Daily Archives: October 12, 2012

The Workplace Barnyard – Which Animal are You?

Which workplace barn animal are you?You may feel like you work in an animal house, but in reality we all work differently. The workplace is like a barn in many ways. The different personalities you work with can mirror the habits and attitudes animals have in a farm. Here are some common animal personality types that relate to the workplace, which can help you better understand yourself and those around you.

The Challenger Rooster
Rosters are often associated with being “loud and proud” among barnyard animals. They’re the first to signal the new morning and quick to start as head of the farm – at least in their minds. You’ve probably worked with someone who loves a debate and is comfortable taking control. To them, iron sharpens iron but to you, they are pompous and arrogant for challenging your ideas.

It’s not that your loud co-workers are making things all about them, but they are trying to engage in a lively conversation to push everyone to think differently. Talking to them about your feelings and how you communicate differently can help ease tensions and form better working relationships. If you’re a workplace rooster, be careful not to get into rooster fights and watch out about how vocal you can get. It can be easy for you to overstep boundaries with co-workers and managers.

The Problem-Solving Pig
Pigs are widely considered by animal researchers to be the most intelligent domestic animals on the planet. Research has also shown pigs having the ability to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from their own. Pigs can be the problem solvers and are known to help other animals out of a pinch.

Problem solvers may be a treasure trove of knowledge and creativity, but they tend not to be the quickest to react. Most are very analytical and will have to internalize every aspect before making a decision. It’s quality over quantity to the problem solvers, so be patient with those who need time to think over your questions. Find out when they are least busy to give you their full attention.

The Supportive Sheep
Sheep follow the herd. When the group needs to flee from danger, there isn’t a leader. The herd moves as one. Each sheep works hard to make sure they do their part for the greater good. There are co-workers who define their success in terms of volume of accomplished tasks or sales. They work the hardest, put in the most hours, and tend to show the most results.

When sheep are in a herd, they typically don’t think for themselves. They just follow the sheep in front, even if it means to their slaughter. Supportive sheep co-workers generally lack the ability to drive big projects on their own. They wait for the order instead of taking initiative and innovate new ideas. If you work with a sheep, encourage them when they form an idea and support their efforts. If you are a sheep, ask your manager to give you small challenges that are outside of your comfort zone.

The Hospitality Horse
Horses are very social creatures with their own way of greeting other horses. Farmers have been using horses for thousands of years when interacting with other animals from herding to transporting; horses interact with almost every animal on the farm. They also take a lot of effort to tame, and usually have to be tied to something or else they run off.

Co-workers can be very chatty and lack the vision to stay on track. They can be more focused on building connections than doing work or making sales.  Relationships are an end unto themselves to a social colleague. When interacting with them, have an agenda ready. And the quicker those goals are met, the more time you can spend building relationships with co-workers or customers.

You don’t have to treat your co-workers like animals, but you can use their personalities to better understand where they are coming from to have better working relationships with them.