***Disclaimer*** The following is in no wise aimed at any one person in particular. It is just part 1 of a diatribe on the corporate office environment and the corporate concept of teamwork. I’ll discuss the types of people who I’ve encountered and maybe you’ve encountered as well. I’ll fall into one or more categories so don’t feel ashamed if you see yourself in one or several of the descriptions. We all have areas to work on.
I have heard several definitions of excellence in my lifetime. One definition that comes to mind is attention to detail. How can one achieve excellence when the outcome of the task lies in the hands of a team or group composed of individuals with different mentalities. Team work is great when the team has a common goal and mentality, but when it lacks an attitude of excellence, it can lead to long nights, reworked assignments, missed deadlines, substandard work, tension, and ultimately (if intervention doesn’t prevail) the dissolution of the team.
The Hoarder– Have you ever met the co-worker who hoards all of the work to themselves or always volunteers for assignments for which they know they don’t have the bandwidth to complete? Most of the other members of the team will allow the hoarder to continue on the path to psuedo-rockstardom because they have their own piece of the work to complete. Who really has time to look over someone else’s shoulder?
For the most part, hoarders tend to be unorganized. The lack of organization creates a false impression in the mind of the hoarder that states “You have time to do that too”. Hoarders tend to have no calendar, watch, cell phone, black berry, smart phone or reference to time anywhere near them. They don’t feel like they need a schedule and will catch an attitude quickly when you ask them about the content of what they have “on their plate”. The busier they look the better off they feel they are. Some of your office mates might even call the hoarder a “workhorse” because the hoarder has created a fabulous illusion of being busy.
If you have a hoarder on your team, don’t let them take on all the work. The team will end up cleaning it up later.
The Surfer– The surfer will catch the wave and ride it out as long as they can. They are severely content with where they are and will not do any more or any less than what is asked of them even though they have the capacity to do more. The surfer tends to be extremely intelligent, but has perhaps been burned in the past when they stayed late to complete an assignment. They didn’t receive the bonus, promotion or appreciation that they deserved. In times past, they enjoyed the recognition for a job well done, but after while it is merely expected of the surfer, so they become lazy.
If you have a surfer on the team, you can jump-start them by recognizing them for a job well done. They are often motivated if they think someone cares about the job that they are doing oh so well.
The Monday Morning Quarterback the MMQB has all the answers, but they tend to give them after the fact! Oh yes, they can break down the issue from the beginning to the end while telling you how to fix it, but it is too late. The team has already fallen into the trap. They will stand over you saying, “If you would have asked me, I would have told you blah blah blah”. The MMQBs in the world tend to be those members of the team that miss the most time. They are permanently stationed at the away game. They never offer the advice to the home team until it is too late.
We love the MMQBs because they are so animated. If you have one on your team, leverage them by showing that you value their opinions when they speak. Present the hypothetical situation to the MMQB and they might offer necessary tips up front as a result.
The Illusionist– This person looks as if they are not working at all. They make the work look extremely effortless. This person is actually working but tends to finish quickly. They are very organized and technologically savvy. These people often work smarter, not harder. Their total brain capacity is not maximized at work and they are often frustrated with where they are in their career. Completing work quickly has become a goal so they have more time to focus on their actual dreams. The illusionist rarely offers assistance because they feel like everyone should share the load equally and if someone has taken on more than they should have, they should be made to suffer for it at the expense of the team so others will step up in the future.
The illusionist will finish whatever you place in front of them, so the only way to engage this person is to find out how they do what they do so you too can work smarter and not harder.
The Oracle- This person has all the answers to any problem. They are simply wired this way. They are absolute critical thinkers with quick understanding. They can slice and dice any situation and provide sound judgment which normally isn’t based on any evidence. They tend to go on the way that the situation feels. There is an intangible knowledge of people, places, and personalities that accompanies an Oracle. They change the atmosphere that they work in with little of no effort. They are a fountain of new ideas and innovation. They tend to be in tune with the entire team on some level. They can tell if you are having a bad day or if you are weighed down with something other than the assignment. The oracle will often be an illusionist. They tend to be the leader in the group. So they know how to pull everyone together to obtain optimal results.
These are a few of the types of co-workers present in the workplace. So how do you know who you are working with?
Stay tuned for part 2 Co-Workers