It’s annoying to work with someone who demands the spotlight.

I worked with someone like this. She acted like she was an expert at everything. Not to mention taking credit for others’ work and hijacking conversations. Yeah, she was difficult to work with.

In their book Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, authors Brinkman and Kirschner describe three types of people like this.

THINK-THEY-KNOW-IT-ALL who acts like they know something about every topic on the planet.

GRENADE who loses emotional control and explodes verbally.

FRIENDLY SNIPER who teases and playfully uses sarcasm under the guise of humor.

Working with people like these are easier if you understand the reason for their attention-seeking behavior. Most of the time they aren’t intentionally trying to be scene stealers. They just want to get appreciation.

To promote healthy conflict with people who need a lot of attention, try these tips:

  • Show appreciation by complimenting them
  • Let their adrenaline subside before engaging
  • Help them focus by returning to the goal of the conversation
  • Use their name so they know you are listening to them
  • Ask for their opinion (and listen)
  • Tell them thank you for their input (and mean it)

People are complex yet they are simple. If you work with someone who is attention-seeking, give them what they so desperately want — attention.