what it shows.

us that the other color works better. Then it's really difficult to argue against that because everyone now knows, oh, we have actual evidence that that way is going to work. Where's your evidence?

And yet you want us to do it your way? You know, it won't make sense at that point. So I think that's a good way to do it. Go about it. Just get the evidence. I have one more thought about this as well is you could somebody who's say, do it my

way, my way is correct. Ask them to explain why their way is better. And if they can't explain it, if they go back to the, well, I've always done it, which is kind of back at the top of the show or some other, what is it?

Uh, appeal to authority. I have this way over here. Do you have a list of, of personality traits over there? What is that? Oh, apparently it does. I shall not commit logical fallacies poster. Wow, that's great.

I love that poster. I've never seen that. Yeah. You can find it online for free. I printed it up and framed it. Very nice. Appeal appeal to authority. Sure. Explain yourself. And if they can't or they just say, Hey, I'm your boss.

Do it this way, then it's they're doing an appeal to authority without any evidence. Your project done? Probably not gonna win, but at least you know what's going on if they are the authority So yeah, I do look at that from time to time

That's great. Okay, so oh I will include a link to it in the show notes. You can pretty good Can either of you think of any other type of personalities that you've had conflicts with not even I mean conflicts or just you were like I do not I

Do not get you I worked at a place where this Person would just chat and yammer and constantly. I had to like, where, like even if I wasn't listening to music, I would still have to wear like headphones so that they would just like not bother me. I heard an entire like soap opera

saga that was going on with her neighbor's cat being sick because the neighbor was giving the cat like human vitamins. Like, I just, like, I just did not want to deal with it. I did not want to hear it. I did not want to be a part of any of it. And, and, and, and like the, all I could really do

was just, you know, smile and nod and be like, you know, noncommittal. Ah, like, ah, can you imagine? And then, okay. I've got some work to do now and then put my headphones back on and Bob a little bit until they left to pretend I was listening to music.

Right, exactly. Yeah, so if you picture, I don't work in an office with all kinds of people, thank goodness, but when I did, frequently what would happen is people would come over to my desk and sometimes sit on the desk, you know, like a cubicle,

and start talking, and I just drove me crazy because it breaks my workflow and I don't want interactions in that way. I don't want to make a send me an email, all that kind of thing. I've actually heard of an approach some people do.

I've heard of the headphones thing, some people wear headphones even if they're not listening. listening just to make it look like. But I've heard you can get a, you can get a, like a post note, not a post note, but like some kind of a sign.

And it actually said something like, I don't know, if this sign is up, it means I am working hard, please do not disturb. And yeah, and they put it like on the back of their chair or something. And apparently that's effective for some people,

but I don't know, I think there's still be some people who come over and be like, oh, what a funny sign. Anyway, and then get into the, you know. Oh, you know those people like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

John, do you know any other personality types that you can flick to with? I have two stories of extreme workplace conflict, two stories. The first one happened when I was living overseas in South Korea as an English teacher.

And I walked into the office to ask something or whatever of their receptionist. And my new boss was there. And for some reason, he didn't like me. And I don't know why. It was never explained to me, but this guy went on a 20.

15 minute temper tantrum. Literally jumping up and down, yelling and screaming. At you. The two at me. I'm so glad I was the receptionist were there, just so I had a witness. Not so that they could endure it because it was really, really bad.

And I was seriously shell shocked. I literally was speechless for 20 minutes. I just stood there with a dumbfounded look on my eye in my face. This 45, 50 year old man was jumping up and down and freaking.

out. Did you eat his sandwich? Yeah, what was the issue exactly? It happened within a minute of walking in and I think I disagreed with him on something or I said no I can't do that and it's been 20 years so I don't remember all the details. What I do remember is leaving the office

going into the teacher's office and letting loose. I just vented for 15 minutes. All the other teachers are like holy f***. What, what, whoops, sorry, F-bomb. If you take care of that. And now those teachers are on their podcast saying this guy one time, I mean Sean, he's

saying I'd be being rage fit. I don't know what it was. In any case, I didn't do anything except sit there and take it and then go invent in front of my other teachers and then afterwards we went out for drinks that night and got over

it. So how did I deal with it? I didn't. I just, I just. I said, I. I slipped there and sucked it up and left and vented. Now, this is not a judgment on you, Sean. I know there was 20 years ago,

and I don't know what you were going through or whatever, and you can do your own thing. But personally, for me, to our listener, I would say if you encounter this at a job, do not accept that. That is not appropriate.

