APU Careers Careers & Learning

Are You the Grinch at Work? Deciphering Personality Types and How to Work With Them

By J. Mason
Online Career Tips Staff

Everyone has a set of characters they work with, the key is getting along with these different personalities to make the work day go smoothly. So you can have your nicknames, office gossip, and private cliques as long as you make sure to follow some ground rules and know what kind of people you’re working with.

Here is a listing of some of the more common office personalities. They vary from business to business and may go by different names, but the way they behave and work usually are the same. See where you fall on the list:

The Grinch:
More of a grump in the office. Whether the excuse is needing more coffee to lighten their mood, or simply a bad personal situation that carried into the work space, this individual is hard to work with because of a possibly persistent stressor.

How to work together – Make conversation light and don’t pry into their personal situation if necessary; unless you’re invited. Keep it work related and to the point. Sometimes the issue is they’re getting hit from different angles on the same project, so by keeping the conversation focused and detailed with the exact components conflict can be minimized. Being friendly never hurts! As the saying goes, “You get more with honey than with vinegar.”

The Social Butterfly (a.k.a. the “Performer”):
This personality type can also be referred to as Extraverted Sensing Feeling Perceiving(ESFP). Everyone knows this person around the office. They’re the jokester, social butterfly, and usually one of a few names you remember throughout your tenure at your position. A people-oriented extrovert that loves new experiences, and enjoys being the center of attention.

How to work together – The good thing about this person is they’re easy to get along with…as long as you aren’t the Grinch! As a people-pleaser they’re looking to stay on your good list and more than willing and flexible to work with you. So give back what they give you. If they “scratch your back” return the favor.

The Protector:
Everyone’s friend and water cooler companion. This really could be your friend in the office that comes to your aid if gossip is spreading on a personal matter that leaked out, or someone to stick up for you in a meeting when your ideas aren’t being heard. It could also be someone who looks out for your safety when you’ve left on your electric blanket at your desk overnight…

How to work together – Keep them close and don’t cross them. This type of person is typically very thorough and will stick around as long as they’re not double crossed. Return the favor and saying thank you when something nice is done or said helps. Also, a listening ear for any of their issues or help on a project.

The Gossip Hound:
In the business of knowing other people’s business? Than you may be the office “vault”. This person knows everything there is to know about the latest bit of news in the company, or gossip about the person in the office next door. They tend to release bits of information to their closest comrades at work, and have a social butterfly aspect to their overall personality.

How to work together – Keep your private life at home and work conflicts to yourself if it could harm your position. This person may not be out to hurt you, but an over-share of information is probably not the best idea. Stay friendly and avoid spreading things you hear that may or may not be true. If it is juicy news, keep it to yourself. Creating a “fire” in the office isn’t productive and can cause more of an uproar than you anticipated.

The Thinker:
Pioneers of thought, ground breakers. These types think outside of the box and beyond. They value knowledge, competence and logic and are very driven and can turn theories into clear understandings. Work best alone, usually quiet and reserved and hard to get to know.

How to work together – Let them come to you with ideas. Leading the conversation may turn them off. Instead give them the project and a direction and see what they come up with. As for group work, they may tend to bring their ideas to the table without help from the team, but encouraging their involvement will help keep their head in the game and from being disinterested.

The Nitpicker:
Finds fault in other people’s work. May typically not offer useful suggestions. Tend to be slightly more introverted in their own work, but an extrovert in revealing flaws.

How to work together – Don’t take the edits or remarks to heart. Thoughtfully consider their suggestions and respond diplomatically if necessary. Losing your cool during a meeting or in an e-mail will stay on other people’s minds so keep a calm exterior and a cool demeanor when responding.

The Leader (a.k.a. the “visionary”):
Very assertive and outspoken and driven to lead others. This may be your manager, head of the department, or someone at a lower level that is constantly at a stellar peak in their projects. They are able to understand difficult organizational problems and created tangible solutions; with typically little patience for inefficiency or disorganization.

How to work together – This type tends to vary, and can be a blend of the other personalities. Shine in front of this individual. Make sure your ideas are well polished before you present, and accept constructive criticism with enthusiasm. They appreciate hard work and effort, and demonstrating this on a daily basis is the best way to stand out and collaborate together.

The Visionary (a.k.a. ENTP): Extroverted Intuition with Introverted Thinking
This person is extroverted in their thinking and actions and looks to the world around them for understanding. Constantly taking in new ideas and images revolving around current situations in their lives. A great improviser.

How to work together – They like generating ideas solo, so may not be into group discussions on the next big project plan. They are very creative, but tend to be less sensitive regarding the emotional impact of some decisions made; so take care in presenting ideas  and possibly removing the emotional factor of the project or topic of conversation.

Now remember, this list doesn’t include every personality in the career space, just a few that have stood out in my experience. What’s your work persona and who do you clash the most with? Whatever you call yourself, or your cube mate, remember that your differences make you unique and working together CAN enhance the experience. You need to find that happy median that blends well and makes the wait until 5 o’clock seem closer.

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