How to Handle a Type A Personality

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Often considered competitive and combative, type-A personalities are often perfectionistic individuals who can offer organization and motivation to relationships and workplaces. When working with a type-A personality, it's important to know that these individuals can be quick-tempered, impatient or aggressive, according to John Grohol in the PsychCentral article titled, "Type A Personality, Chronic Stress Tied to Stroke." Learning to work cooperatively with a type a personality may require some patience, but understanding how dominance and competition motivate these individuals is key to a collaborative relationship.

Use Direct Language

Type-A personalities are straight shooters and prefer upfront, direct correspondence, according to the study, "Dealing With a Dominant Personality Can Be a Challenging Feat," sponsored by the Integro Leadership Institute. Open, honest and direct communication are traits that appeal to type As, because often, they are rushed and simply want to be efficient. If you are corresponding at work, keep instructions brief and to the point, while avoiding small talk or emotional interactions. If you are in a relationship with a Type-A personality, know that direct conversations addressing problems or issues will prompt faster resolutions, versus long, drawn-out conversations about feelings.

Stay Productive

An urgent, productive environment helps type-A personalities thrive and feel successful. Although many characterize their behavior as dominant, these individuals typically just want to feel accomplished and productive. Type-A personalities prefer task-oriented work with clear-cut to-do lists, according to the Integro Leadership Institute study. The key to working well as a team member of a type-A personality is to stay busy, get your hands dirty, and produce results. Hard work pays off in the mind of a type-A personality. If you want to stay on his or her good side, don’t waste time, recommends Bernardo Tirado in the Psychology Today article titled, "Working With a Type A Personality."

Encourage Competition

Not all competition is counterproductive. In fact, healthy competition in the workplace and at home can be a primary motivator for type-A personalities. Everyone and everything is a challenge to type-A personalities because they have an unrealistic sense of urgency and energy and prioritize multitasking, so find ways to incorporate healthy competition into your lives, according to Tirado. A friendly athletic competition, company sales contest or even a race to finish housework can be appealing to a type-A personality. Use this to your advantage – the outcome results in a win-win for everyone.

Reduce Stressors

When there is constantly a sense of urgency and a competition to tackle, the stresses of dealing with a type-A personality can be exhausting for you and the individual. In fact, according to Grohol in the PsychCentral article titled, "Leadership Skills Reduce Job Stress," a type A dealing with aggression, extreme competitiveness and an unrealistic sense of urgency can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Take the opportunity to reduce unnecessary stressors within your environment so you both can relax and breathe easy once in a while. Weekend getaways, with a clear and concise agenda, may help your type-A mate take a break and reduce stressors that often prompt aggressive, frustrated behavior with the self-inflicted demands of this personality type.