Boy bands dominated the music scene in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s. You couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing a sappy love song or an uptempo pop tune sung by a group of good-looking dudes with killer harmonizing skillz.
Yeah, skills with a z. That’s how serious they were.
Whether you loved or hated the boy band trend, you undoubtedly noticed the formula behind the members. Powerhouses like ‘N Sync (my personal favorite), The Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, New Kids on the Block, Take That, Five, LFO, or O-Town didn’t just form at random or spring from the tip of a magic wand. Make no mistake: Every successful boy band consisted of hand-picked members with diverse qualities, and this was done to appeal to a wide range of young girls’ tastes.
In other words, boy band members intentionally balanced each other out. They preached teamwork, combined their talents, and got the job done just like all effective groups of people tend to do. How can the boy band formula be applied to the workplace? Take note!
First and foremost, I’ll reveal the 5-part boy band formula.
You can group each of the aforementioned bands’ members into the following categories:
The bad boy (Example: AJ McLean of BSB) — It didn’t take much to qualify as a bad boy where pop bands were concerned; I’m pretty sure all it took was a handful of tattoos or piercings, a devil-may-care attitude, and maybe an offbeat hairstyle. But regardless, every group had a bad boy and they added a hint of complexity to the group.
The sensitive boy-next-door (Example: Lance Bass of ‘N Sync) — There was always a member who could make your heart melt by saying nothing at all, and that was part of his charm. He rarely said anything bad about anyone else, didn’t complain, and would win the award for “member I’d most like to hang out with.”
The leader and heartthrob (Examples: Justin Timberlake of ‘N Sync or Nick Carter of BSB) — We’re all familiar with heartthrobs. All they had to do was open their mouths or walk onstage and the crowd would go wild. With a combination of good looks, a gleaming smile, and a good head on the shoulders, these guys had everything it took to lead the rest of the group to success.
The joker (Example: Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync) — Every group had a fun-loving guy who cracked jokes and played an occasional prank on other members. That’s not to say he never got down to business, but rather that he liked to enjoy the lighter side of things.
The older brother type (Example: Kevin Richardson of BSB) — How could we forget about the slightly older band member who looked out for everyone else? The older brother type wasn’t the most popular guy in the group, but he was responsible and kind-hearted.
If we re-tool them a little bit, the above categories apply to the workplace pretty well:
The indifferent one — You’ll be able to identify this employee by their attitude toward work and extracurricular events. You’ll often hear them say things like, “I don’t get paid enough for that” or “That’s really not my job,” and they’re likely to be no-shows at after-work drinks or holiday events. They may even sass the boss.
How to deal with this personality type: Listen to their work concerns but don’t get wrapped up in the hype to the point that your own work suffers. Also, it’s best to distance yourself from them if extreme behavior results.
If this type sounds like you: Cut back on the trash talk, make an effort to improve in lacking areas, and don’t go overboard. A tinge of apathy can be charming, but a heaping helping of it makes you seem like an ungrateful, uncooperative jerk.
The down-to-earth one — The grounded employee follows orders with few complaints, exhibits a generally positive attitude, and gets along with almost everyone in the office. They can be introverts or extroverts, but they’re not always the best at standing up for themselves when it’s needed; at times, they’re overshadowed by more aggressive types.
How to deal with this personality type: Provide positive encouragement when it’s appropriate (they thrive on feedback). Also, collaborate on projects with them whenever possible. They frequently have innovative ideas but tend to sit on them until they’re flushed out into the open.
If this sounds like you: Don’t bury your ideas or suppress your creativity. Also be on the lookout for co-workers who may take advantage of your versatility and cooperation; it’s one thing to assist someone with a project and quite another to get sweet talked into doing all of the work.
The fearless leader — Leaders do what needs to be done, even if that means making a tough call for the greater good. They delegate tasks, guide others when needed, and often pick up extra tasks themselves.
How to deal with this personality type: Step out of a leader’s shadow and you’ll be able to voice your opinions a little clearer. Remember, sometimes leaders get the lion’s share of the credit just because they’re the most vocal.
If this sounds like you: Watch your attitude when you delegate. There’s a fine line between a leader and a tyrant, and you don’t want to cross that.
The joker and/or prankster – It’s not that jokers don’t care about being serious…it’s that they’re compelled to lighten the mood. They’re fluent in sarcasm and well-versed in antagonizing, but also generally good-natured instead of malicious. Like down-to-earth employees, jokers tend to get along with just about anyone.
How to deal with this personality type: If they start to get too off-track, then make like a leader and steer them back. Otherwise, you could have a goof-off problem on your hands.
If this sounds like you: Be careful with your jokes (offensive humor can lead to disciplinary action) and make sure you don’t make a joke of your job. You need a good balance of humor and seriousness unless you want a reputation as some kind of office jester.
The experienced and responsible one — Experienced employees are the ones who have been around the block a few times and know the ins and outs of the company. They train new employees and help leaders/managers implement new strategies.
How to deal with this personality type: It’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Treat these co-workers well and don’t undermine their authority unless you have a good reason.
If this sounds like you: Don’t be haughty about the years you’ve spent at a company — that’s an instant eye roller. Also, watch your tone when addressing (or training) new staff. Condescending tones aren’t highly favored in the workplace.
You’ll always work with people who are on different wavelengths. The trick is to adapt so you can effectively communicate and balance your personality types. Just like boy bands learned to work together, you can do the same in your work environment if you know how. It may sound crazy, but it ain’t no lie (bye, bye, bye).
Just for fun, here’s one of my favorite ‘N Sync videos. Enjoy!