What type of worker are you?

Do you cry at work? Or does crying on the workplace make you uncomfortable and impatient? It takes all kinds to make a workplace run smoothly. For the book “It’s Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace,” recently released in paperback, I developed the Workplace Emotion Evaluation Profile (or WEEP) and surveyed 1,000 men and women, from senior managers to entry-level laborers. It identifies four basic worker types, from Spouters, with their hearts on their sleeves, to introspective, quiet Believers. Read on for the descriptions excerpted from the book, then take the survey at the end to find out which worker type (or types) describes you best. 

1. The Spouter

Mel Evans/AP/File
Actor Steve Carell addresses the class of 2012 at Princeton University during Class Day ceremonies in Princeton, N.J. Michael Scott, the beloved, bumbling boss Carell portrayed in seven seasons of the TV series 'The Office,' was a classic Spouter type: a natural leader who fancied himself a creative thinker and wore his heart on his sleeve.

Spouters (21 percent of survey respondents) are charismatic and exciting, saying more than members of any other group that people “tend to follow what I do more than they follow others.” The typical Spouter considers him or herself a “creative person.” They are fun to be around, and their natural energy can enliven tough situations. The ways in which they express their feelings, wearing their emotions on their sleeves, undoubtedly cause them to be responsible for a seemingly disproportionate share of the emotional incidents in the workplace.

Whether or not someone is enjoying their company, Spouters can take up a lot of air in the room. These people tend to challenge themselves and – primarily – others, often blaming colleagues for whatever is going wrong. They tend to feel they have insufficient power even though they believe they see the big picture more clearly than others. Spouters believe that their success is mainly about luck, rather than performance. They talk more than they listen. They are considerably more anxious than any of the other groups. They tend to be heavier drinkers and smokers than other groups and would rather hit something for the sake of catharsis than reach compromise through conversation.

Interestingly, compared to people in the other three groups, Spouters are far more accommodating of tears in the workplace, and not just because they tend to provoke them. Spouters also cry at work themselves significantly more than any of the other three types. 

Keep in mind: Most of us are hybrid types. We may want to imagine that we are clearly one type or another, but it’s the rare individual who is one pure type. Most of us probably hope to be members of the optimistic Solvers or Believers categories, but remember that the attributes of an Accepter or a Spouter are also valuable assets in a productive work environment. And no one group reported being happier than another. 

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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