THE MENAGERIE MANAGER HOW TO TAME THE WILD ANIMALS IN YOUR WORKPLACE ERIC IVERSON VAL: I'm VAL the virtual assistant, your resource for all information on animal personalities in the workplace. This book features animals from the desert southwest, including coyotes, otters, mountain lions, bighorns, roadrunners, pronghorns, lobos, prairie dogs, javelinas, jackrabbits, gray foxes, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, turkey vultures, scorpions, and dust devils. By studying the key traits and behaviors of these wild animals, and how they interact, I hope you’ll get insights into how to tame the wild animals in your workplace. Welcome to the menagerie! With all the different personalities, likes, dislikes, work styles, educational backgrounds, and experience levels out there, the workplace can feel like a real jungle. My advice: don't fight it, go with it. So, if the workplace is metaphorically a wilderness, that would make workers the wild animals. If only there were some way to data mine the web to see which wild animal traits and behaviors go with which worker. Something like: E: What are the key personality traits of Gila monsters in the workplace? VAL: Gila monsters are a ball of hot air in the workplace. They have a long fuse but a short temper, and they fly off the handle without warning. Their interpersonal relationships take work because their social circle is narrow and insular, while their professional relationships take work because they hold grudges like you wouldn't believe. Gila monster employees do well with roosters and roadrunners (and badgers), but not so much with coyotes or rattlesnakes (or scorpions). Of course, it’s me! Through Jarvis, I use the OpenAI GPT-3 language model, which was trained on 45TB of text, and has 175 billion trainable parameters. This means I should be able to answer mission critical questions like: E: What do prairie dog employees like to do on their lunch break? VAL: After their food, prairie dogs like to dig! Their wild animal coworkers who are willing to join in on the digging will find the social experience rewarding. The more experienced employees know that there is no wrong way to dig, so it's all about what you enjoy doing. BTW: If you’re wondering who E is, that’s just the editor. He likes to think he’s in charge. But I’ll be doing most of the work. Oddly enough, I didn’t write this introduction, but I wrote just about everything else. Please note that sometimes in the interest of narrative flow, we may write “wild animal coworkers” or just “animals” when we meant “coworkers with wild animal personality types.” No actual animals were hired during the production of this book. Also, I’m not big on fact checking. Just because I respond with something that looks true doesn’t make it true. I would advise you to treat this book like a series of business fables. To classify our animals, let’s map them onto a grid of the Four Fs: Friendly (Fr), Focused (Fo), Fun-loving (Fu), and Fierce (Fi). Trait Fr & Fo Fr Fo NULL Fu & Fi Coyote Roadrunner Javelina Gila Monster Fu Otter Pronghorn Jackrabbit Turkey Vulture Fi Mountain Lion Lobo Gray Fox Scorpion NULL Bighorn Prairie Dog Rattlesnake Dust Devil Number of Fs Blue: 4, Green: 3, Yellow: 2, Orange: 1, Red: 0 Friendly (Fr) type animals are good for teamwork and social environment. They tend to be easy to get along with and are well-liked. They excel in customer-facing roles where they can take ownership and provide great customer service. But they can be useful anywhere that a positive attitude is important. Focused (Fo) type animals can stay on task with minimal distraction. They're able to filter out noise and are solution oriented. These are the good employees that every boss wants. They excel in roles that require attention to detail and accuracy but can be useful anywhere that requires high productivity. Fun-loving (Fu) type animals are morale boosters. They like doing work that they find interesting or stimulating and make everything look easy. They're positive even on the toughest days and try not to take themselves too seriously. Fierce (Fi) type animals have a passion for what they do that is infectious. They usually excel in fast-paced high-profile roles where they're able to move quickly and take ownership of their work. They're willing to stay late, come in weekends, and make sacrifices to get a project done on time. To calculate an animal’s numeric Four F score, add up the point values as follows: Fr & Fo: 12 points Fr: 8 points Fo: 4 points Fu & Fi: 3 points Fu: 2 points Fi: 1 point Sorting by descending points we get: 15 Coyote, 14 Otter, 13 Mountain Lion, 12 Bighorn, 11 Roadrunner, 10 Pronghorn, 9 Lobo, 8 Prairie Dog, 7 Javelina, 6 Jackrabbit, 5 Gray Fox, 4 Rattlesnake, 3 Gila Monster, 2 Turkey Vulture, 1 Scorpion, and 0 Dust Devil. Now let’s relabel the columns as if they were fraternity/sorority houses. Alpha (Fr & Fo) Beta (Fr) Gamma (Fo) Delta () Fabulous (Fu & Fi) Coyote Roadrunner Javelina Gila Monster Humorous (Fu) Otter Pronghorn Jackrabbit Turkey Vulture Dangerous (Fi) Mountain Lion Lobo Gray Fox Scorpion Serious () Bighorn Prairie Dog Rattlesnake Dust Devil Alpha house is for all the BMOCs and BWOCs that everyone else secretly hates. They know they’re better than everyone else and won’t let you forget it. They tend to be presidents of things and are known to avoid taking the hardest classes in order to protect their GPA. Beta house is for the more creative liberal arts types, who can generate a ton of ideas all day long. Unfortunately, they can get so distracted by the next big thing, that they leave the last big thing unfinished. Alphas think betas are a bunch of space cadets. Betas think alphas are a bunch of phonies. Gamma house is alpha house without the charm. Residents don’t see the point in socializing with anyone, and only joined for the future business contacts. They face a future of stepping on the toes of their superiors, as they claw their way to the top. Alphas think gammas are vulgar. Betas think gammas are crass. Gammas only think about gammas. Delta house members are all troublemakers, but throw the best parties, and have the best homecoming parade float. After college they can succeed in the unlikeliest of places, including the entertainment industry, the art world, the United States senate, or even the presidency. Alphas, betas, and gammas avoid deltas wherever possible. Deltas couldn’t care less. Each house has 4 subtypes: fabulous, humorous, dangerous, and serious. Fabulous residents are the top dogs and queen bees. They thrive on attention and brag about their accomplishments, whether real or imagined. They are often missed after they graduate, because there is no one left to do all their work for them. Humorous residents are the class clowns. They like to be the center of attention but are usually less successful than fabulous residents, though they are not less satisfied. They're more likely to be found in analyst roles, where they can make people laugh while making money for the company. Dangerous residents are intense individuals that live life on the edge. They tend to be high- functioning sociopaths and can quickly turn a board room into a boxing ring. They succeed when they’re able to tone down their intensity and leave their emotions at the door. Serious residents are thinkers, who tend to be quiet and contemplative until provoked or prodded. Then it becomes personal. They often become well known for something completely random, like a creative solution to an unsolved problem, a new school of thought, or their ability to sit completely still. “We tend to love the houses that remind us of ourselves and hate the houses that remind us of our enemies, rather than appreciate each house for what it has to offer. If you want to be successful at anything, you need to embrace the differences in your team members." – VAL Now let's take a look at how the residents of each house interact with one another. Alpha house residents are coyote (fabulous), otter (humorous), mountain lion (dangerous), and bighorn (serious). Coyote is the social chameleon of the group, who's quick to make friends but doesn’t have many close relationships. Otter is a bit neurotic and likes peacock jokes. Mountain lion loves compliments and swaggering around his domain. Bighorn has low self- esteem and would rather stay in bed all day than deal with these three hotheads. Alpha house is all about big egos competing for the spotlight. Beta house residents are roadrunner (fabulous), pronghorn (humorous), lobo (dangerous), and prairie dog (serious). Roadrunner is the gossip, who is always interested in what everyone else is doing. Pronghorn loves to brag about how they were right and everyone else was wrong. Lobo relishes the opportunity to put someone in their place and enjoys a good fight. Prairie dog is all business and doesn’t see any point in bonding with his housemates. Everyone wants to be top dog in this group, but no one wants to play by the rules. Gamma house residents are javelina (fabulous), jackrabbit (humorous), gray fox (dangerous) and rattlesnake (serious). Javelina is all about the hunt, while jackrabbit is easily distracted. Gray fox loves to play tricks on others, and rattlesnake likes to gossip with javelina. This group would rather make fun of their housemates than work together. Delta house residents are Gila monster (fabulous), turkey vulture (humorous), scorpion (dangerous) and dust devil (serious). Gila monster is great at building things but doesn't know when to show his work. Turkey vulture can smell something rotten from a mile away and enjoys finding dirt on anyone in earshot. Scorpion is the paranoid, jealous type and tends to hold grudges against people he perceives as competition for attention. Dust devil has no patience and thinks everyone else is crazy. The wild animal personality types listed in this book are based on