The Know it All Expert

By Laura Benjamin

They have a strong need for security in an unpredictable world, value facts and logic, and seek respect through acknowledged competence. Often described as "bulldozers," they are highly productive, thorough, and accurate. They possess an aura of personal authority and sense of power, and a tone of absolute certainty. They are usually right and will confront those who question their logic with a data "dump" that leaves others overwhelmed. They can be condescending, imposing, pompous, and sometimes make you feel like an idiot.

Coping Strategies:

  • Help them consider alternative views while avoiding direct challenges to their expertise.
  • You must do your homework, discuss facts in an orderly manner, and make sure your information is accurate and complete. Don't 'ball park' it or they will dismiss you as incompetent.
  • Listen actively and acknowledge. Paraphrase rather than interrupt; it shows you respect their expertise.
  • If you must point out an error or omission, do it by questioning firmly with confidence and ask for clarification by saying, "How will that look 5 years from now?
  • Resist the temptation to assert your own expert credentials. It won't work. No one knows more than they do in their opinion!

Other personality types:

Laura Benjamin is the owner of "Laura Benjamin International," an international speaking, training, coaching and consulting firm specializing in workplace relations and professional development issues. Her programs include, "Got STRESS? Balancing Work & Life," "Call of the Wild…Dealing with Difficult People," and "A Manager's Guide to Developing Your People." Contact her by phone: 719-266-8088, email:, or visit her website at