NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

The average person will spend over 90,000 hours of their life working. It’s no wonder then that spending those hours with some co-workers is as appealing as nails on a chalkboard.

Below, I discuss three annoying, but common, personality types and how to cope with them both as a manager and a co-worker.

The Social Butterfly is everyone’s favorite coworker, except when you’re on a tight deadline or doing everything in your power to make it to your kid’s soccer game. So, as a supervisor or a co-worker how can you stop them from taking up valuable time without interfering with their pleasant nature?

If you’re a supervisor, think about how you can capitalize on their traits. Maybe that means making them the welcoming committee for new hires, or, putting them in charge of office baby showers, outings, and special events.

Are you a manager dealing with a social butterfly, stress bunny, or glory hog? We can help. Contact NJBIA’s Member Action Center at 1-800-499-4419, ext. 3 or member411@njbia.org.

 

More importantly, make it clear that everyone is there to get a job done. A direct approach is usually the best approach. For instance saying: “Everyone really enjoys working with you, but we’ve gotten some feedback that your side conversations are affecting the ability of others to meet their deadlines. We wanted to come to you directly to address this issue.”

As a co-worker, you want to avoid getting sucked in. If the social butterfly is in your office to gossip, don’t share anything you wouldn’t want to read about in a company newsletter. If instead they just want to see what you have planned for the weekend, politely tell them you’re working on something, but would love to catch up with them later.

The Stress Bunny is the coworker who can’t stop talking about how much work they have. They could get paid to sharpen pencils all day and still complain.

As a manager, consider a recipe of one part empathy and two parts tough love. Listen sympathetically and acknowledge the challenges of the job. At the same time, reinforce the fact that certain tasks are within the job’s scope and ask if there are other tools they need to get it done. Depending on what you hear back, you may want to ask: “Knowing the nature of our work and expectations, do you feel like this is the right position for you?”

As a co-worker, don’t let it rub off on you. When assigned a project with this person, break it down into manageable steps and start small. Stay positive and hold the person accountable for their deliverables. When all else fails, cry “uncle” and ask management for help.

The Glory Hog are the people who are asked to give one final look at a 100-page proposal and somehow get their name first on the cover page. They often delegate extra work or ask for a partnership, but wind up taking most, if not all of the credit when it’s done.

As a co-worker, give your supervisor regular updates on your part of the project. Also, don’t assume the person has a vendetta against you. In some cases, glory hogs are just insecure about their own positions, so reassuring them may go a long way.  When all else fails, consider stating your positon to management.As a manager, be prepared to show the employee some of the bumps they’re likely to encounter if they continue to steal the spotlight. Don’t shield the person from working with others, but monitor them when they do and check-in with the group regularly.