The five people you will meet at work (featuring The Muppets)


You’ve probably seen this Muppets video going around that depicts the 5 people you’ll meet at work. Take a look if you haven’t seen it. If you’re like me, you probably chuckled because at some point in your career, you met all of them. You may even be working with them now!!!

I’ve listed below some helpful hints on how to effectively manage your interactions and communications with these colleagues.

Let’s face it! Every workplace has them. These employees always seem to have the latest and greatest information (personal and professional) on every employee. And, they are even more eager to share with anyone who will listen. However, while it’s easy (and sometimes entertaining) to get caught up in the latest banter that is going around, be warned, it’s not a good idea. In fact, it could be detrimental to YOUR reputation. If you actively listen and engage in office gossip, how can you be trusted with key or confidential information? Your peers, management and executive leadership will begin to view you as unprofessional and untrustworthy. So the next time you are approached with gossip, think about this collateral impact. Then politely excuse yourself so you can prepare for that very important meeting!

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to refer to someone in the workplace as a weirdo. However, it’s understood that there are individuals that make others feel uncomfortable for various reasons. If there is truly behavior that is directly impacting you, unnerving, or a cause for concern, bring the issue to the attention of your manager or human resources to address. You never know what someone may be trying to deal with on their own. Otherwise, you can privately address the individual to discuss the issue, and escalate if needed.

The grumps are never happy and will find a reason to complain about everything! I repeat, the grumps are never happy and will find a reason to complain about everything! Once you’ve had the experience of working with them, you will see that even positive and good news has a downside. Years of trying to offer positive and neutral perspectives to these individuals will lead to exhaustion. They do not want to change, feel how they feel, and want to believe what they believe. Therefore, what’s important for you is to not get caught up in the negativity. Certainly offer your perspective, but do not get invested in turning them around or changing their mind. Remember, the grumps are never happy and will find a reason to complain about everything.

What did he just say? You heard all of the words, even recognized some of them. But the way he put them together did not make logical sense to you. In most instances, it’s not a matter of intelligence. It could be a language/speech barrier, miscommunication, or a communication style that is completely different from your own and others. Regardless of the reason, this is a challenge. Especially if you need to work directly with the individual. It may require a direct approach on your part to seek understanding in these instances. If you have a relationship with the individual, perhaps you can pull them aside and provide feedback. They may not have realized the issue and would be appreciative of you bringing it to their attention. If you are their manager, you have a responsibility to contribute to their success. Meet with them and provide specific examples of the concerns.

Yes, there is one (maybe more) in every workplace and they are often difficult to ignore. They can be demanding, uncompromising, passive aggressive, and often want things to be their way regardless of circumstances. Learning to work with these individuals presents a challenge and requires a degree of emotional intelligence to be effective and to remain professional. Do what you can to hear them out. You may hear what the demands are, but try to understand why as well. Oftentimes that is the foundation for better understanding and collaboration. In the end, you want to be perceived as professional and collaborative regardless of how the issue reaches its conclusion.

Do you recognize any of your colleagues here?  If so, what are some of your helpful hints?

1 comment on “The five people you will meet at work (featuring The Muppets)”

  1. JoeT

    I recognize a lot of these. I find humor a great tool to get past many difficult situations. Not poking fun at anyone, but looking at things on the brighter side – particularly with Grumps. Great post!

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