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What kind of team do you have? The 5 Types of Personnel

As promised, we are going to go over 5 types of personnel. In the previous podcast, we discussed how engagement has to do with productivity and having a happy team.

I want to dig deeper on this today and focus on the various types of personnel and how these either contribute to your success or put the brakes on your progress.

In my opinion, it is an important aspect of running your business and is not given enough emphasis.

Have you ever felt that you are sometimes pushing very hard to get things done, drive the ball down the field and yet, it barely moves?

What about the times you came up with an idea, mentioned it to a couple staff and a few days after you get a report that they did it with great success? Yes, we all wish this would happen more often!

Unfortunately, not all staff were created equal. But knowing who you are dealing with and be able to spot what type of personnel you have, specially during the probation period when you have a new hire can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of grief!

So here they are:

First, we have the LEADER!

This is someone who naturally takes charge. A leader will be involved in your company, have a strong purpose that aligns with your company's mission. They display initiative and tend to contain confusions, so they don’t hit your lines. You can depend on the leader not only to get things DONE but to get others to do so as well! (sigh) And we wish all of our personnel would be like that.

The thing to be aware of with a leader is that they can become a “double-edge sword” meaning that they have a lot of drive and are eager to do. You must be clear as to your expectations and directions otherwise they will find something to do based on what THEY think you need and if this is not the case, it may create some chaos.

As an executive, you want to have regular meetings with your leaders and keep them in the loop, be clear as to what you want from them and back them up!

The second type of personnel is the PERFORMER!

The performer is a dependable employee. They are effective at their job and perform well at it. A performer is a little different than a leader in that they are quite content to do what is asked and contribute to the team this way.

For them, being in a position of leadership is overwhelming and uncomfortable.

I have seen many performers being put in a leadership position and crash and burn.

Your performer is the stable, dependable person. He or she is a great team player that be counted upon to assist and put their shoulder to the wheel. We all need them.

If you would have a team composed strictly of Leaders and Performers, you have truly been BLESSED!

This is what we constantly strive to achieve in building our dream team.

Unfortunately, they are 3 other, not so positive, types of personnel.

The third type is the SPECTATOR.

The spectator is there for the ride. He or she will comment, observe and have lots of opinions but will accomplishes very little.

That is the person that is very quick to point how wrong things are or what needs to be fixed or what the company should be doing. Funny that this type of personnel never really acts. Ask them to bring up how this should be done or to take ownership with the implementation of their idea and you will hear crickets!

The reason is that the spectator has low ownership and finds it difficult to be responsible. They want YOU to do something about it. This way if it fails, it’s on you, not them!

Being a business owner or an executive requires you to delegate. With that type of person, you can’t really delegate anything. They stick it back to you. If you feel you are carrying the whole business on your shoulder, look around, you might have a couple spectators in your rank.

The fourth type is the person who is a source of drama and problems – the VICTIM. That type of personnel is very unreliable.

They make mistakes; miss work more than usual; get upset at other staff, your clients, you. Life is doing it to them.

When you have a person like that on your staff, they will disrupt the leaders and performers. You will feel you have to walk on eggshells around them because they might get upset. Your staff might feel sorry for them because how badly they are treated.

It is like they have a black cloud around them. This is affecting your staff, your clients, YOU!

Usually, their mistakes and upset distract the performers and the leaders in ways you are probably not aware of. One of them is that the other staff will end up having to redo what the VICTIM has done or at least check it for correctness. This gets old very fast for a good staff.

Such a person should not be with you. They are part of the reason why you feel you are pushing so hard with very little results. Let me be clear. It is them, not you!

Lastly, we have the TOXIC ELEMENT. That person is actively getting rid of good staff and driving away customers. The toxic element can be hidden from you. They wont directly engage you. They will often cause rumors, upset the VICTIMS even more and generally covertly or overtly take actions that will results in good staff leaving.

Here we have the rumor monger, the person that constantly disagrees with you and refuses to follow policy. This is the person who will steal from the company or work out dishonest deals with your clients and get your in trouble later.

That is also someone who you need to get ride of - NOW!

Part of your job as the business owner is to protect your staff from the negative elements. Getting rid of the VICTIM and TOXIC ELEMENT is actually an act of kindness for your staff and your clients.

I have seen many times, a staff or a client coming to the business owner and thanking him or her for firing such and such after it had been done. Then you hear the horror stories your staff had to put up with, you wondered why you didn’t act earlier.

I am going to stress a point here and you need to really get this.

You will know which type of personnel you have according to their ACTION and the RESULTS they are getting. Do not listen to rumors or opinions!

Here is a real life example: Let’s say we have a business owner named Clara.

She has two performers, a toxic element, a spectator, and victim. And with these fine people, she is trying her best to keep the business going. But… she feels there something wrong.

Clara is overworked because some of her staff are under performing and she ends up doing their job. Her staff are not firing on all cylinders and she is feeling it! With all the efforts she is putting in, she should be in a much better position. Does that sound familiar?

Here is what is happening:

The leader and the performers are working hard to get the show in the road. The spectator helps a little but is very distracting. The victim requires constant supervision due to the many mistakes she is doing and then complains that you are micromanaging her! As for the toxic element, I don’t think I need to draw you a picture for that one!

For the toxic element and the victim, this manifests by the staff saying they can’t or won’t do what you ask them; finding reasons why this can’t be done; being negative and finding something wrong with what you ask them to do; being involved with drama and rumors in the office; take no responsibility for situations happening in their area and generally being a victim.

The spectator won’t push or act unless you put pressure on them. They are too busy with having opinions and figuring things out.

This translates by you and the performers exerting efforts in a direction while the toxic element and victim are pushing against you. All the while, the spectator is busy… spectating!

The amount of resistance you have to getting things done is in direct proportion to the counter-efforts being exerted.

What happens when these counter-efforts are removed? You make positive progress. It doesn’t mean you do not have any situation to resolve. It means that things are getting DONE and you are making progress!

Once you have removed the toxic elements and victims as well as gotten the spectator to actually DO, you will have a team that is pushing WITH you to the achievement your business goals! It is also way easier to engage your staff when these negative influences are removed from your team.

I have put together a course that cover this and much more. It is called the Personnel Engagement Booster program. You can access it here: PERSONNEL ENGAGEMENT | rpmc

Next week, we will explore the SECOND Organizational pillar – Org Structure. This works hand in had with personnel.



Cell: 416-559-9063

Office: (519) 622-3055

46 Anglerock Dr, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada L1T 1L8 

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