Gretchen Rubin has recognised that there are four types of people at work, based on our tendencies to respond to expectations. It turns out there are two types of expectation:
- outer expectations, such as work deadlines or accepting requests from work colleagues, and
- inner expectations, such as learning Portuguese, writing more blogs or finding time to do more exercise or meditation
The first type are the Upholders. They meet both expectations. There aren’t many of this type. Think Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. Surely they don’t have a problem? Well, apparently they can be too rigid and can find it hard to let go when they should.
Then there are the Questioners. They’ll probably be ok at meeting their own expectations but find it hard to accept outer expectations. You will need to convince them why they need to do something, then they’ll do it. The problem is that they can overwhelm others with their questions. The way of dealing with their tendency is to give them deadlines or limited their resources or scope.
The Obligers meet the outer expectations but not the inner ones. Their motto is ‘You can count on me!’. What rocks of the world! They hate to let others down. The trouble with this tendency is that it’s not sustainable for their long-term welfare. Their supervisors will do well to recognise this type and provide accountability to help them meet their personal needs.
Finally there are the Rebels. They meet neither outer or inner expectations. Their motto is ‘You can’t make me!’. They resist taking orders from anybody. They are motivated by choice and freedom. They dread habits. These need subtle managing to avoid clashes. Carrots might work better than sticks. Try to find benefits for them if they were to comply.
It’s hard to change habits. But a good place to start is to recognise what type we are. Which one are you? And if you don’t fancy answering that question, maybe you’re a Rebel!