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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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