C. What Appeals to an Type A Personality Trait?
1. Physical Presence. Being present during major wins appeals to Type A personality. Some call it the “lucky shirt” syndrome. It only takes a couple of wins to become the lucky shirt. It is not the size of the win, but the number.
Don’t assert that the win was because of your efforts, but do not deny your contributions. Failure to accept a compliment is a sign of weakness. If you are given a compliment, never say that “it was no big deal” or that you were “just lucky.” The correct response is, “Thank you.” Modesty is not considered a positive trait by A-types.
It would be wiser to suggest that the boss/spouse was responsible for the win, and that you were glad to assist. Bring a bottle of champagne, a congratulatory balloon, or a card to reinforce the importance of the win.
2. Praise. All personality types appreciate compliments for real accomplishments. But phony compliments do the opposite. The Type A boss/spouse has progressed up the ranks by observing. They know when someone is giving fake compliments. If they feel the compliments are not genuine, then the actions may be viewed as untruthful and deceitful.
Praise the spouse, children, and other clan members for real accomplishments. Cards sent for special occasions (i.e., children’s graduations or anniversaries) are preferred. Hand written comments add a personal touch and help to negate false compliments.
3. Criticism. Criticism is always a touchy topic. A-types dislike criticism unless they specifically request it. Unsolicited criticism may be viewed as an attack on their authority. On the other hand, if asked, honesty is important. Failure to provide criticism when asked or giving watered-down answers may be viewed negatively.
4. Task Acceptance & Completion. Do extra tasks. However, make sure the extra task does not appear as if it is going around the boss. To avoid being misconstrued, pre-communication with the boss’s assistant or friend about the topic would be helpful.
Accomplish as many tasks as you can before the scheduled or expected time period. Make sure the boss/spouse/assistant knows your efforts. This can be done by hand delivering the project with a comment like, “I hope you don’t mind that I finished 2 days early.”
5. Workaholic Issue. Most Type-A personalities are workaholics who appreciate other workaholics. Work late in the office in a way that the Type A boss can observe. If the boss leaves at 4:30 pm try to leave later. Leave the lights on in your office once in a while, if you leave early.
6. Get to the Point. In meetings with the boss, get to the basic point at the start and then fill in the blanks as needed.
7. Gifts. Gifts and rewards should relate to wins or accomplishments. Touchy-feely gifts should be avoided. Poetry, when directed to an important point, is appropriate.
8. Avoid Showing Weakness. Never state that you are stressed, vulnerable, overworked, or a need to find yourself. Medical restrictions should be kept to yourself unless it interferes with assigned tasks.
9. Avoid Being the Bearer of Bad News. The Roman emperors executed the bearer of bad news based on the fallacy of “guilt by association.” As such, if you did not cause the problem then the news should come from someone else. This creates the danger that the other person may blame the cause on you. However, if you have proof that you did not cause the bad news then blaming you will backfire.
If you caused the bad news, you need to be the one to carry the news. Your best defense is to point out the hidden benefits. They are almost always there but may be hard to find.