From the Ball Breaker to the Mother Hen: Psychologists profile the five types of office colleague – but which one are YOU?
- A psychologist has created five personality types for office workers
- They range from ambitious Ball Breakers to gossiping Mother Hens
- The types were compiled using psychological profiling
Nowhere else in your life are you forced to spend time with such a variety of people as you are when at work.
Yet a psychologist claims that each colleague can be put into one of five personality types, including the Ball Breaker, who would ‘sell their own mothers to get ahead’ and the Mother Hen who is the office gossip.
Each type was compiled using psychological profiling based on various research carried out by The Chemistry Group, but which one are you?
Alasdair Scott, occupational psychologist and business analysts at the Berkshire-based firm has created a guide that reveals the signs to look out for, how to stay in the good books of the different types, and highlighted some key psychological traits.
The first type is The Ball Breaker, according to Scott they ‘are the ones who will stop at nothing to become successful; they’ll sell their own mothers if it means they’ll get ahead.’
The best way to work well with Ball Breakers is to show them respect, but not to reveal any weakness, and above all Scott claims it’s important to make yourself ‘invaluable’ to them.
Psychologically speaking, these types are low on the agreeableness scale and very high on emotional stability. They’re low on empathy and mildly extraverted.
WHICH OFFICE PERSONALITY TYPE ARE YOU?
The Ball Breaker
How you can recognise them: ‘These guys are the ones who will stop at nothing to become successful; they’ll sell their own mothers if it means they’ll get ahead,’ said Scott.
How to work with them: ‘The softly, softly approach would seem like a good antidote to these guys, but don’t be fooled.
‘Try not to show too much weakness, be thorough and resolute and ready to hold your corner. Plan your approach to work, keep up your pace of work and make yourself invaluable through your own insight.
What not to do: Show them up in big meetings, win at their expense – they might catch you out later.
Personality make up: These guys are low on the agreeableness scale and very high on emotional stability. They’re low on empathy and mildly extraverted, meaning that they’re out for solo success and not really a team player
The Mother Hen
How you can recognise them: ‘Guy or girl, they’re the ones you can always rely on for a pick-me-up chat and a cup of tea.
‘They’ve been in the business for years and are probably in a support or admin role. They never socialise with you but subtly know all the gossip in the office.’
How to work with them: Always say hello to them in the morning and offer to make them a cup of tea. Invite them to the pub after work and insist they come.
What not to do: ‘Meddle with their systems or set way of doing things.
‘They’ve been in the company for years and won’t welcome a young whippersnapper changing things.’
Personality make up: They’re highly extraverted with average emotional stability.
‘This means they’re warm and approachable and will welcome any interaction. Scott said this type are low on openness, meaning that they like their set way of doing things.
How you can recognise them: ‘Always booking after-work drinks, will be thinking about the Christmas party in July and seem to know everyone around the office,’ explained Scott. ‘They appear to do minimal work but everyone still loves them.’
How to work with them: ‘Take five minutes to say hello in the morning, ask questions and interact with them. Keep them occupied with people-related tasks as was this won’t feel like work to them.’
What not to do: Ignore them or their social events. Try and avoid them if you’re busy or have a tight deadline, continued Scott, ‘otherwise you’ll be doing that report in the small hours after those drinks you’ve been forced into.’
Personality make up: They are high on extraversion, low on emotional stability and high on openness. Socialites are ‘the life and soul of the party’ and will want everyone to join in.
‘He added work is probably where their main social circle is. ‘They may be slightly needy and will seek constant social stimulation.’
The Guy with ‘Bernard’s Watch’
How you can recognise them: Bernard’s Watch was a British TV show in the late 90s and early 2000s in which a young boy could stop time using a magic pocket watch.
They’re the ones we’d all like to be. They’re in the office first and leave last and according to Scott this type have ‘already been to the gym and done the school run, but still look amazing.’ They’re able to be in a thousand different places at once.
How to work with them: ‘They’re quick, so you’ll need to be able to keep up’ said Scott. He said to plan work around their movements.
What not to do: Scott advised not to keep this type waiting or run over time. ‘They run an efficient ship and you’ll need to be just as organised to work with them.’
Personality make up: They are motivated self-starters and full of energy; nothing is too much for them and they’ll take anything on. They’re low on detail and will figure things out along the way.
How you can recognise them: ‘Think ‘Apple tech geeks’ and you know who these guys are,’ said Scott. ‘Their hair is messy; they probably have a beard and wear flared jeans and their desks have seemingly unrelated knick-knacks on them.’
How to work with them: Give them space to think, suggested Scott. ‘Provide them with coffee and constant stimulation to help their creative process.’
What not to do: People should avoid disrupting the creative process or ‘waving the rulebook in their faces.’
Personality make up: They are high on openness and low on conscientiousness. They’re unlikely to conform to conventional rules or working practices and thrive in teams that go against the grain.
On what seems like the opposite end of the scale are The Mother Hen types. These are colleagues who have been in the business for years, mainly in an admin or support role, and know all of the office gossip.
People can get on their good side by saying hello and making them tea, but shouldn’t ever ‘meddle with their systems’ or tell them how to do their job.
They’re ‘highly extraverted with average emotional stability’ but low on openness, meaning they like their set way of doing things.
Socialites are the life and soul of the party and will want everyone to join in, claims Scott. ‘Work is a social event for them and it’s probably where their main social circle is’
The Socialite will be the person that organises all the work events including the Christmas party. Scott’s profiling describes this type as being ‘high on extraversion, low on emotional stability and high on openness.’
Adding: ‘They are the life and soul of the party and will want everyone to join in. Work is a social event for them and it’s probably where their main social circle is.’ But this can make them needy.
If you’ve got a team member who is always early for work, goes for a run or the gym before work and still looks unfazed then they might beThe Guy with Bernard’s Watch’ type.
Bernard’s Watch was a British TV show in the late 90s and early 2000s in which a young boy could stop time using a magic pocket watch.
According to Scott: ‘Don’t keep this type waiting or run over time. They run an efficient ship and you’ll need to be just as organised to work with them. They’re quick, so you’ll need to be able to keep up.’
This does make them motivated, but low on detail and prefer to work things out along the way which can lead to mistakes.
More laid-back types fall under The Creative category. Creatives are described as ‘Apple tech geeks’ with messy hair. Men may also have beards and wear flared jeans.
Colleagues can spot them because they’re desk is covered in ‘unrelated knick-knacks’ and they always ‘need space to think.’
Scott claims these people don’t like sticking to the rules and will find ways to go against the grain.
This makes them high on openness and low on conscientiousness.