The Big 3 Personalities at Work

And why they're great news to HR


Corporate Therapy is YoBusiness
The Big Personalities at Work

Every HR person on the planet has experienced the weight of the big personalities at work. And the paradox is - these guys are usually among the most valuable employees in the company. So, what are the types of big personalities at work and how to leverage them?


1. The Know-it-All


The psychology. You can spot these guys at work by one easy criterion: they don’t take much time before they speak. They seem to have a ready-made answer even for the most unusual work-related questions. The psychological pathway of thought of know-it-alls is self-defence due to lack of self trust. It is important to bear in mind that know-it-alls are never sure of themselves, and more so if they speak in a very convincing way. Even when this type of employees rely on many years of experience and clear-cut data, they do not believe that they are right. So, the conviction is mostly aimed at themselves rather than their colleagues.

Why are they great? Since the reason behind being know-it-all is lack of self-trust, it is important not try to convince them other than they think, as this type of employees tend to take it rather personally. The good news is that know-it-alls can serve as a source of research before new ideas hit the market. Don’t know what the risks of the new project are? Give it to the know-it-all, and you will know what might go wrong. Why take the beating from the market if you can get it at a smaller cost from the inside? And this should make them happy, too.


2. The VVVIP


The psychology. These colleagues are the ones who put themselves in the center of attention, whatever the occasion. They are the ones who (try to) take over every meeting in a workplace. These guys think that they are in charge of every other colleague’s output at work. Employees see themselves as VIP’s because they truly think they are. Unlike know-it-alls, these types of employees sincerely believe that they are better than their colleagues. This does not mean that they do not do a good job. Oftentimes, they do a good job but are spoiling the workplace atmosphere.

Why are they great? There is very good news about the VVVIP’s at work - they can be given any task, and they will willingly take it on. Only thing to watch out for is that they do not start delegating those tasks to their colleagues. Since VVVIP’s believe that they are among the key people in the company, HR leaders can take advantage of that by adding responsibilities to their titles even without adding money to their salaries. However, to keep them from managing their colleagues, leaders need to make sure that the responsibilities they are given cannot be delegated.


3. The Good Ol’ Fellow


The psychology. Whatever stage the company is in, there will always be at least one type of the good ol’ fellow at work. This is usually someone who has worked in the company longest or think they know better. The important aspect of their psychology is that they truly want to help everyone in the company. However, this can lead to unwillingness to accept different opinions and the change itself. Why? Because they “been there, done that”.

Why are they great? The good ol’ fellow can be handy if you rely on their factual know-how. In fact, they are a great value to the company because they keep the record of what worked and what didn’t in the past. They usually know the (his)stories of clients, cases, and are able to name past mistakes with detail. It is therefore a good idea to keep this type of employees busy by giving them things-not people-related tasks. For example, they can be responsible for the track record in the CRM system. It is worthwhile saying that the good ol’ fellows are not the best bet when it comes to creative brainstorming, due to their inclination to spin in the vicious know-how circle.


So, in a big workplace you can usually find all the Big 3 personas at play - the know-it-all, the VVVIP, and the good ol’ fellow. Bad news is: you usually can’t just get rid of them. Good news is: all these workplace personalities, much like all people in general, possess good qualities, that can be leveraged to the corporate advantage. The good ol’ fellow keeps the corporate record, the VIP bravely takes on new tasks, and the know-it-all is the go-to sceptic to identify the weaknesses of all the new things at work.