Potential People Blocks to Organisational Progress

Have you experienced any of the following characters when trying to transform organisational performance? Do you feel the drag from the resistance; the energy absorbed to overcome passive or active disruption or perhaps the draining effect of various people who seem to have an inability to constructively ‘join the cause’?


The book: ‘Coping with Difficult People’ by Robert Branson describes such attitudes in the form of 7 main categories with simple ‘flags’ that point to the type of behaviour. These are outlined below.

Do they sound familiar to you? If so, how did you deal with particular situations? Please feel free to share your experiences here – whilst protecting confidence of course.


1.      Hostile Aggressives.

These toxic individuals are openly abusive and stampede all over people who have caused a problem – or who are not able to propose an immediate solution.

Likely to say: “Which idiot is responsible for this?”

Unlikely to say: “These things happen, don’t worry.”

2.      Complainers.

These perennial moaners are likely to find everything their colleagues do inadequate. Even if you are not involved with their project, their vocal lamenting can drag you down with them.

Likely to say: “I wouldn’t have done it like that”.

Unlikely to say: “Great job!”

3.       Silent Unresponsives.

The black holes of the workplace, the silent unresponsives are where task requests go to die. They never provide any feedback or assistance, are ineffective – and hugely irritating.

Likely to say: Nothing.

Unlikely to say: Anything.

4.      Super Agreeables.

The bad good-guys, these types are so determined to avoid conflict that they are unable to make constructive challenges or push things forward. They make terrible project managers.

Likely to say: “Let’s just leave it.”

Unlikely to say: “I can see a few pitfalls here.”

5.      Know-it-all Experts.

This frustrating character undermines his staff and colleagues by always claiming to have the best answer to any problem. Sadly, this means that people become unwilling to propose their own ideas, leading to great solutions being squandered.

Likely to say: “I’ve got a great idea.”

Unlikely to say: “You’ve got a great idea.”

6.      Negativists.

It is often wise to point out flaws but only when you are prepared to recognise strengths too. The negativists are incapable of the latter, causing their staff and colleagues to lose all enthusiasm and seek more rewarding work.

Likely to say: “I’m afraid this project is in trouble.”

Unlikely to say: “That’s great! Let’s build on it.”

7.      Indecisives.

Closure is not a word the indecisive understands. By attempting to keep as many options as possible on the table, the indecisive is unable to tick jobs off and therefore struggles to progress, leading to panic at the eleventh hour.

Likely to say: “Let’s have another think about it.”

Unlikely to say: “Come on, let’s slay this beast!”


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