12 Most Common Rap Star Personalities You Will Meet in the Workplace and How to Deal

12 Most Common Rap Star Personalities You Will Meet in the Workplace and How to Deal

Each of us has a little bit of bad seed buried in our psyche, a well-hidden neurosis or subtle twist that keeps the good and dutiful parts of our personalities in balance. If it weren’t for that tiny heart of darkness, after all, we’d all be in the race for the Polly Anna award. Now that wouldn’t be very interesting for a workplace of personalities, would it? You have my permission: let’s embrace the dark and hunorous side of people. It’s where the funny stuff lives. As we know, these people exist in both the workplace and in life.

Let’s take 50 or 200 or 10000 people, each with a barely-controlled quirk, and what do you have? The eclectic place we know as the office. And in the workplace, tiny behavioral quirks blossom into toxic, fabulous, exciting and interesting personalities. It’s all good. And it’s what makes life more interesting for all of us.

Skim this list of 12 personalities and you’re sure to recognize one or two (or if we are lucky even 12) with whom you work or live with. I will not strand you with a simple description – I will arm you with a suggestion or two to help manage personality quirks – in others and in yourself – to maintain relative harmony in the workplace. And to keep it fun and on-trend, let’s give each one a pseudo-rap name. That way, next time you look at one of your co-workers, friends, your boss, you’ll see more than a personality – you’ll hear the booming music too. That is what I define as a Talented Culture. Wink.

1. The Gossip, aka Snoop Diig

IM, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, G+ some can say were invented for gossips if used for this unfortunate purpose. Always on the prowl for bad behavior (in others), innuendo, rumors of salary differentials and other time-tested wedges to use to create fear, uncertainty and doubt, the gossip lives to notice, document and spread rumors. You can take a few approaches with a gossip: never say anything personal; listen but don’t do them the favor of spreading the current rumor, or feed them bogus information and sit back to watch the show. Gossips are a destructive force, but oh so much fun to watch in action – as long as it’s not you they’re gossiping about.

2. The Manipulator, aka The Notorious P.I.A.

Some people just aren’t happy unless they are manipulating others. Did you do something today you didn’t want to do because Ms. Manipulator pushed you into it with suggestions of dire consequences if you didn’t follow her guide? You’re not a chump, you’re just the victim du jour. You know which buttons were pushed – now deal with it and move those buttons where they’ll never compromise you again. Repeat after me: You are in control of your actions.

3. The Tattler, aka Sir Rats a Lot

You met this person in the first grade as the teacher’s pet, the one who would ‘tell’ on anyone, whether it was about a play-yard push or a half-eaten lunch. People who run to the boss with tales of others’ shortcomings need to feel important and empowered. They demonstrate their loyalty by ratting out others. Treat as you would The Gossip – don’t give them the ammunition they crave, unless, in a moment of perversity, you decide to set them up. But be careful – you know they’ll tell on you.

4. The Complainer, aka L’il Whine

Perhaps the most toxic person in the workplace, The Complainer is never happy and whines about everything to anyone who will listen. Either don’t listen – you’ll feel used – or listen and then wash your hands as a symbolic gesture you’re letting the poison go. And never complain to a complainer – you’re only keeping their fantasy alive. Is is worth it?

5. The Narcissist, aka De La Self

Convinced it really is all about them, The Narcissist will interrupt your weekend story to make it his or her own, only with glitter. Did you ride your bike 20 miles? They went 50, had a flat, fixed it with spit and Band-Aids and still got home faster than you. Did your child get an A? Theirs is in Honors English and got an A+, but really shines in Physics. And so on. The Narcissist is exhausting. Don’t even play the game; if you’re tempted, make stuff up to see how far they’ll go to. It’s amusing to watch the terminally insecure twitch, and a useful lesson in the virtues of humility.

6. The Control Freak, aka Ya Rule

If you work for this person you’re micro-managed. If you’re on a team you’ll feel inadequate or disorganized, or perhaps merely annoyed. Battle the Control Freak with lists, exhaustive detail and a matter-of-fact attitude. With this person, subversive tactics are tough to pull off, but try to deliver everything in a deadpan manner. At least you’ll be amused.

