Don’t know what to wear to work on Halloween? Here’s an idea: Dress like your workplace personality and dare your teammates to do the same.
Chances are that no one will show up as a vampire, even if they do drain the energy out of meetings. Or as the zombie you have to kick into action when there’s work to be done. And forget about those ghosts who disappear whenever deadlines approach.
Experts tend to group employee behaviors together to help people understand themselves and each other, and learn how to work better together — although there’s no universal label for the workers who will stretch themselves thin to keep a project from falling apart as the delivery date nears, like Elastigirl from “The Incredibles.”
So if you’re game to don a costume that represents your work style, here are some ideas to ponder. Plus, we’ve asked some experts how to interact with your co-workers’ personas, costumed or not.
Adventurous. Better at coming up with new ideas than actually executing them. Doesn’t have any problem veering off in new directions or taking risks. Annoying to those who are accomplishment-oriented.
Costume ideas: Dora the Explorer, Lara Croft, Han Solo, Captain Kirk
How to deal: In the work world, “these types need to realize that ideas need implementation,” says Kim Christfort, co-author of “Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships” (Wiley). Relationship expert April Masini suggests you try reeling in these co-workers by holding them accountable for the execution of a project that they’ve come up with. “Do this quickly after they suggest an idea,” she says. “The more you do this, the quicker you will modify their behavior.”
Cleans up everything, from messes in the company kitchen to messes on the group calendar or task lists. Extremely detail-oriented. Obsessed with following directions and rules. Furious when others don’t.
Costume ideas: Felix Unger from “The Odd Couple,” Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory,” Martha Stewart, Marge Simpson
How to deal: “These types need to be appreciated, so say thank you,” says Christfort. Masini warns that keeping things in order may not be in your co-worker’s job description, so showing gratitude may keep them from becoming bitter and resentful. And, if this is you, and you don’t like the role you’ve assumed, Masini suggests that you recognize what you are doing and then work on changing. “This means not behaving like a maid whose sole purpose is to clean up.”<
Results-oriented. Opinionated. Can be blunt. Little patience for small talk. Person can be perceived as insensitive, although they can be friendly when there’s no goal to reach.
Costume ideas: Don Draper from “Mad Men,” Olivia Pope from “Scandal,” Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada,” Voldemort from “Harry Potter”
How to deal: “These types often deliver on the goals, but they can run people over in the process,” says Mike Figliuolo, a managing partner of ThoughtLeaders LLC, a firm specializing in leadership development, and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership” (Wiley). Uncomfortable as it may be, he suggests that you provide the power driver with direct feedback by asking questions such as, “Did you notice you made her cry when you called her an idiot?” Christfort says that co-workers like these can be jerks, so you may want to keep your distance.