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6 Types of Employees (and how to manage them)

6 Types of Employees

 

Every office features a range of characters, many of whom have been parodied in workplace comedies like Office Space. Each of these employee types brings something valuable to the table, so no matter who the characters are on your team, as a manager it's crucial to understand how to effectively manage them.

Here are 6 types of employees, and how managers can help them produce their best work:


The Social Butterfly


Social ButterflyThey're great at building relationships - a total "people person." They have friends throughout the office, and they're always willing to grab a coffee, talk through a problem, or go to a happy hour. They know all the gossip, but they also remember everyone's birthdays.


How to manage them:


This employee is popular and connected, which means they can be a leader within the culture: coach them on how to leverage their relationships to get their peers excited about company events or new initiatives. Encourage them to promote collaboration between different teams and to bring different people together.


They can also run the risk of being too chatty when they need to be working. If that happens, remind them gently they have deadlines to meet. If it becomes a persistent issue, meet with them to talk about how they should manage their time. Building friendships in the office is great, but they have to get their work done first.


 

The Leader


LeaderThey're ready to spearhead everything! In every meeting they want to talk first, and they love taking the lead on team projects or company initiatives. They offer feedback to their peers, and sometimes they may even proactively assign duties within the team. They're sharp and motivated, and they take initiative.


How to manage them:


These employees are naturally leaders... but if they don't actually hold a leadership role in the company, they could potentially rub others the wrong way. It's important to utilize their leadership and develop their strengths while making sure they're not overstepping their roles and frustrating others.


Encourage them to pursue their ideas and take ownership for them. Give them responsibilities within the team they can enjoy. If they show true managerial promise, help them hone these skills as well! Push them – they have potential. Assign them new and challenging work where they get exposure to leadership. It will help grow their career and impact the company’s bottom line, and it will help retain them.


 

The Harsh Critic


Harsh CriticThey aren't critical of their co-workers; they are just incredibly harsh on themselves – harder on themselves than you ever could be. They hold their own performance to an unrealistically high standard, which means they're more likely to break down if they fail. This emotional tailspin can disrupt their entire day and ruin their productivity.


How to manage them:


Every employee should hold themselves and each other to high standards. It's not bad to have someone pushing themselves to over-achieve… but the emotional toll it can take is unhealthy, and it's hard to bounce back from on a regular basis.


When the Harsh Critic crashes, talk them through the issue. If they made a mistake, talk them through the issue and focus on what they can do moving forward. Teach them how to develop a "next play" mentality so that they're ready to move forward and keep producing. Explain that their high standards are good, but they need to be able to recover from setbacks in order to grow and produce.


 

The Introvert


IntrovertThey love the work they do, and they're good at it. They hit their goals and contribute to the company's growth… but they're very shy. These employees can be huge assets: they can work hard and have great ideas, but they don't speak up in meetings, and they're not talkative in group settings.


How to manage them:


Most importantly, don't assume their silence means they don't have opinions or good ideas. Set them up to successfully communicate with their peers and management. Give this employee clear agendas for meetings ahead of time so they can prepare their thoughts and talking points. If they want quiet, uninterrupted time to work by themselves, give them that space.


Have one-on-one meetings to touch base with how they're feeling. Give them a safe way to air concerns or share ideas. Over time, they may come out of their shell in the office and feel more comfortable speaking up.


Encourage them to participate and actively seek out their opinions during a meeting. It will help them become more comfortable and hopefully, eventually speak up without prompting. Show them instances where people have spoken up and good things have happened. They may be worried about how they will be perceived.


 

The Procrastinator


ProcrastinatorThey struggle to effectively manage their time, often leaving projects until the last minute and then cramming to hit their deadlines. The work they do is good… and it could be better if they had given themselves more time.


How to manage them:


First, look at their workload and determine what the underlying issue is: are they putting off the work they don't like doing, or are they being inefficient? It's possible they're spending too much time perfecting the details when they could be finishing the work and moving on.


Ask them to send you a schedule every week detailing the work they'll get done on each day. Hold them accountable to this schedule, and check in for deliverables daily if need be. Sit down with this employee, and help them break their big goals down into more digestible tasks they have to accomplish.


Have them share these smaller goals with the rest of your team so they feel accountable to their teammates as well as to you for getting their work done.


 

The Recent Graduate


Recent GraduateThis is their first job. They're enthusiastic and sharp, but they have a lot to learn about the professional world and the industry. They will likely make a lot of mistakes, but they're open to feedback and ready to learn.

How to manage them:

Recent graduates crave feedback... so give them plenty of it. Meet with them regularly to discuss how they're feeling; set clear expectations for their performance; and over-communicate about everything. Offer opportunities for them to develop their skills, from in-house training to certification courses. Explain the “why” behind decisions and responsibilities. Be transparent: share your thought process behind decisions so they can learn.

Recent graduates have little to no professional experience... so push them to achieve more than they thought they could. As they grow at the company, they'll appreciate the investment.

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