7. The Tuned Out, aka The Lost Boy

Every office has at least one person who’s completely checked out, doing the bare minimum to keep the paychecks coming. You can take a couple of approaches: talk to them to discover why they’re disengaged in an attempt to help them re-connect; or stay away and let them crater without taking you down as collateral damage. Odds are if a person has achieved this state, it’s the way they are. Nothing you can say or do will change them. Don’t let their bad attitude or terminal ennui drag you down.

8. The Martyr, aka DJ Drama-rama

Always the victim, the Martyr is convinced he or she is the target of the boss, or HR, or The Deity, or someone in management. The Martyr could also be the Complainer or the Gossip. Either way, this person loves a good down. Don’t satisfy their need for drama or suffering – if you can’t escape a conversation with them, use active listening techniques to reflect what they are saying back to them. Presto, it’s their problem, not yours.

9. The Bully, aka Treacherous Me

A close relative of the Control Freak, Manipulator and Gossip, the Bully achieves results by pressuring people to do his or her bidding or threatening to reveal the inadequacies of others. Bullies cannot thrive in the open. Neutralize the power of the Bully by making sure everyone knows what you’re doing and why.

10. The Smarty Pants, aka Inflawential

Like the Narcissist but with a better intellect, or perhaps just a better memory for facts. Smarty Pants is the one who always makes the most insightful comments in meetings and is most creative in brainstorm sessions. Their deadly secret: many Smarties have great ideas but absolutely no clue as to how to get things done. Partner with the Smarty to learn how to think more creatively. Be careful not to let the Smarty Pants cut off creativity in others, though.

11. The Dummy, aka Be Slow

This person needs to hear instructions 10 times to get something done correctly. They continually say, Excuse me? Their passwords are taped to the underside of their keyboards. They give their credit card number over the cell phone. You can’t help this person. If they’re on your team, do as much of their work as possible. Otherwise, avoid at all costs.

12 The Neurotic, aka 4 Eva Krazy

Eeyore lives in every organization. The contagion of negativity needn’t affect you or the workplace – just acknowledge this person struggles with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt and realize it’s not about you. Be kind, but don’t wallow in or share the negativity. Be like Christopher Robin – gently guide them to the path of positivity, and when they won’t venture on, keep moving forward yourself. They’ll follow your lead, eventually.

How do you deal with the quirks and neuroses of others? Please send us some tricks for maintaining a healthy workplace. Or even kewler – please suggest alternate rap names. I’m all earz. Word up to ya all. Thanks for tuning in.

Feature image courtesy of Cam Villay licensed via creative commons.

Meghan M. Biro


Meghan M. Biro is a globally recognized leader in talent strategy and a pioneer in building the business case for brand humanization. Founder of TalentCulture and a serial entrepreneur, Meghan creates successful ventures by navigating the complexities of career and workplace branding. In her practice as a social recruiter and strategist, Meghan has placed hundreds of individuals with clients ranging from Fortune 500s to the most innovative software start-up companies in the world, including Google, Microsoft and emerging companies in the social technology and media marketplace. Meghan is an accomplished consultant who has helped hundreds of individuals in all levels in the organization (V,C level executives, mid-career, mid-level managers, software architects and recent college graduates) and across generations (Gen Y to baby boomers), develop effective career strategies that propel them to achieve personal and professional success. Meghan is a speaker, practitioner, author, blogger and mentor who is passionate about the subjects of leadership, recruiting, workplace culture, social community, branding, and social media in HR. She is Founder and co-host of two Twitter Chats: "#TChat, The World of Work", a long-standing weekly chat and radio show and #HRTechChat, both communities dedicated to addressing the business needs of the rapidly evolving people-technology landscape. Meghan is an avid social community builder who is inspired by connecting the people and talent dots. Meghan is a regular columnist at Forbes and Glassdoor and her ideas are often quoted, featured on top publications such as CBS Moneywatch, Monster, Dice and various other HR, Social Media and Leadership hubs of your choice.

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