On the job, you’ll meet a lot of talented colleagues. With some, you’ll form close, friendly bonds. With others, you’ll have mutually beneficial professional relationships. Some will make your day at the office a bit brighter, and others will help you out of a jam when you’re going through a tough stretch at work.
Here are 10 different stereotypes of people you will or should try to meet on the job and the relationships you can build to effectively engage with every type of person.
1. The connector
The connector is the gal or guy who knows everyone, can get people in a meeting, and knows who the decision-makers are at any company. They’re often the ones to get the ball rolling on things using that networking knowledge, helping you set up a phone call with an executive, getting you into a conference or networking event, and connecting you with the right people -- even within the same company. Lean on them when you need to and understand that you are also part of that network that makes them so valuable, so be open to connecting with people they want to refer to you.
2. The support beam
The support beam is the one person you’ll always look to when there’s a fire to put out. When something goes wrong, they’re the one you think of immediately as the person with the right fix or available for a good brainstorm. They’re often behind the scenes, making sure that everything is running smoothly for the entire office. Don’t hesitate to go to them when everything is falling apart around you, but it’s crucial to appreciate the work they do for the team. They’re the equivalent of a workplace firefighter and, while it’s not exactly clear what their job title or role really is, you know you can count on them in a pinch. A heartfelt thanks can ensure that they’ll always be happy to help out.
3. The salesperson
The salesperson, whether they’re actually a salesperson or not, is the one who can always be counted on to close a deal or make sure an internal meeting has a positive outcome. When you’re facing a tough client or really need to make headway with an initiative within your own team, bringing the salesperson in on the call can help you make a quick breakthrough. They’re well-liked, well-respected, and transform your ideas into a reality. Share in your triumphs with them and take them to an after-work dinner when they help you succeed in the office.
4. The mentor
This person is the one who takes you under their wing at some point in your time on the job. If you haven’t yet found a mentor, keep your eyes and ears open for that person who has the career that resembles the version you want to have in a few years. They tend to be people a bit older, wiser, and higher up the career ladder than you are, and usually see in you the potential to rise to their level and beyond. Even if this relationship is informal, it’s important to recognize and nurture it. Check in regularly with updates on your recent successes, ask for help when you need to get past a roadblock, and return the favor by providing your attention, feedback, and perspective when they’re stuck in a rut themselves.
5. The mentee
Inevitably, you’ll end up on the other side of the coin and find a young and inexperienced person who you respect. Act as their support structure, just as your mentor might do for you, and give them the advice and education they need to succeed on the job. Investing in another person’s success is a great way not just to make a friend, but to get a boon to your career in the form of a person who can vouch for your leadership. It may just wind up being that you helped someone make her or his first moves toward big success.
6. The actual boss
Your relationship with your boss - the person who gives you your work assignments, judges your performance, and ultimately holds you accountable - is the most important one you’ll need to build at work. Understand that they got their level of authority for good reasons and trust in their leadership. Your boss doesn’t have to be your friend, but your relationship should be based on mutual respect. Perform your duties to their expectations, take responsibility for your mistakes and fix them, and communicate with them
7. The buddy
The buddy is your best friend at work, who you’ll always eat lunch with, have conversations about something other than the job, and endure the highs and lows of work life together. At some point, they might even join your regular crowd of friends. They make going to work every day a bit less painless and a lot more fun, and after work happy hours help you recharge your battery so you can get back to work. But always be careful and professional in the office context - the way you both behave could reflect positively or negatively on each other.
8. The tech go-to
Your office will have one or a few individuals, whether they are IT support or just tech-savvy co-workers, who really know their way around computers. Even if you’re this person, there are likely others in the office who know more or know different things about technology than you do. From how to fix an iPhone that won’t turn on, to how to set up a screen sharing system for your next sales demo, and beyond, they’re your go-to for when your computer just isn’t cooperating. Don’t badger them for every little thing. Instead, recognize that they have their own important work to do. Google does wonders for fixing tech issues, so only go to them if you can’t easily find the answer to your problem yourself.
9. The pop culture wizard
The person who watches all the good TV shows and movies and goes to all the best restaurants. This person is great for tips and leads on the next fun thing for you to do, whether it's with co-workers or otherwise. They can tell you where to have your next big business dinner, where to take a nice, long coffee break, where to take your date on the weekend, and which great show you should binge watch next. Share your recent finds and favorites with them - they thrive off of finding the next big thing. And if you ever want to gush about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, you know exactly where to go.
10. The office jester
The office jester is the one person who makes everyone in the office happy. Whether they’re always prepared to crack the right jokes, know when to bring donuts to a long meeting, or always prepared to take someone out for a walk and a cup of coffee, they understand the mood and pulse of the office and act accordingly. They’re also the ones who set up the happy hours and spontaneous dinners after work, so get to know them to get on the invite list and encourage their team building and morale boosting activities.
Image courtesy of K2 Space.