Scary Workplace Characters – Not Just for Halloween

I just got home from stocking up for a big night of Trick-or-Treaters. I love seeing the different costumes and characters that show up and the creativity kids put into dressing up. And hey, sitting around eating chocolate all night isn’t bad either!

Dressing the part of a monster or a ghoul is great for one night of the year – especially if you are a kid – but what about the cast of characters who show up at work every day? Have any of the following characters brought their tricks to your team?

  •  The Ogre – spews bile all over the team’s best work, often without reason or rationale. The Ogre doesn’t care how much work has been put in already; he quickly spots holes in any plan and fills them with gross, green slime that can take forever to work through.
  • The Witch – sabotages the project with her shrill attitude, and if you are not careful she’ll sabotage a few careers too. The Witch is quick to point the finger at everyone else when something doesn’t go according to plan.
  • The Ghost – there is not a lot of substance to the Ghost. He may look good from a distance, but once you check under that sheet you realize his ideas are as ephemeral as his (former) body.
  • The Ballerina – flits in occasionally to add a few pieces of grace and beauty to the work, but can be hard to pin down for extended bits of heavy lifting.
  • The Hobo – wanders from task to task without getting much accomplished; just when you really need him he is already on the next train to somewhere else.
  • The Zombie – also called the “living dead” – because even when physically present his heart and mind are somewhere else.
  • The Clown – he’s not so funny when his antics distract or frustrate the team. There is a time to get down to work… and rarely is that a good time for the old “smell the flower” squirt water trick.
  • The Pirate – Arrgg!! The Pirate takes what (work) is yours and claims it as his own, and then dishes out harsh punishments when you stand up to him.

If you could pick anyone to replace someone on this team of motley characters, who would it be? The Super Hero, of course! If you are lucky enough to have one of these on your team then you know the Super Hero:

  • Inspires others with their dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes to make the project a success.
  • Uses their extensive skills, tools and bag of (good) tricks to keep the team engaged and the project on course
  • Can reverse the Earth’s orbit – providing some great opportunities for do-overs! (it would be nice, wouldn’t it…)

This Halloween, don’t forget to acknowledge the Super Heroes on your team, and be thoughtful about the character in you who comes out at work every day. Oh, and don’t forget to floss after eating all that chocolate too.

Heather Nelson is a partner with PeopleResults. You can reach her at or on Twitter at @HeatherGNelson1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at Current.