They are the constant pushover, the too eager to pleaser and the avoider of conflict at all costs. They are the passive doormats of the organisation. I’m sure we’ve all encountered at least one such passive person in our lives. So how can these people ever be a problem to anyone? They won’t say boo to a goose. Think again.
This article takes a brief look at one difficult personality type you may either meet in work or have to manage in work if they are part of your team. This is one type you might not think is even a problem at first.
The ultra-passive Doormats or the people who just can’t say no.
They reject no request in an effort to please anyone and everyone who asks them to do something. Does this make them somehow super-productive? Does this make them dream employees? No way!
The Doormats are normally so over-subscribed and over-committed they end up pleasing no one. Doormats essentially and effectively educate those around them to take advantage of them because they are so passive.
What goes around comes around
Co-workers are often expected to take up any slack in order to keep the organisation, department or team in good standing. The grumbling will start and you will have to manage the fallout. This is all hugely ironic because the situation is often the direct result of the same co-workers taking advantage of The Doormats in the first place; all leading to the current overwork meltdown situation.
If you have a Doormat for a boss then are you in for a super-rough ride. They will take on too many tasks for the team, most of which cannot possibly be achieved, then to add insult to injury they will be too weak to defend the team against complaints about poor performance. Nightmare!
Passive people people problems go on and on
There are numerous other problems waiting in the wings. Ultra-passive Doormats can be a bully magnets. They sometimes take on small but mission critical tasks without telling anyone until they drop the ball and the smelly stuff hits the rotating cooler. They may also quietly filter critical information, up or down, often with the best of intentions.
Good intentions pave the road to hell.
All this happens because the ultra-passive Doormats do not like conflict and do not want to upset anyone.
How do you manage the passive person problem?
As a manager of the passive doormat type, there are many routes and options available to you. However, one of the best methods is to become a benign dictator. The irony is that whatever you suggest will be instantly and enthusiastically agreed to by the doormat. This is part of the problem. It sounds draconian, but to begin down the road toward establishing their assertiveness, you need to be assertive on their behalf. Take control over what they agree to, and therefore what they can reasonably complete, and assertively help/guide them to adopt more assertive skills themselves. It sounds harsh but say no for them until they can say it for themselves.
There’s far more to learn about assertiveness
Assertively managing difficult personality types at work can be something of a nightmare for many line managers and supervisors. Some managers seem to have the amazing knack of effectively and confidently with the difficult personality types they encounter. If they can do it why can’t you?
To get the low-down on assertively and effectively managing these and many more difficult personality types why not check out one of my latest books “Assertively Managing Difficult People” by Andrew D. Pope.
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