Skip to main content

The 5 Personality Types You Don't Want on Your Team

The 5 Personality Types You Don't Want on Your Team

Let’s face it: Many of us spend more time at work than we do at home. And so do our employees.

That’s why it’s so important to create a positive work environment where our team not only works well, but also works well together. An encouraged, motivated, and happy team performs infinitely better than a distracted one.

According to a Gallup poll, only 30 percent of the workforce in the U.S. feels engaged, which is a costly problem for companies. Every year, disengaged employees cost American businesses $450-550 billion in lost productivity.

No one actively sets out to create a bad work environment, but we often do just that when we can’t pinpoint what a good one looks like. According to Harvard Business Review, a positive work environment is characterized by factors such as caring, support, inspiration, respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity. When those positive factors are consistently present, the environment leads to improved financial performance, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and profitability.

[Related: Nice Women Win: Why Being Nice is a Business Strength]

Even when we understand what it takes to build the right kind of workplace, there will always be certain personality types dragging that objective down and causing stress for the people around them. Avoiding stress is critical for a positive workforce; to keep the peace, you must construct a team of people who feed off each other’s positive energy.

Culture Starts at the Top

As the leader, creating a positive work environment begins with you. If you don’t clearly communicate high standards and serve as an example to your team, no one else will take your objectives seriously. Show that you care and that your team matters to you, be fair in your critiques, communicate constantly, and always work to improve yourself. A company is only as good as its team, and a team is only as good as its leader.

Once you’re on track to lead effectively, you can focus on hiring people who share your principles. When we hire new team members, we focus on cultural fit first. All the qualifications in the world won’t stop a bad teammate from creating a hostile work environment, and no matter how skilled that one person might be, it’s always better to have a great team.

The 5 People You Shouldn’t Hire

Great teams are a blend of different personalities, but that doesn’t mean every personality has a place. Avoid these five types to keep your team happy and productive:

1. The Downer: Negativity is contagious. If someone is complaining all the time and coming up with 10 problems for every solution, that’s a good sign that this person is a bad fit. According to a study conducted by Fierce, Inc., 78 percent of employees say constantly negative attitudes have an “extremely debilitating” effect on morale. Nothing — not even laziness or gossiping — is the hallmark of a toxic employee more than negativity.

2. The Control Freak: Ambition and organizational skills are great, but someone who wants to impose his or her ideas of those concepts on teammates is not. Control freaks try to change the people around them to create the office environment they want, but that environment is rarely the best for everyone. These employees act out of self-interest disguised as constructive criticism, so be vigilant about noticing controlling behaviors and nipping them in the bud before resentment settles in among your team members.

3. The Impatient One: Someone who’s constantly anxious and in a hurry usually finishes things quickly rather than completely. A person like this can rub off on others and heighten their stress levels, creating a team that’s quick to anger and less productive. When individuals are nervous about their own results, they forget how to work as a unit.

4. The Critic: Critics are always on the lookout for flaws in other people and flaws in the system. In measured doses, this can be healthy; constructive feedback is useful when it’s delivered the right way. But this person does it the wrongway. His or her life revolves around poking holes in theories and being a know-it-all every hour of the day. Someone who always has something to nitpick will quickly take on the role of office bully, tearing down others until they no longer participate. Ultimately, critics will weaken the diverse strengths of your team.

5. The Screamer: If the critic is a subtle bully, the screamer is anything but. This person is abrasive and grating, talking over others and interrupting conversations with unrelated tangents or unwelcome advice. This abusive personality type often humiliates others by asking inappropriate questions or loudly pointing out things that would be better handled in a calmer, one-on-one situation. The screamer rarely knows he or she is a bully; when people inevitably begin to try to avoid him or her, office chemistry plummets quickly.

Great People Make Great Teams

To build a positive workplace, you need the right kind of team members. Seek out passionate employees who have contagious enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and explore. People who want to grow are more likely to accept new challenges with a good attitude, and when the whole office shares this mindset, production skyrockets.

A company’s well-being flows from a positive culture based on a shared positive attitude. As you look for employees with team spirit, you’ll notice that work gets done faster, relationships grow, and great morale can be found in every corner of your office.

Don’t let bad personality types drag everyone down; build a team of positive people to watch your company flourish.

[Read More: Perfecting Your Leadership Style to Create and Effective Team]


Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Ilgaz and her husband immigrated to the United States with two suitcases, their love for each other and a desire for entrepreneurship. They co-founded Confirm BioSciencesand TestCountry in San Diego, and Ilgaz serves as president of both. Confirm BioSciences offers service-oriented testing technologies for drugs of abuse and health.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

Community Discussion
Vanessa Correa, MS

Thank you, Zeynep for this straightforward and concise rundown. Very good information for everyone to keep in mind. Whether or not we are the final decision-makers on hiring, it's a group effort to keep the team positive and productive.

November 12, 2019