A colorful palette of office personalities worked alongside Karen Alexander during the 11 years she spent in corporate America. Before starting the Auntie...
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A colorful palette of office personalities worked alongside Karen Alexander during the 11 years she spent in corporate America.
Before starting the Auntie Karen Foundation, a community arts foundation, Alexander did sales and marketing for a Fortune 100 company with a policy that “the customer is always right.”
However, a woman in the office would constantly explain to customers why they were always wrong and she was always right.
A male co-worker was the office’s resident voice of doom. The pessimistic fellow predicted the demise of other people’s relationships and even prophesied the downsizing of the company.
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Every office personality serves a purpose, Alexander said. “As bad as it is, she served as role model for what you shouldn’t do,” she said.
Businesses put a lot of emphasis on personality when considering prospective employees, said Travis Price, manager of Appleone Employment Services on O’Neil Court in Columbia.
“Personality, we think, is at least 60 percent of the placement,” Price said. “You have to get the right dynamic in a office for it to be successful. It only takes one person to ruin that.”
Here are a few office types and how to deal with them:
• The loudspeaker is that person whose every conversation can be heard from the other end of the room.
If earplugs are not an option, co-workers just have to learn to zone out the loud talker.
• The talker won’t stop talking so co-workers can get back to work.
That person can provide a good 10 to 15 minutes of break, Price said, but if it goes on and on, it becomes distracting and keeps people — including the talker — from working.
If the talker won’t take subtle hints, trapped co-workers should be direct, letting the talker know they need to get back to work.
• The gossip is always dishing the dirt on everybody in the office. Gossips do nothing except build bad blood and harm team unity, especially in smaller office settings, Price said.
“Gossiping doesn’t belong in the office,” Alexander said. “Most of us don’t want to hear somebody else’s personal drama.”
Price recommends trying not to get caught up in rumors.
• The loner is that person who does not interact much .
“As long as they’re productive and getting their work done,” Price said, “a quiet employee is the best employee — unless they don’t interact with the team when necessary.”