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5 Types Of People You Don’t Want On Your Team

5 Types Of People You Don’t Want On Your Team

When assembling a team of coworkers to get a job done, it’s important to understand each individual’s personality in order to ensure successful teamwork occurs. While this sounds like it should be the easy part of a job, it’s anything but. Certain personalities jibe with each other, and simply do not make good team members. As an employer, you want to make sure that none of your workers fall into these categories:

1. The Yes-Man

Think back to grade school. Remember the kid that would always remind the teacher to give homework if she forgot about it? He grew up to be the Yes-Man. Now he spends his time at work agreeing with everything the boss says, regardless of how he really feels.

He’ll never criticize a bad idea that comes from someone in a position to give promotions, and he’ll follow a bad idea into the grave. Too often, bosses will rely on them in a sort of symbiotic relationship; since the Yes-Man agrees with the boss’ idea, the boss will use this as leverage when someone else has the guts to share their dissenting opinion.

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And, worst of all, the Yes-Man never comes up with his own opinions; he relies on his brown-nosing capabilities to keep his position on the team.

2. The Devil’s Advocate

The opposite of the Yes-Man is the Devil’s Advocate. While the Yes-Man is the one pushing bad ideas forward, the Devil’s Advocate holds good ideas back. They shoot down everyone’s opinion with overly dramatic statements such as “That’ll never work,” or “How do you expect that to happen?”

The Devil’s Advocate seems to serve no other purpose to the team other than to bring morale down. They might think they’re being realistic, but in actuality they’re being overly pessimistic.

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When you’re working as a team, it’s best to start with optimism, and pepper in healthy doses of skepticism along the way. The one thing the Devil’s Advocate and Yes-Man have in common is that neither of them have any ideas of their own.

3. The Know-It-All

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the Know-It-All. This is the person on your team who spends too much time spouting his own opinion, because he thinks he’s always right.

Not only is the Know-It-All arrogant and cocky, but he puts other people down in the process. Unfortunately, this forces most other team members to keep their mouths shut, even if they have what they believe to be a good idea.

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The Know-It-All, like all humans, often makes mistakes, but since he sees himself as the personification of perfection, he fails to realize it, and thus never learns from his misgivings.

4. The Inflexible

The Inflexible team member is what happens when the Devil’s Advocate becomes complacent. The Inflexible doesn’t see any way growth can occur, and doesn’t want to put the work in to get where they need to be.

Not only that, but the Inflexible also does not see the potential for growth in his teammates. This is the kind of person who shrugs and says “It is what it is,” without actually looking into why things are the way they are, and coming up with ways to solve the problems the team is facing.

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If everyone on a team acted like the Inflexible, the company would never grow.

5. The Defensive

The Defensive team member has his guard up at all times. They’ll take the most innocuous criticism and turn it into a personal attack, thinking all other team members are out to get them. While he could use the criticism given constructively in order to grow as a professional, the Defensive employee shuts down when criticized, and often will resort to insulting others.

Because of this, the Defensive will often sit back and not say a word, making himself quite useless to the team as a whole.

I should note that it’s quite impossible to avoid these personalities, but great leaders know how to harness the negative aspects of their employees and improve on them in some way. Professional development and team building go a long way, and will ultimately lead to success for each individual, as well as the team.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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