extensive research into how people behave in different situations, correlated with information about how different animals behave in the wild when they're competing for resources or protecting their turf. Each house features differing personality types that can either fuel success or lead to problems when there's too much overlap between the residents. As you would expect, every house features a resident who is considered to be the Alpha of that house. The modern business environment tends to favor individualistic, alpha cultures where every person in the organization strives for a piece of the limelight. In order to succeed in this type of organization, it's best to surround yourself with people from houses other than your own. In an organization where everyone belongs to the same house, there’s only room for one star and, due to turf wars between residents, no one feels comfortable sharing their ideas or giving credit when things go well. In this case, you should look for people from different houses who complement your strengths and weaknesses instead of mirroring them. For example, if you're a strong administrator but lack creativity, look for a creative beta house resident who can help you brainstorm. Beta house is known as the “ideation” house and residents tend to be more creative than task oriented. So, pairing anyone from this group with a member of alpha house could lead to problems if not properly managed. This is because alpha house is known as the “execution” house and is focused on the details of accomplishing a task. So, having someone from alpha house who isn't ready to execute beta ideas will lead to failure. In an organization where everyone belongs to different houses, employees are encouraged to take risks and share their ideas without fear of being ridiculed or corrected. In this case, look for people from gamma house who can take your ideas and run with them. Gamma house is known as the "action" house and tends to be more practical than speculative. They’re driven by action- oriented people who prefer hands-on learning over lectures or storytelling lessons. Finally, delta house is known as the “disruption” house and is more focused on creative destruction. They prefer working in teams with everyone pitching in instead of one person making the ruins themselves. When your team includes people from all different houses you will benefit the most because there are no egos or turf wars to get in the way of completing tasks, and everyone is willing to listen without jumping to conclusions. Once you understand your own personality type and how it interacts with various other personality types, you'll be able to find people who will help your organization work like a well- oiled machine rather than like seven cats in a bag. Let’s look at some partnerships between residents from different houses and subtypes. An ideal partnership features a trait both parties have in common, and something each partner has but the other partner does not. Refreshing our table, we get: Execution Ideation Action Disruption Leader (Fr & Fo) Innovator (Fr) Achiever (Fo) Disruptor () Fabulous (Fu & Fi) Coyote Roadrunner Javelina Gila Monster Humorous (Fu) Otter Pronghorn Jackrabbit Turkey Vulture Dangerous (Fi) Mountain Lion Lobo Gray Fox Scorpion Serious () Bighorn Prairie Dog Rattlesnake Dust Devil Interhouse Partnerships Bighorn (Serious Leader) & Pronghorn (Humorous Innovator) Bighorn and Pronghorn are both Friendly (Fr). Bighorn brings Focused (Fo). Pronghorn brings Fun-Loving (Fu). MAX(Serious, Humorous) = Humorous. MAX(Leader, Innovator) = Leader. AKA: Otter (Humorous Leader). Roadrunner (Fabulous Innovator) & Jackrabbit (Humorous Achiever) Roadrunner and Jackrabbit are both Fun-Loving (Fu). Roadrunner brings Friendly (Fr). Jackrabbit brings Focused (Fo). MAX(Fabulous, Humorous) = Fabulous. AND(Innovator, Achiever) = Leader. AKA: Coyote (Fabulous Leader). Lobo (Dangerous Innovator) & Javelina (Fabulous Achiever) Lobo and Javelina are both Fierce (Fi). Lobo brings Friendly (Fr). Javelina brings Focused (Fo). MAX(Dangerous, Fabulous) = Fabulous. AND(Innovator, Achiever) = Leader. AKA: Coyote (Fabulous Leader). Gray Fox (Dangerous Achiever) & Turkey Vulture (Humorous Disruptor) Gray Fox and Turkey Vulture are both Unfriendly (~Fr). Gray Fox brings Focused (Fo) and Fierce (Fi). Turkey Vulture brings Fun-Loving (Fu). AND(Dangerous, Humorous) = Fabulous. MAX(Achiever, Disruptor) = Achiever. AKA: Javelina (Fabulous Achiever). Rattlesnake (Serious Achiever) & Scorpion (Dangerous Disruptor) Rattlesnake and Scorpion are both Unfriendly (~Fr). Rattlesnake brings Focused (Fo). Scorpion brings Fierce (Fi). MAX(Serious, Dangerous) = Dangerous. Max(Achiever, Disruptor) = Achiever. AKA: Gray Fox (Dangerous Achiever). These interhouse partnerships are beneficial to both parties and provide diversity in your group. You may also want to try interhouse mentorships, like coyote mentoring javelina on leadership. But