When I was in the eighth grade, my father said: ‘Son, there are two types of people in the world – leaders and followers. Make sure you know what you are.’ I never understood what he meant until I entered professional life.

Being a leader isn’t easy.

You are accountable for the actions of your subordinates and responsible for their productivity. Hence, it is important, as a boss, to understand the types of employees you might encounter and how to get the most out of them. Here are the 6 classifications of possible employee personalities.

1. The Slacker

The slacker or the “lazy one” comes in many shapes and sizes, but their defining factor is always evident – they do not play their part. It is important to realize that the slacker is different from the under-performing employee. It’s not as if they don’t have the ability to pull their own weight; it’s just that they don’t want to.

You can easily determine if you have a slacker in your team. They will be someone who can be found anywhere except for his designated cubicle – the coffee machine, smoking area or someone else’s cubicle of course.

However, you must understand that catching the slacker red-handed can be pretty difficult as they are extremely well-versed in covering up their laziness.

How to manage them:

Once you manage to detect the slacker, you have to pay much more attention to him than the rest of your employees. That is mainly because he will try to wriggle his way out of a task; you need to be firm and, at times, uptight about getting the job done. Once the slacker realizes he has been exposed, he is bound to work harder and try to play his part.

On the other hand sometimes a slacker might just be bored or under challenged. Try to disrupt their typical workflow and get them out of their comfort zone. You might find out you don’t really have a slacker after all.

2. The Under-performing Employee

The under-performing employee is not working at his optimum. The reasons for him struggling are mostly personal, which may include divorce, a death in the family or failure to pay his mortgage.

All in all, he will be under some sort of pressure, which is why he will not be able to give his all.

How to manage them:

You need to understand the predicament that your employee is in and act compassionately. Sit down with them and talk to them about what they’re going through. Tell them you’re there for them. A few kind words go a long way.

3. The Ambitious Employee

Ambition is a must in someone who is looking to move forward in life. However, too much ambition can be a problem.

An excessive amount of ambition can lead to one of your employees overshadowing the others, making them feel incompetent and under-valued. They will try to outdo not just the other employees, but also you!

They will question your authority and ignore your instructions – some even have the audacity to do things their way, even after you gave clear instructions on how the task was to be completed.

How to manage them:

The only way to deal with an ambitious person is to feed their ambition. Give them enough work to keep them busy. This will make them feel valued and focused on their own work. Set aligned goals between you and your ambitious employee. These goals should be short and long term goals. Keeping the communication clear with this type of employee will keep him engaged and happier.

4. The Drama Queens

These employees consider the workplace to be a soap opera. For them, every day is an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. They cause more drama in the office than they do work. If the day is a dry one, they are sure to make somethingup for their satisfaction.

How to manage them:

Your first action should be to have a one-on-one with the gossiper to address the issue. Give them a stern talk, reminding them that the workplace is no place for gossip and what will happen if their behaviour continues. You also need to keep in mind that someone who creates constant drama in the office may be doing it to hide something else, so keep that in mind before you sit down with them.

Try to encourage positive gossiping by sharing positive stories or examples of the team’s work in meetings. Positive gossip can also be about a specific employee that went out of their way to do something exceptional whether it’s for the customer or showed amazing teamwork. Give them a shoutout in front of the team and encourage this positive sharing.

The best way to get your team sharing positive gossip is to lead by example.

5. The Office Clown

You will often hire someone whose sole purpose in life is to make his associates laugh. Your employees are less enthusiastic about work and more eager to find out what the clown has in store for them.

These clowns are important for a corporate environment and tend to boost workplace morale by providing entertainment; however this must be controlled as too much entertainment will cause your employees to deviate from their assigned tasks.

How to manage them:

These cheerful guys don’t mean any harm, but they can sometimes disrupt office conduct with their shenanigans. Try sitting down with this individual and explain to them how their disruptions are effecting the team and possible deadlines.

6. Negative Nancy

Negative Nancys are the one in the group that always have something bad to say about a new idea or a situation. As a manager it is just a matter of time before you will have this type of employee on your team, it’s important to get a handle on the negativity before it starts to effect the whole team or company culture.

How to manage them:

The first step is to open up communication with this person and have an honest conversation and try to find out where this negativity is coming from, whether it a personal or a work issue.

If you find the issue is able to be resolved, then think about giving them constructive feedback and explain how this type of negativity stunts the creative flow and productivity of their fellow employees.


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By | August 15th, 2017|Leadership|

One Comment

  1. jonrgrover November 20, 2017 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    On the other hand sometimes a slacker might just be bored or under challenged. Try to disrupt their typical workflow and get them out of their comfort zone. You might find out you don’t really have a slacker after all.

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