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5 types of coworkers


Knowing how to spot these people – and learning how to work well with them – will help you build great working relationships that support your own professional success.

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. Colin Powell

  • The gossip. The office gossip may be a stereotype, but there’s usually one lurking in every workplace – eager to pass the latest juicy titbits and whispers on to the next colleague.To work with them, build a rapport by talking about the latest news and celebrity gossip, but avoid engaging in any negative talk about other staff, or the company in general. What you say can – and in all likelihood, will – come back to bite you, so steer those conversations away from office gossip, or gently tell them you’re not comfortable talking about your colleagues.
  • The noise-cancelling headphone wearer. Does your colleague insist on wearing their headphones for the duration of the workday?It can be tricky working with noise-cancelling headphone wearers when it may seem like they’re disengaging from their co-workers, but don’t take it to heart. It may be that listening to something else while working allows them to be most productive. If you need to ask them a question, a wave and a smile will get their attention. If you really don’t want to interrupt them while they’re in the zone, try flicking them a friendly email.
  • The team cheerleader. If your colleague’s energy level is through the roof before you’ve had your first coffee and they seem to thrive on praising the good work of others – congratulations – you’re working with a team cheerleader.To create a great working relationship with a team cheerleader, embrace their positivity and make an effort to recognise and sing their praises once in a while in return.
  • The negative Nancy. The polar opposite of a team cheerleader, a negative Nancy – or Nigel – is generally the person in the workplace who rebuts the ideas of others, is reluctant to try new things, and gravitates towards explaining why something won’t work, rather than why it could.While it can be easy to write a negative Nancy off as being a bit of a downer, understand that they’re probably not trying to take the wind out of their co-workers’ sails. They likely think of themselves as being pragmatic and realistic, so consider their opinions as much as anyone else’s. To rally them, suggest you give that new thing a try to see how it goes – if it doesn’t work out they can always say they told you so.
  • The overachiever. You can spot an overachiever a mile away. They’re the busy bee that has a stack of projects on their desk, is always rushing off to the next meeting, insists on arriving early and staying late, and always puts their hand up to volunteer for new work.While their go-getter attitude can seem exhausting to the uninitiated, these ambitious colleagues thrive on success. Whether they’re gunning for a promotion or get a true sense of satisfaction from being as productive as possible, look to them for guidance on managing your workload and bringing your A-game.

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