Beware the Bad Apple: 3 Types to Watch for on a Team | TechWell

Beware the Bad Apple: 3 Types to Watch for on a Team

In a perfect world, all team members would work in harmony, with effective communication, respect, support, and healthy debates that can be fostered through diverse personality types.

This isn’t a perfect world.

Sometimes all it takes is one person with a negative personality trait to ruin just about every aspect of working on a project—anything from putting a damper on morale to preventing the team from meeting its deadlines.

We all know some obvious personality types that can be less than ideal to work with. However, there are other personality traits you may want to beware of as well. Although these characteristics may seem perfectly harmless on the surface, in excess they can be just as dangerous to a project.

The Optimist

Being optimistic is generally a favorable characteristic. However, at work, seeing the world through rose-colored glasses isn’t always a good thing. In fact, being overly positive can be downright negative.

Employees with an excessively positive attitude often have a “What can go wrong?” mentality, unaware of the need for a Plan B. This can result in disaster. When working on a project, it’s imperative to take a realistic assessment of everything that could potentially go wrong. Someone with an overly positive attitude can thwart the team’s efforts at preparation.

The Minimalist

Minimalists are people of few words. Although this may not seem like a problem—nobody wants to work with a motormouth—a minimalist is not just your typical quiet type.

Minimalists communicate with the least information possible, sometimes only out of obligation, revealing just enough to get the questioner out of the way. They provide as few details and as little elaboration as they can get away with: In short, their answers are short. A minimalist also tends to be very literal, only answering the question asked; any additional relevant facts will need to be painstakingly pulled out, one at a time.

This forces you to spend time solving unnecessary puzzles, asking a series of follow-up questions, or doing extra work trying to figure out the answers on your own. Working with a minimalist on your team can be more than just frustrating; it can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and wasted time.

The Excuse Generator

“I didn’t have enough time.” “The client didn’t get back to me.” “My kid had a soccer game.” You know this type.

Having an excuse generator on your team at first may not seem like much more than an annoyance. However, when excuse generators fail to meet their responsibilities, it can be tricky to navigate how to deal with them. If you ask the person what went wrong, you feel as if you are just inviting more excuses. But if the problem was genuinely due to a work-related issue, by not asking what went wrong you could be missing out on fixing the problem.   

If you have one of these types on your team, you can find creative ways to work around the problem, such as teaching the person through constructive criticism or mentoring—or simply increasing your own patience. Just be sure not to let these bad apples spoil the rest of your team.

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