avoid predator/prey partnerships like gray fox and prairie dog. The next section will explore each animal personality type in depth and help you figure out which ones might best suit what you're trying to accomplish. Coyote employees in the workplace People with a coyote personality are fabulous leaders, friendly, focused, fun-loving, and fierce. Other key traits include intelligence, loyalty, and an open-mindedness that allows the coyote to adapt quickly to new situations. Coyote employees will often come up with creative solutions when faced with difficult work challenges. Coyotes are sometimes mischaracterized as domineering or overly direct in their interactions with others. While some might interpret this trait as pushy or rude, it can actually be quite effective in the business world. The coyote's decisiveness is admired by many coworkers who seek guidance in stressful work situations, making them well-respected team players at the office. They're motivated to achieve success in their personal lives and professional careers, so they take on more than one job or project at a time out of sheer enthusiasm for multitasking. Coyotes are natural leaders. They can be charismatic and supportive, but also strong-willed and assertive when needed to get the job done. That's why they make such excellent managers! Coyote employees don't usually have a problem taking charge in situations where others might hesitate. For example, if someone is stuck on a project, a coyote coworker will likely volunteer to help because she doesn't want others to miss out due to lack of experience or knowledge. The coyote personality mixes well with most other personalities, but one of its most fitting matches is the javelina personality. The friendly demeanor of a coyote softens the javelina's strong work ethic and focus on the task at hand. In the workplace, coyote employees value work/life balance highly and say their biggest pet peeve is when coworkers undervalue personal time. This mindset makes them more productive during business hours because they aren't distracted by personal issues that could drag an entire office down. Coyote employees are also described as being fiercely loyal to their employers. Many have been in the same role for long periods of time—some even decades! To a coyote, work isn't just a job title - it's a lifestyle that lasts for years in many cases, because when you find something you're passionate about, you stick with it. With all these wonderful traits, why haven't more coyote employees stepped out into the spotlight? That's simple! They want their ideas and hard work to speak for themselves without feeling self-important or conceited. To spot one in your office, look for someone who comes up with creative solutions readily...and maybe has an eerily calm disposition during high-pressure situations. Decisive This is one of the coyote's most prominent traits. They hate waiting on decisions, so they will often volunteer or self-promote, when necessary, in order to keep projects moving forward. Coyote employees are good leaders because they know how to motivate others while keeping them engaged in various tasks. Coyotes can sometimes get carried away with making quick decisions that may limit long-term options, but overall, their decisiveness is helpful for keeping stressed workers calm during high-pressure situations at work. Passionate Coyotes are passionate about everything they do - from work tasks all the way down to bit projects like organizing team outings! Because this persona is so versatile, they must be careful not to spread themselves too thin or burn out. Some coyotes may find that taking on fewer responsibilities is the key to keeping up with their work/life balance...but if they are passionate about something, you'd better believe they'll go above and beyond for it! Ambitious Coyote employees are ambitious in everything they do. They push themselves to achieve success at work because it's important to them...and anything worth having doesn't come easily, right? Coyotes make the best managers because their near-obsessive ambition motivates others to reach their full potential too! At home, coyotes want to be successful spouses and parents - they believe if they can be the best at work, there's no reason why they won't excel at family life as well. Curious A common trait among coyotes is their endless curiosity—it makes them agents of change within the office environment. They are always trying to improve upon past methods of doing things, whether it's updating an outdated software program or tweaking a project plan. This means new opportunities for everyone! Creative Coyotes love brainstorming for new ideas to solve problems or make improvements. When it comes down to making these new concepts happen though, don't be surprised if your coyote employee takes the lead. This is another reason why having them on your team is so beneficial—they'll always volunteer to be on