No one should be treating you like that. Go to HR or quit or something. Don't fight them or yell back, but deal with it and this is not the way. you treat a human being. Yeah. Yeah. 100% agree with Mike. I don't know. I was just shocked. It was

my... normally I'm kind of an aggressive person in situations like this. So my reaction might have actually been better to have been shell shocked than to overreact. Which leads me to the situation where I did react. And that happened at a job, the only job I had here in Toronto. So I moved back

to Canada. And the job for the most part was good except for the project manager. And I'm going to call the project manager John, not his real name. John was a condescending douchebag who felt, who acted like he was superior to

everybody in every single way possible. He was the classic greasy car salesman like a sleaze. A sleaze bed, yeah. And he's like pretending to be your friend and whatever anyways. After dealing with this guy for forever and forever, he came in

and just got right in my face literally inches from my face and being the sleaze back. I just I stood. up and I let loose on them. Verbally. Almost came to, like, yeah, I turned into the guy I just told the story about.

Yeah, yeah, got it. After that, no more problems with him. John turned out to leave me alone. Oh, good. And now is your golf buddy. I also got the next day off of work. Because they were scared of you, man.

Yeah, that's right. Well, it was a small company. There's, like, 10 people there, and the boss, like, called me into his office afterwards, and I expected to get. and he's like, listen, I know John can be difficult.

Take the day off tomorrow. Wow. It's like, why don't you fire John? Everybody hates him. Wouldn't do that. I don't know why. All I know is I got the day off and I got John off my back. Nice. Well, that's good.

Still, not the greatest story because I did completely overreact. Yeah. I bet you're even more glad than I am that you're not working in an office with lots of people around. This is the kind of experience you go through.

Well, look, over working for 30 years over the... 30 years of working that I've had, I've had two major conflicts, which I guess is a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it's only two. Most of my work in life has been good. Yeah,

right. Those are definitely memorable though. So, to wrap it up, do you have any high level information for our listeners? Mike, you keep saying listener, singular. We have more than one, I promise you. There's this, okay, I won't get into it. There's a story behind that.

Anyway, so yeah, so do you have any like high-level information for listeners that maybe they could just like carry around in The back of their head like mine would be for example Like you don't have to be best friends

You don't have to like get along with everyone that you're working with and dealing with but you still need to be respectful You still need to be you know kind of open-minded and then at the end of the day cover your butt

Make sure you get your work done and then that's what's gonna. That's what's gonna show you be the shining star. Yeah, that's good advice I think. I also think just going back to what we said earlier about the evidence, having evidence

if there's a conflict, evidence for your position being the correct one or the most appropriate one. Yeah, I think it all comes down to like, just do your work and do your work as best as you can.

And if there's other reasons like conflicts like this that prevent you from delivering the best product. I mean, it's kind of out of your hands sometimes, so just do the best you can do and accept that

there are other people involved that are going to impact the website or whatever it is you're doing. And it's only a job. You have the life outside of that. Absolutely. So yeah, you know, it's like sometimes you meet someone and they rub you the wrong way

It's just kind of like there's a feelings or something about them. You don't like well the best thing to do is just pretend that you like them When you're at work and be civil and talk to them do what you want and

Do what they what needs to be done to get the job done Don't create this conflict because of some weird feeling that weird feeling is just probably warning you to not be their friend Outside of work. There's yeah, but you can be friendly with somebody and not be their friend

That's all you need to be you need to be you Maybe. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Okay. Sure. So listeners either the one or plural Mike I'm very excited to hear this reason off air If you have what I think would be cool is to maybe do a follow-up episode with

The personality types that you like working with like just those sort of the stereotypical really great people in every work environment So listeners if you have any stories or any like categories or even better tips on how to keep your eyes open for those types of people

Let us know know either in the YouTube comments. We're going to put this episode on YouTube, hooray. Or drop us a line on the contact form. Website slash contact. Yes, looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Thank you for listening. Bye. Bye. Bye. Mm. Hey, thanks for listening today. This is Mike Mela. You can find me online at or on socials at Mike Mela. Hosted in part today by me, Sean Smith.

You can find me at my website, We'll talk to them in a moment. Bye.

Have a question for Sean, Mike, and Amanda? Send us an email.