Game Players and How to Deal With Them on the Job, Part I – The Alligator

This is the first in a series of Game Players on the Job. In terms of time management, understanding the different personalities is highly beneficial at any level in the organization. We can work better with people if we understand their underlying modus operandi and therefore, reduce time wasting conflicts.

I’d thought I’d start with the one who is very dangerous to everyone’s well-being in the company as well as the company itself — The Alligator.

The Alligator loves to fire people – just loves it! Often companies will bring these people in when it is felt house clearing is warranted. Of course, Alligators don’t make good pets so if the company’s executives are smart, they also don’t put this person on the payroll because the executives are likely to get chopped eventually too.

As with the Alligator in the wild, this person’s skin is as thick and the Alligator often looks, talks and acts like the meanest guy on earth; even in an expensive suit, you can spot them a mile away. However, in sophisticated circles, Alligators can be subtle and diplomatic, yet, even so, the trail of blood left behind in other places of employment is a key indicator.

The real joy for this individual is to destroy – the competition, the boss, the subordinates. The Alligator’s appetite for blood is insatiable so the Alligator always on the lookout for a victim. You often find the Alligator in middle or upper management with plenty of opportunity to rattle cages. Because of their positions, they see firing unproductive people part of being in charge and see nothing wrong with stepping on toes to get where they want to get to. They likely grew up in an environment of shifting alliances and combative spirit – winning was everything!

You can likely picture someone just like this whom you’ve met or worked with – you can feel the cold blood running in their veins! The Alligator hates weakness or tenderness and will ridicule humanitarian policies or generosity and compassion. The Alligator is also likely to recommend harsh punishment for the slightest infraction; the Alligator only respects force. The Alligator gets along with subordinates, peers and superiors who are at least as tough as she/he is or unassuming highly productive individuals who, obviously, offer no threat.

Office politics are ripe ground for the Alligator – skulking about, gathering damaging information on others to pass on to their bosses and putting the boss in the Alligator position – creating a spectator sport watching the boss tearing flesh and taking responsibility for it too. If the boss makes the mistake of going on vacation and putting the Alligator in charge, the Alligator may eat the boss’s chair and desk! The Alligator is excellent at turning temporary opportunity into a coup d’etat! And a boss shouldn’t let the Alligator anywhere near top brass either – the boss will soon be out!

The best action is not to hire an Alligator as an employee ever – that’s a key component in your time management plan. Why? Because of the energy consumed in watching the Alligator’s every move and, if you are the boss, keeping the Alligator under control.

However, if you have one, keep the Alligator under absolute control and use toughness to deal with him/her. Ideally, get rid of the Alligator as soon as possible. Like any predator, the Alligator is good for clean ups but are highly destructive in a regular environment and perhaps even to your own career. It’s best to deal with personnel issues as they arise rather than arrive at a point where you need to hire an Alligator! Cull people as necessary through an appropriate process – this is a lot less stressful and more successful methodology. If you are the peer of the Alligator, be tough – push back but don’t engage — watch your back! And if you are unfortunate enough to have her/him as a boss, find another job as quick as you can or adopt the unassuming, highly productive persona.

Lorraine Arams –

I’ve worked in many types of industries including non-profit, mining, health, law, performing arts, import/export businesses, real estate, seniors, small business, self-development, associations, education and now online. I’ve worked with many types of personalities and have come to know it is critical to understand the characteristics of each type. Today, I do pe

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