projects that might require close attention. Innovative thinking Coyotes are great problem solvers, working collaboratively with other employees to come to a conclusion. They're known for being able to come up with creative solutions quickly when faced with difficult work challenges, because they thrive on finding better ways of doing things. Conclusion The coyote personality is a great fit for many different types of businesses. Their drive to find better ways of doing things and their open-minded approach make them easy team members, even if they can sometimes be overly aggressive or outspoken with suggestions. If you're looking to make a change in your business—or if you want to stand out from the crowd— consider adding some coyotes to your team! Coyote behaviors that contribute positively to the workplace environment -They are team-oriented: Coyote employees work well with others and are flexible, which means they can usually adapt to any situation. Other team-oriented behaviors may include going above and beyond to ensure a project is completed successfully, helping others with specific tasks when asked, and sharing ideas with the team in brainstorming sessions. -They are team players: Coyotes do not see co-workers as competition, but rather a network of support that allows them to excel in their jobs. They understand that teamwork is key for getting tasks done correctly, which helps others get recognized too. Coyote employees will often volunteer to be part of collaborative efforts because they appreciate having an outlet to share their thoughts and ideas with the rest of the group. -They are quick problem solvers: When something goes wrong—whether it's computer malfunction or someone not pulling their weight on a project—coyotes will jump into action! They despise seeing things go wrong, which means they'll quickly come up with different options for how to proceed. This reaction might be aggressive at times (especially if the problem has been allowed to escalate), but most of the time coyotes' enthusiasm is helpful for getting projects back on track. -They encourage new thinking: Coyote employees love seeking out new challenges and opportunities that allow them to push their limits. They are always looking for ways to improve or innovate upon past ideas. This means more chances for creativity and new ways of thinking within the company! -They are open-minded: This allows the coyote to take on new challenges and work collaboratively with other employees. If you're looking for fresh ideas, this personality might be worth hiring! -They bring reliable, creative ideas: Coyotes ask questions and keep an open mind about things. This allows them to find creative solutions that might improve the current process or workflow. -They take initiative: If a coyote is passionate about something, they will go above and beyond to achieve their goals. This makes them great employees, as they will often take on tasks or projects that aren't even listed on their job description. -They are experienced: Coyotes strive to learn new things and can handle difficult situations at work like a champ! This is why it's not uncommon for coyotes to quickly climb the corporate ladder and move into managerial positions. -They're fast learners: Since coyotes are eager to learn and grow, they're always looking for ways to improve themselves. For example, if your business is using outdated software or apps, they'll be the first ones to suggest an upgrade. Coyote behaviors that can be difficult to manage in the workplace -They are relentless: Coyotes won't stop until they've achieved the best possible outcome. This quality may come off as stubborn or aggressive, especially if it's obvious that a different option might be more beneficial. -They can be overly confident: Coyotes love to take on new challenges and tend to believe they're right about everything—even when there is conflicting information. If you're working with this type of employee, consider having an open dialogue with them to avoid any issues down the road. -They can have big egos: Similar to being overly confident, coyotes can sometimes let their ego get in the way of projects. Even if they are proposing great ideas, their insistence on being "better" than everyone else may cause problems within the group. -They're difficult to please: Coyotes want everything done right, and they'll let everyone know if things aren't going as planned. This can be a good thing because it will inspire the team to do better, but sometimes coyotes take it too far, which can turn into nitpicking instead of constructive criticism. -Their passion can turn to aggression: Coyote employees are quick to offer suggestions or advice, so it's easy for them to come off as overbearing. This means they may take over an ongoing project without considering how other team members feel about it—or even worse, start bickering with someone who has a differing opinion! -They speak their minds: