Making The Cut

By Scott and Jennifer Fontana

Making The Cut

Making the Cut: What costume are you wearing at work?

With Halloween right around the corner, most of us are planning costumes for the big night, or in our case, what costumes we are getting the kids this year. From witches and goblins, to Batman and Captain America, there are a wide variety of costumes and alter egos to play this Halloween. But have you considered that even though we may not be donning masks and caps year round, we all embody a different costume or “hat” in the workforce? The question is, what costumes are you and your team wearing, and are they the right ones? Below is a breakdown of the costumes we most often see, and what they mean for our business.

– The overachiever: This costume can be a tricky balance.  This individual works hard, comes in early, stays late, takes on additional projects and seems to always get the job done in a stylish manner.  However, taking on too much can spread this team member too thin and result in lower quality performance and results, and eventual burnout.  Your team members have limits of how much they can take on and still perform to their highest standards. It’s our job as a business owner and manager to identify the overachievers and keep a watchful eye that they’re not continuing to take on more responsibility, while sacrificing quality and their ability to be fully dedicated to taking care of clients.

- The clock puncher: This costume is your “starts at open, ends at close, with zero overtime or extra effort after work hours” kind of employee.  We all have lives outside of work and there are many times we have to leave right at call of business in order to get to an appointment, a kid’s school event or hot date, but remind your team members that just doing the bare minimum won’t advance their career.

- The team player: This type of costume is one of our favorites. This individual is always willing to lend a helping hand without having to be asked.  They come in on time, stay late, pick up extra projects and recite the mantra that no job is too big or too small for them.  Every company needs at least one person to wear this hat; while it’s easy for this costume to be worn by us, the owners of the business, create a culture of “team” and reward those who continually step up.

- The office gossip: Avoid this costume at all costs. In fact, if one of your staff members routinely wears this costume, it’s time to evaluate if they should remain part of your team. Office gossips are a cancer and will demotivate – even demoralize – your team. If you spot this costume being worn to your business, intervene immediately and resolve the situation.

- The motivator: We also like to term this costume as the office cheerleader.  This individual is always there to help keep the team in good spirits, cheer up co-workers when they’re having a bad day, and encourage them to keep up the good work.  Also, this individual’s work ethic, friendly demeanor, and overall kindness motivates co-workers to perform better, work smarter and be a little more friendly. This is often a costume that we should be wearing as owners and leaders of the business. In fact, according to Fortune magazine’s senior writer, Anne Fisher, a 10-year study of 200,000 managers and employees suggests that praising people for a job well done may lead to bigger profits. People will work harder and more enthusiastically for an appreciative boss.

- The quarterback: Every good team needs a quarterback; someone who steps up to help team members think through opportunities, offer alternative ideas and strategies, recognize hard work and wins, and also offer solutions when problems arise. No team is complete without one.

From the clothes we wear, to the way we act and speak, to being a team player and knowing when to lead, each of these traits and characteristics have a different costume.

These are just a few examples of the costumes we have seen in our business.  Be mindful of the costumes you are wearing, the costumes you are encouraging your employees to wear, but also the costumes you are potentially bringing on in a new employee.  And remember to balance your cast of characters accordingly.


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