Think + Do » an exploration of nonprofit marketing and design

It Takes All Types

Unless you’re a hermit – and analytics indicate they’re not big fans of the blog – chances are you work with others to conceive and implement your organization’s marketing. Adapting to workplace dynamics and navigating a complex media environment makes it difficult to gain traction in a typically busy day.

As a public service, I present a field guide of the most common types of workers. This completely unscientific study is meant to increase understanding of your colleagues while pointing the way toward more productive behavior.

Short Order Cooks are really good at getting things done, and consequently valuable team members. They are prone to keeping their heads down, and can miss the big picture. Often so overloaded that they have little incentive, time, or authority to act on original ideas or insights. They are guided by short-term, tactical thinking.

Hobbyists are generally competent, but not outstanding in any particular area – a jack-of-all-trades. They like to help, but can be easily distracted. This lack of focus spurs them to seek activities that “sound like fun,” whether or not the task falls within their actual job description. Without strong direction, they can become busybodies.

Backseat Drivers have excellent hindsight vision. They seek more autonomy or the ability to take charge. Happiest when giving advice and opinions, even in areas where they have little experience. If disengaged, they can become toxic snipers or naysayers. May be a frustrated Short Order Cook.

Blowhards never let the facts get in the way of a strongly held belief. They have a tendency to speak loudly, act decisively, and step on others’ toes. Naturally gravitate to big picture thinking, with little patience for details. When in a leadership role, they tend to be more interested in exercising authority than unearthing innovation.

Connectors are adept at integrating information and team members to solve problems. They make natural collaborators, and are good at getting to the heart of the matter. If introverted, they may need encouragement to share their ideas and move to action. Connectors are key players in any work environment.

Whether it’s cobbling together a project team, attracting funding partners, or shaping disparate bits of information into a clear direction, the skill of “connecting the dots” is increasingly valuable and necessary. But can this trait be taught or facilitated? The future of your marketing efforts depends on it.

Every type of worker has something to contribute. The key to a happier and more productive workplace is establishing a culture that is open to ideas, and a structure that gives team members the responsibility and support necessary to perform.

Is your work environment plagued with impenetrable silos? Have you witnessed other types of workers in their native environment? Share your stories.

Related Content:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

What Not to Spend Time On

Top 10 Characteristics of Great Project Managers

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