Employee Typology


Employee typology is an important aspect of the family business dynamic.

For most family businesses, the success of the business depends on work teams - the "mix" of employees, family members and non-family members alike.

In shaky economic times, when family businesses are thinking about staff reductions, typology should be considered as part of the equation when making staffing determinations.

A newly released report by T-Mobile identified eight employee typology groupings that are outlined in detail within the report:

The Mother Hen

Nurturing, warm, approachable

The Mother Hen of the team is the person everyone turns to for advice. A great listener, he/she will always lend an ear or shoulder to cry on in your hour of need. The Mother Hen is warm, kind, jolly and wise but can be strict with other members of the team when necessary.

The Joker

Sociable, carefree, witty

The Joker uses humor as his/her primary form of communication and always has time to have a chat and crack a joke with colleagues. This can play a vital role in lightening the mood and lifting the morale of other team members. The joker is widely liked and has a good social network.

The Dude

Unfazed, calming, relaxed

The Dude is laid back and relaxed - it would take a major crisis to stress him/her out. The ability to remain unflustered when things start going wrong can be a major calming influence on the rest of the team. The Dude’s relaxed attitude also means that he/she doesn’t transfer pressure onto colleagues, a trait most workmates would be grateful for.

The Cheerleader

Enthusiastic, optimistic, motivating

The Cheerleader is the enabler in the team, providing workmates with encouragement and motivation for the task ahead and always ready to hand out praise. He/she is eternally optimistic and leads by example with their "can-do" attitude. The Cheerleader’s motto is There are no problems, only opportunities.

The Realist

Down to earth, pragmatic, logical

The Realist is always able to see the truth through the spin and, in turn, always tells it like it is. He/she is able to keep the team in check and prevent it from running away with an idea without first thinking through the potential pitfalls or challenges that lie ahead. The Realist often has a sarcastic and dry sense of humour.

The Link

Sociable, flighty, connected

The Link is the member of the team who can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone he/she knows. They spend a lot of time cultivating as many relationships as possible and always know someone who knows someone who can help with a workmate’s dilemma. In contrast to the Geek, the Link works on the principle that it’s who you know, not what you know, that counts.

The Geek

Technically-minded, fastidious, quiet

You might assume that the Geek is big on technology, but while this might be true, it’s not what classifies this typology. Primarily he/she will have exceptional attention to detail - a bit of a perfectionist. The Geek will be conscientious, like to retain control and have a tendency to worry about the little things. He/she has a valuable role to play in the team by seeing a project through to completion and ensuring all the loose ends are tied up.

The Innovator

Creative, idealistic, resourceful

The Innovator is in a lot of ways, the antithesis of the Geek - imaginative and quirky, he/she is all about the big picture and loves dreaming up ideas for the team to get stuck in to. The Innovator doesn’t have time to get caught up in the nitty-gritty and prefers to leave someone else to worry about the practicalities of making an idea work.


The T-Mobile report on employee typology suggests that a shaky economy may by the reason why a quarter (26 per cent) are embracing the Cheerleader with his/her optimistic, can-do attitude, as the most motivating role within the workplace.

Almost a third of those questioned (32 per cent) self-identified as a Realist.

The Joker topped the list as the most de-motivating colleague, with 15 per cent of the vote.

These caricatures are fun ways to think about ourselves and our fellow employees - but it is important to understand that employee typology can inpact how well work teams work together.

If you are interested in more details, the complete T-Mobile report on employee typology is available to download: http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/services/about-t-mobile/media-centre/media-releases

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