What’s Your Work Personality?

Your future success depends on knowing what type you are, and how you should act.

By Barbara O'Dair
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    At work, how you act may be just as important as what you do.

    It might benefit you to find out what work personality type you are, counsels Shane Atchison, CEO of Possible, a marketing firm headquartered in New York City, who has classified seven roles common to many workplaces. Some play well with others; some don’t. Get ready for some surprises.

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    The optimist

    These people love working at the company and believe in its culture. If they uncover a problem, attests Atchison, they take initiative to find a solution. Think of the colleagues who organize a "lunch bunch" and enthusiastically support other team members' ideas. Is this you? Find great mentors to help you along. Stay open and never mind those who go negative.

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    The blocker

    Blockers always find a reason to say no. Management might like that they’re cautious and frugal, maintains Atchison, but they’re killjoys and don’t motivate their teams. Is this you? Be honest. Then take a risk. Something good might actually happen. (Or will it be the end of the world?)

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    The martyr

    Always the first to arrive and last to leave, martyrs work extra hard and believe that management will repay them for their sacrifice, says Atchison. Is this you? Go home. Better, take a vacation. Tell others to take a day off. You’re killing yourself and destroying what would otherwise make you an optimistic, creative problem solver.

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    The me-first

    They blame, they boast, they scheme. They have personal agendas. They don’t go too far, reassures Atchison, because they believe that short cuts matter more than actual work. Is this you? Realize your best path to success is acting like an optimist. Stop looking for the easy way up and make the company—and other people—look good.

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    The fence sitter

    Which way is the wind blowing today? If they sit near optimists, fence-sitters become problem solvers; if a kvetch is complaining, they lend an ear. Atchison contends it’s management’s job to make the most of their strengths. Is this you? Find the optimists, and plant roots. They’re going to help you the most in your career.

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    The realist

    Truth tellers who see things exactly as they are, realists make for great finance directors, says Atchison, but rarely are they good creatives. Is this you? You may know the truth, but remember that timing is everything.

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    The kvetch

    Bitter much? Every business has a group of these types who hang around and point out what the company is doing wrong, says Atchison. Is this you? You do well in areas like quality assurance, where fault-finding is part of the job. Otherwise, find others like you and have lunch together, preferably away from everyone else.

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