Every office around the world has its share of good and bad. More than anything, when we sit down to discuss work with friends (from the workplace or outside) we tend to discuss people. It did sound like gossip when I re-read the previous line, but hey… it is what it is. There is nothing to be surprised about as it is only natural. At work, we interact with people and how a certain individual or groups of individuals function tends to directly affect us as well.
Another factor why we focus more on the person than the work role itself is that the work role remains constant. The effect it has on us varies with the individual who dons the role and so, we talk about the person.
So far in my experience I have come across 5 distinct types of morons at the workplace. Morons who make us exasperated, angry, frustrated and even question our very existence. I have devised my own strategy to deal with them so that I do not stress myself out over things that are not in my control.
Now who does not know this type of moron? This is the guy or girl who gives matter of fact answers like, “I know”, “Obviously”, I knew it before” etc to every single topic being discussed. They obviously do not know the difference between a penny and a pony but will go to lengths to state otherwise.
Extreme case: When the “Know-it-All” is a decision maker and the oft-repeated term becomes “Do it because I said so.”
Survival tactic: Do not interrupt them when they are in the “zone”. Let them claim they know stuff. The truth will be out later. If you would like to call their bluff, ask an innocent question on the topic pretending you do not know.
The “Insecure Schemer”
Not everyone is confident about his or her ability to hold on to the current job and constantly lives in the fear of not being able to find another one. These morons then go into extreme survival mode where they go all out to hide their inefficiency instead of admitting it and seeking help. They expend all their energy in ensuring that no other member of the team is highlighted in anyway and become extremely defensive in all situations.
Extreme case: When the “Insecure Schemer” gets close to the decision maker and begins to cloud the decision maker’s judgment and pull strings the way they want.
Survival tactic: STAY CLEAR!! This is a hopeless kind of moron who cannot be tackled through tact. Ensure the concerned people take notice of you in the right way.
The “Perennial Pessimist”
Have you ever had a person on your team or at work that is constantly negative? No solution is ever good enough, no project is ever exciting enough, and no team member is ever doing enough. These morons are depressing to be around and can quickly sap your enthusiasm and excitement.
Extreme case: When the “Perennial Pessimist” is in a position of influence. This is an extremely precarious situation especially when it involves new recruits.
Survival tactic: Listen and forget. Let them crib and complain to you but never indulge them by expressing your issues. Once they feel that the negativity is not rubbing off and they do not have a “complain buddy” they will distance themselves automatically.
The “Credit Stealer”
This would be the most common type of moron that everyone is aware of. The person who waits till all the work is done and then sweeps in towards the end putting in a few minor touches and then taking all the credit for the work. There are plenty out there right?
Extreme case: When the “Credit Stealer” is the cause for a loss of appraisal, bonus or in some cases, your job.
Survival tactic: Ensure that the delegator and other team members are aware of who is doing what and to keep all team members updated with regular status reports.
This is the most difficult of all morons to handle. Mainly because we would not be able to determine what their plan of action is or how they will be going about it. These morons are usually found in close company with main decision makers although not uncommon in other lower levels.
Extreme case: When the “Manipulator” also happens to be your boss.
Survival tactic: Keep your eyes and ears open. Also most importantly, do not jump to conclusions or react impulsively. Always take “off the record” info with a pinch of salt.