Office personalities – Secrets to get ahead

In any work environment you find yourself in, you will always come across individuals with several personality types. This includes your boss and colleagues. Different personality types require different relationship management approaches so here are some personality types you might find in the workplace and how you can manage them to stay ahead in your career.


  1. The hoarder: This individual has probably been in the office for a lot longer than most. Actually, sometimes, they have only been in the office for a year or two but think all company information belongs to them. Once you join the company, he/she pretends to be one who keeps to his or herself so that they do not interact with you and have to share information. They want to be the go-to person for all matters forgetting that to make progress, they need to include you and work as a team. This is a dangerous personality type as by hoarding information, they are making work more difficult for the rest of the team who have to spend double the time sourcing information that already exists.

Tip: If their activities are seriously impacting your work and deadlines, then arrange a one-on-one chat with the individual. This usually helps clear the air. Make it clear you’re not after their personal information or trying to make them feel less important but trying to help make the business grow by having information. Communication helps break barriers – try and be as nice as you can. 


  1. Mr./Ms. Popular: This individual is friendly with everyone in the work place. They think they can get ahead simply by being liked – and most times they do. Not necessarily because of their skills or experiences but because they have wormed their way into the hearts of the boss to become the favourite of the team. The only way this type of personality will affect you is that they can be annoying and will probably distract you from your work more often than you would like. Their popularity also means that you would expect them to spend most times allocated for meetings chatting and trying to get friendly with everyone.

Tip: It is okay to spend a few minutes here and there of your working day chatting. However, if Mr or Ms Popular is taking up too much of your time, make it clear you’re busy with personal deadlines. Or even put your headphones on when you see them approaching. I know it isn’t ideal but needs must. Don’t let their popular status get to you or affect your efficiency. Stay focused. This might be a little challenging when you see them possibly getting promoted over you because of their popularity.  


  1. Mr/Ms. Notice me I’m clever: This is usually the loudest speaker at all meetings. This individual speaks above everyone else to give the impression that he knows about the subject matter when in actual fact there’s no substance there. If you probe him further you will find out. Unfortunately this is the one that gets promoted in most cases. This individual is very vocal so is seen as assertive, confident, hard working and as getting things done. This is not necessarily the case. They thrive on the information you or others have given them and try to use it to get noticed at meetings but they have no idea of the facts or details of what they are talking about. They usually go silent when the tough questions are asked or try to wriggle their way out by not responding to the actual question. They are ready to put anyone down just to get on top of their game.

Tip: If this type is using your information to take away all the credit for your hard work, find a way to trip them up so you do get your due merit. Well…yes, if you need to stay ahead in your workplace then you need to be smart too. When the difficult questions are asked, also pretend not to know anything about it and let them do the talking. Only do this if it does not cause a major impact on the business. Otherwise, please speak up and offer your input to help the business succeed and hope that someday they get caught out. If it is your manager who has this personality type, then you do not have a lot of options as you are there to support your manager. As for work colleagues with this personality, be careful what information you pass on, otherwise, you will be stuck in that position while they get promoted.

  1. The Unproductive 6-9ers: These individuals are in the office before everyone else and are usually the last ones out of the office. I mean…can a person in actual fact work those long hours and still be productive? I have always seen these sorts as people who are unable to manage their time effectively. A Work/life balance is important. They are always tired and short tempered as a result and want to make it obvious to the boss at every opportunity that they have been at work from 6am to 9pm every working day. Despite the long hours they put in, they still don’t get much done. There are definitely times when business demands require that a worker stays on longer than required to meet certain deadlines and so on. However, if as a manager, there is someone in your team with this particular personality type, then you need to investigate to know what is happening to their time management skills.

Tip: It is simply not practical, long term, to work these long hours for an extended period. If you cannot afford to work these long hours for personal, health reasons or otherwise, make sure that you work with a good daily plan to ensure all your targets are met. There is nothing like a missed deadline or target to give the 6-9er an opportunity to say the only reason you’ve missed it is because you haven’t been working the long hours they have put in.  Here’s hoping you don’t have a boss who prefers the unproductive 6-9er, if not, regardless of how efficiently you meet your deadlines, you will always be seen as the less productive one. 


  1. The knowledgeable quiet one: This is the calm quiet one and most intelligent member of the team and everyone knows. Very quiet and extremely knowledgeable, they are the complete opposite of Mr./Ms. Notice Me I’m Clever. They are typically introverted in nature and as a result, they are not really assertive. Although they know the right answers to questions asked, they do not speak up at large meetings and prefer one on one meetings where they can express and discuss things in more depth. Once they gain confidence, mostly through the encouragement of their manager or other team members, they are the perfect team member.

Tip: This personality type has a lot of knowledge and is hardly ever a problem except you’re Mr./Ms. Notice Me I’m Clever and they are not willing to give you the information you need to get ahead. The way to get ahead here is to get close to them, build friendships or just solid work relationships. Communicate and you will break through much quicker and tap from the valuable resources this person has. 


As there are multiple personality types in the work place, we need to arm ourselves with resources in order to grow. I am confident that you have been able to identify yourself or other work colleagues in this list. I hope that the tips will help you in managing your work relationships going forward. If I’ve missed out on any personality types you’ve identified in your work place then please feel free to share. Thanks for stopping by!


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