How to Handle a Type A Personality

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Introduced in the early 1950s as a potential risk factor for heart disease by cardiologists Meyer Friedman and R.H. Roseman, the Type A personality was described as being dominant and competitive. Type A’s are viewed as leaders, typically exhibiting traits of being ambitious and decisive. Understanding what drives the Type A personality is key to dealing with it.

Be Direct

Domineering personalities value people who are capable of being open, honest and direct above all else, according to a report released by Boston University. As such, your best bet in dealing with this personality type is to approach topics directly. Whether you are trying to figure out how to work with a Type A, or live with one, finding ways to communicate honestly will facilitate a much better relationship between the two of you in the end.

Stay on Track

People who have a Type A personality tend to process information quickly, according to Bernardo Tiardo, industrial psychologist and project management executive. When working side by side with a Type A, you will get further by moving at an expedited speed yourself. Avoid unnecessarily long e-mails or conversations when just a few words will get your point across. Focus on being concise and efficient in your communications, to keep from losing your Type A’s attention.

Respect Time

Type A personalities value their time. As a result, it is important for you to as well. Make an effort to never show up late to meetings or appointments with a Type A, as doing so will send the message that you don’t value your Type A’s time and commitments. Additionally, remain cognizant of anything you may be doing which could be viewed as a waste of time in a Type A’s presence. Don’t expect a Type A to veer off track with you or be open to wasting time in a work setting.

Don’t Take it Personally

Type A personalities often let their competitive nature rise above their need to be popular. When dealing with Type A’s, remember that aggressive interactions aren’t directed towards you. Some Type A personalities are better at social interaction than others, but if your Type A seems more focused on business than friendship, it is not because you are not a worthy friend. Keeping in mind the motivators that drive Type A’s, such as success and competition, will help you to remain removed in situations that otherwise could be hurtful.