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What’s your office personality?

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 12 Jan 2023

Always fall into the same career ruts? Kickstart your accountancy career with New Year’s resolutions from careers coaches at Henley Business School.

Identifying your office personality will help you forge career strategies for the year ahead. Henley Business School career coaches Dr Rebecca Jones and Dr Holly Andrews offer some insights.

The Office Dogsbody 

  • Do you end up doing the jobs no one else wants to do?
  • Does everybody rely on you to help with tasks, even when they’re not part of your job?
  • Do you worry that people will think badly of you if you say no to things?

If this sounds like you, you’re the Office Dogsbody.

You get the coffee in, organise the birthday collections and clean up other people’s mess. You care deeply about helping other people – because the whole is just a sum of its parts, right? But people can take advantage. Your own goals end up taking a back seat. As you struggle to manage everything, long hours, guilt, overwhelm and exhaustion can come knocking. 

Your New Year’s Resolutions from a career coach:

  1. Starting small, what’s one tiny step you can take today to put your vision and aspirations first?
  2. Caring about your team is not a bad thing. Harness that talent – find those tasks in your own job oriented towards others and prioritise them.
  3. Get an accountability buddy. Ask someone who cares about you to hold you accountable to prioritising your own goals and saying ‘no’.

The Career Climber 

  • Are you really ambitious – a hard worker with a clear goal?
  • Do you surround yourself with your work seniors, seeking out high-profile opportunities?
  • When you receive negative feedback do you frequently find yourself disagreeing with it?

If this is ringing bells, then you’re the Career Climber.

You ooze confidence and there’s no holding you back. Always top of the class, you’re a high achiever and thrive on the limelight. But this desire to excel can get in the way of appreciating what you’ve got. You struggle to celebrate your success, and are in danger of overworking. You may also find yourself dodging feedback that could actually help you improve.

Your New Year’s Resolutions from a career coach:

  1. Next time you receive negative feedback, pause and think: might this change actually help you improve, even if it’s not your usual way of working?
  2. Hit a major target? Pop the bubbly, ring your mum! Take time to celebrate your achievements before you move on to your next big challenge.
  3. What is important to you outside of work? Make a list and intentionally prioritise your personal goals so they’re not consumed by your work ambitions.

The Jobsworth 

  • Do you find comfort and satisfaction in the small print of your organisation’s policies and procedures?
  • Do you enjoy following clear rules and processes?
  • If you hear about something unorthodox, do you raise the issue immediately?

If this is striking a chord, then you’re the Jobsworth.

You know exactly how things should be done, and you’re detail oriented and conscientious. The company’s brand guidelines are your sacred text and you’d jump at the chance to update the website policy. You’re thorough and rarely make mistakes – but this can get in the way of innovation and change in your career. Others might also find you frustrating to work with.

Your New Year’s Resolutions from a career coach:

  1. Find someone who is good at considering the bigger picture. Chat with them regularly and you’ll soon find you’re beginning to think more strategically. 
  2. Break the rules – in one small area of your work, try something new rather than working by the book.
  3. Make the most of your knowledge and offer to share it with your colleagues. Can you get involved in the onboarding process, for example?

The Clockwatcher 

  • Do you avoid working late or coming in early at all costs?
  • Do you tend to tell people what they want to hear, even if you don’t really mean it?
  • Do you find work boring and tedious most of the time?

If this sounds like you then you’re the Clockwatcher.

You know your priorities – and work’s not one of them! You’re the last person to turn on your camera in an online meeting, and you wouldn’t be seen dead at the Christmas party. You manage the boundaries between work and home life expertly and don’t feel obliged to agree to extra work. But work relationships might be difficult or non-existent, with others misreading your resolve as a lack of commitment or enthusiasm for the job.

Your New Year’s Resolutions from a career coach:

  1. Explore what really excites you or makes you feel motivated in your personal life – do you enjoy picking up new hobbies and learning, for example? How might you be able to bring even a little of this to work?
  2. Put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes – their understanding of work-life balance may be different to yours. Are there small ways you can communicate your preferences to build relationships?
  3. You’re about to tell someone something they want to hear, simply to get the conversation over with. Pause for a second – what is holding you back from giving your honest opinion? How could your career and your team benefit from your authentic self?

The Rulebreaker 

  • Are you happy to break the rules in order to achieve your goals?
  • Do you avoid the boring bits of your job, and then talk your way out of the situation easily?
  • Does everyone come to you in a crisis because you are calm and in control?

If this sounds familiar, then you are the Rulebreaker.

You ask for forgiveness rather than permission and are the Jobsworth’s worst nightmare. Unpredictable and risky situations don’t faze you like they do others, which makes you a natural leader. In avoiding the dull and routine aspects of your job though, you may miss something essential. Some of your big risks can lead to big failures, and others may find your use of charm to get out of sticky situations infuriating.

Your New Year’s Resolutions from a career coach:

  1. Write a list of your goals. Can you achieve them without completing the routine aspects of your role? If not, get that nose to the grindstone!
  2. Be open with your colleagues. Has there been a time you’ve taken things too far? Is there a way you can include others in your decision making process so that they are better prepared and therefore more willing to go along for the ride?
  3. Get a buddy – someone more senior than you and not necessarily in your team. When a risky idea pops into your head, talk it through with them.

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