Dealing with Difficult Personalities: The Tank

by Stevie Hall*

October is Conflict Resolution Month. Conflict can occur in the workplace, the educational setting, within the family, around the world, and so on. So, here at Student Legal & Mediation Services we want to make sure you are prepared to handle difficult personalities in these stressful situations.

In many environments we are in, we encounter difficult people. Though there are four main types of difficult individuals, today we will discuss “The Tank.”


An individual who possess the qualities of a Tank will express open aggressiveness, push their schedule forward, and try to prove themselves, while demanding respect from the person they are speaking with.

There’s nothing wrong with having this personality type; each of us have an aspect of every personality type. However, when this personality type becomes too overwhelming, you need to use the proper steps to control the situation. Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong, senior facilitator of Behavioral Public Relations LLC says to follow these tips:

  1. Stay calm. If you raise your voice, or show that you are upset, it will only encourage the Tank’s aggression to escalate.
  2. Use their name when speaking to them. This makes them feel important.
  3. Summarize and repeat everything they said back to you, “[Name}, so what I’m hearing you say is that…”
  4. Focus on the issue at hand, not their personality.
  5. Keep in mind the perspective they are coming from.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or pass it on to a supervisor.

Dealing with a difficult personality can be overwhelming, but practicing these steps during confrontation can ensure an easier time with a quicker route to a resolution.

If you are having recurring, difficult confrontations with someone, come to our office for FREE mediation. We will help you find a resolution.

Contact our office by phone at (936) 294-1717 or by our website to schedule an appointment. SLMS will point you in the right direction.

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