The types of officemates you meet at work – which one are you?

This story first appeared on Kalibrr. Visit this page for more on the ups and downs of navigating your career. 

Who are the people in your neighborhood? In this case, let “neighborhood” be defined as “workplace.”

Almost all working professionals can attest to the truth that the office is the adult version of the school playground and of course, it has its own playground rules. 

It’s to be expected that we will encounter various types of personalities at work. Some of them, you may have been grateful to meet. A few of them, you may have regretted spending time with.

Regardless, if one of your career goals is to strike positive and mutually beneficial relationships between you and your colleagues, here’s hoping that this handy guide on the types of workplace personalities you’ll meet provide the added means to fulfill that goal.

Based on my own personal experience, here are a few types of colleagues you may have met before and how to deal with them. Of course, nobody's perfect, and rather than thinking of these types as caricatures of officemates, think of them as traits – we're a blend of diverse traits that make up who we are and how well we perform at work. Maybe you can even spot your own self in one of the types here.

The Achiever

How to spot them: If the big boss wants things done, he looks for The Achiever. If your company wanted to showcase their vision of the ideal employee, they call upon this guy.

He or she is the company’s go-to-guy in crunch time. And with their slew of accomplishments, cool and collected demeanor, and leadership skills, these people can be the organization’s pride and joy, and a valued asset worth keeping. 

How to deal with them: Continue to support and encourage them to be the way they are. Show appreciation for their dedication and effort. Asking, “What can this person teach me in terms of being able to improve my work further?”, can open yourself to be closer to this peg.

The Unsung Hero

How to spot them: The Unsung Hero is the type that works without fanfare but is very much an important part of the team. They would rather stay in the background. Expect the Unsung Hero to give their honest-to-goodness effort day in and day out. They can be considered a close cousin of The Achiever. Underrated but essential, an organization needs this kind of individuals to help drive their performance upwards and onwards. 

How to deal with them: Show them, in a not-too-flashy way, that their contributions to the team are not overlooked. Involve them in additional opportunities to lead and hold more responsibilities in a bigger role. It also represents a leap out of their comfort zone. 

The Mentor 

How to spot them: Think your very own version of Gandalf, Yoda, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. These people have a sincere interest of teaching you not just the technical aspects of your work in general. The Mentor, more importantly, imparts a big picture perspective of why things are done a certain way. If given a chance, they are generous in showing what they know. They have your best interest in mind terms of your career progression. 

How to deal with them: Be a sponge when you are around them. The journey is not complete without one. No matter what stage of the career ladder you are in, one can never go wrong with having a mentor, that may be a gift that keeps on giving. Think of the mentor as an investment in your career. Welcome the suggested solutions they offer as well as new or unique perspectives they can share about any work or career problems encountered. You’ll be equipped with the additional know-how and point of view that can help when adversity hits.

The Longstanding Veteran

How to spot them: No, the Longstanding Veteran does not have a statue or mural in honor of his tenure in the company. This person has been with the company since the organization’s formative years. He and those who know him are sure to remind you that he’s been with the company for X number of years.

How to deal with them: Reach out to them if you want a history lesson as part of your continuing education. Make sure to include them in usual office conversations so they won’t feel slighted by being left out. 

The Ally

How to spot them: The Ally can be considered as a friend at work and outside of it. The Ally can fill a number of roles. The Ally can hear out your ideas, someone you can trust, and pick you up in not-so-good times (read: BFF). 

How to deal with them: Nurture the friendships at work that are tried and true, like the one with The Ally. These will be the people who will be with you every step of the way. Encouraging yourself to extend friendly gestures to others can be a start. Establish real connections at work with real people. This can contribute to making you a better worker in the process.

The Office Comedian

How to spot them: Comedians help keep things loose and light at work. The Office Comedians sees the lighter side of things and can help ease tension among colleagues. 

How to deal with them: As long as their antics are not stepping on others’ toes, enjoy their playfulness. Everything works in moderation, including the comedy part. 

The Gossip 

How to spot them: Tsismis central. Have you heard about what happened to you-know-who during the latest management team meeting? Puzzled about rumblings that the company may do some downsizing? Who's dating who? He or she knows it all. Some can be the type who pulls stories out of their hats for shock value. Others spend their office hours discussing about other folks with gusto.

How to deal with them: Be on the lookout for their whereabouts. They are probably huddling up in the pantry or dropping by another cubicle to disseminate their brand of info. If certain gossip comes your way, be responsible by not passing it along, Take whatever you hear with a grain of salt. Be cognizant of giving away any news leaks, especially for big items going on. If you happen to be the subject of the gossip, confronting the source is the way to go.

The Vacuum Cleaner

How to spot them: Popularly known as sipsip in local terms, their game is to kiss up to move up, especially to their boss or someone higher up the organization. Their words are sweet. They may throw their bosses a lot of compliments. And yes, they may even step on a few others on their way.

How to deal with them: This person’s agenda-filled interaction with higher-ups may or may not get them to their next level; leave them alone. It is probably time to highlight your feats for a change. Your superiors probably need a reminder about what you have done to get the recognition you deserve.

The Complainer

How to spot them: If complaining were a method that would drive a company’s profits and boost its goodwill among its stakeholders, then they'd be an asset. But as experience tells us, it is not a lot of fun being around individuals who always find something to rant about. Usually, their general dissatisfaction about a number of issues makes them act this way. These people complain because they may fall under one or a few of the following labels: bored, disgruntled, busy, or unhappy with their work. 

How to deal with them: Don't join the pity party. A more proactive and straight-forward strategy is to talk instead about possible solutions to their raised issues.

The Politician

How to spot them: The Politician can take on many forms. There is the backstabbing type who tricks you into thinking you are friends – that is until they speak behind your back or plagiarize your ideas. 

How to deal with them: Keep your guard up. If you happen to know who to be weary of, never trust the person’s machinations. Take whatever they say with a huge grain of salt. Keep your guard up. 

The Slacker

How to spot them: The Slacker is your office’s version of a mirage – giving the impression that he is at work but passes on tasks to others. They give the image of being actual contributors to the team.

How to deal with them: Ignore if they have nothing to do with you, raise this as a concern if they do. If working under you, slackers need monitoring, clear deadlines, and crystal clear key results areas. 

The Newbie 

How to spot them: These newer folks may be fresh grads or just folks with a fresh start at your company. 

How to deal with them: Don’t they remind you of yourself when you were just starting your career? It’s time to pay it forward and embrace your role as a de facto mentor. Time to take someone under your wing, if needed. Do something for the newly-hired or newly-graduated newbie that he will be thankful for in the future. Make sure that every workday is an opportunity to learn something new daily 

The Demanding Boss

How to spot them: You’ve done your best and gave 110% but for this kind of boss, it is still not good enough. He or she is armed with out-of-this-world expectations. They can be overbearing or even feel mean. You feel that your work-life balance has already been disrupted. 

How to deal with them: Assess the relationship with this tough boss; it may not necessarily mean it's time to quit. Another option is to have an honest and open dialogue to get you and your boss on the same page. Others strive to understand why their boss works a certain way, and treat the situation as a learning experience. (READ: 'I hate my boss!': 5 tips to deal

Ah, the workplace! What a fun and colorful place to be in, right? Strive to understand your work colleagues’ personalities. By doing so, here’s hoping it can transform your office into the most productive place it can become.

These types of colleagues are just the tip of the iceberg. We are sure you have other types of colleagues in mind. Do add more to this list in the comments below. –

Joseph Cueto is a diehard Boston sports fan who still manages to find something new and exciting about the teams he roots for every day. He writes too.

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