The workplace can be full of interesting, and often conflicting, personalities. Over the years, I have worked in a multitude of environments that could be overwhelming at times due to the clashing of temperaments. Understanding the different characteristics of your employees and co-workers is a vital facet to a happy and healthy workplace.
I’m going to share with you a few of the characters I have met over the years. I’m certain you will recognize a few of them as people that surround you daily. Perhaps this will assist you in understanding their quirks and make it a bit easier to handle any situations that may arise.
Oh Oscar, we all know him, always taking that extra step when he didn’t have to. He is always making everyone else feel like they can’t quite keep up. He enjoys his job and he takes his position very seriously. Oscar has a strong moral compass which can make him an excellent employee and sometimes a good coworker. The thing about Oscar is, if he is taking that extra step, he thinks everyone else should too. His work remains on his mind all the time and he is constantly searching for ways to improve. He expects and appreciates lavish praise and rewards for all of his efforts and does not mind bringing that to everyone’s attention.
Susan is tired, more tired than anyone has ever been. She constantly reminds you of how hard her life is and it will always be harder than your own, no matter what. Susan needs your sympathy, she craves attention and really wants you to feel sorry for her. Chances are you do feel sympathy for her, because Susan is obviously unhappy. She needs people to listen and to make her feel important, probably because she never feels that way. Perhaps she is a draining coworker and an employee that you have to prod along, but Susan may need you more than you need her.
Everything is always someone else’s fault when it comes to Trish. She never does anything wrong and if someone else does she is going to tattle on them like a kid on the playground. She likes to stir up workplace drama and gossip around the copier about it. Be sure not to tell Trish about something that you don’t want the world to know, because she will tell everyone in the hour. You find yourself always wondering when does Trish do her work? No one knows. She can be useful though, because anything you need to know, Trish knows. She usually likes to bring special treats into the office and organizes the birthday parties.
If you have a problem, Esther is there to help. She is that employee or coworker that everyone goes to for advice. She is great at keeping secrets, but sometimes the stress of being pitted between people can be daunting. You love Esther and her kind heart, but sometimes you have to wonder whose side she is on? You’ll never be able to tell, because she is going to be sympathetic to everyone’s cause. Usually a workplace Esther does not stay in one job too long, because the controversy she has witnessed makes her want to move on to a less stressful job.
Mitch loves to tell everyone what an amazing job they are doing. He thinks everyone is wonderful, BUT he has some ideas that could make things better. Even though it may not be his field, he can come up with some improvements and INSISTS that you make them despite any objections. Mitch may not pay much attention to his own job, but he knows how to do yours better than you. He is usually a boss or manager and seems like a very congenial guy, until you disagree with his recommendations, then his true temper comes to light. He will do whatever it takes to get his way and you better stay out of it.
Has anyone seen Rita? She is always in her office with the door closed and often with the lights off. She does all of her work, but it’s as if she is living in a cave. When she comes out of her office she keeps her head down, does what she needs to do, and goes right back in. Rita is the ideal employee, she comes in, works hard, and goes home. As a coworker, you aren’t sure what to think of Rita. Does she not like anyone or is she just that involved in her work? She seems to enjoy her job, but there is a cloud of mystery that surrounds her and makes her the topic of office gossip.
Dan hates authority figures and he isn’t afraid to let everyone know that. He doesn’t need someone telling him how to do his job, he has been working there for so long he thinks he should tell everyone how to do theirs. Dan is often the life of the party and he knows it. He has outbursts that can be tons of fun and occasionally super awkward. As a coworker, you love Dan, because he always makes things interesting. As an employer, you are not a fan of Dan, because he is noncompliant and often instigates office disputes.
This certainly is not a complete list of the personalities you can encounter in the workplace, but they are a few of the major players I have encountered. The most important thing to remember about anyone you work with is that they all have their own feelings and troubles. Try to understand each other’s personalities and avoid conflict. The work environment will always be a lot more productive and peaceful if you all learn to accept and work with one another.
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