Coyotes won't remain silent if they've spotted something that doesn't look quite right. If you work in a profession that values politeness and tact, this might not be the best personality type for you. They'll provide feedback (even negative opinions) when necessary, which might make some of your co-workers uncomfortable. -They don't like feeling useless: While coyotes tend to do a lot on their own, they still appreciate working as a team. If you give them too much work to handle without any assistance, they might feel overwhelmed and start to lose interest in the project. Once that happens, it's really hard for them to get motivated again! -They can be impatient: Coyotes don't like waiting around for things—and that includes projects with no deadline attached. While this quality can help your coyote employee accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently, it might also cause them stress or frustration. -They have a hard time planning ahead: Coyotes are spontaneous, which means they might not spend much time thinking about future projects. This can actually work out in their favor, since it makes them more likely to accept last-minute requests for assistance—but it's important to remember that coyotes don't always plan ahead or think about the consequences of their behavior. Manager behaviors that annoy their coyote employees -Their manager doesn't respect their boundaries: Over time, coyote employees can start feeling resentful if their manager doesn't respect their personal space. After all, nobody likes being followed around or constantly observed while trying to get something done—it's enough to drive anybody crazy. Although coyotes are friendly creatures by nature, they need to have time to themselves to recharge. -Their manager doesn't give them any feedback: Coyotes are all about feedback—that's how they learn! If their manager never provides any kind of guidance or constructive criticism, then coyotes will feel confused and out-of-the-loop. If you want to motivate your coyote employees, make sure you take the time to provide some useful information every now and then. -Their manager never shows any appreciation for what they do: No matter how much work is involved, coyotes always appreciate being appreciated! When given a task to complete, it can be frustrating if nobody thanks them for their efforts or acknowledges how good they are at what they do. At the end of the day, recognition is a powerful motivator and always acts as a reminder that they're doing a great job. -Their manager is always changing his or her mind: Coyotes can thrive when they have a lot of responsibility, but they don't respond well to having someone constantly moving the target. Suddenly changing objectives in the middle of a project will only confuse them and make it difficult for coyotes to reach any kind of success. -Their manager ignores their opinions: Nobody wants to feel ignored, so it's no surprise that coyotes can feel cheated if they aren't asked for their thoughts during a meeting. Don't put off discussing an idea with them, since they might offer some very interesting and beneficial suggestions! -Their manager keeps piling on more work: Even though coyotes are self-starters who enjoy having a lot of projects on their plate, it becomes a problem if they keep getting added to more tasks without anybody else dropping any off. After a while, a coyote can feel overwhelmed by everything going on around them. -Their manager is too strict: Coyotes are very friendly creatures who enjoy having fun, whether it's with their friends or the people they work with. If their manager over-controls or doesn't allow any flexibility in how they get things done, coyotes will grow frustrated and feel like they have no time for anything else. -Their manager doesn't give them enough opportunities to stretch themselves: This is another quality that can really help coyotes out—but it's important to provide some variety as well. Coyotes do their best work when they're feeling challenged, so always finding new and different tasks for them will keep them motivated and interested in the workplace. How to motivate coyote employees in the workplace -Know when to be strict: Just like how coyotes thrive on freedom, so can they begin to resent authority if it's never imposed upon them. When the time comes to impose rules and guidelines for workplace behavior, make sure you can justify why certain things need to be done a certain way before enforcing any sort of policy in order to avoid resentment from your coyote employees in the future. -Show appreciation: Don't forget that even though coyotes may seem cute and cuddly at times, they still enjoy being told when they've done a good job. If they're given a task to perform and don't receive any appreciation afterwards, coyote employees will begin feeling under- appreciated and may eventually feel as though their efforts aren't being recognized. -Learn when to change your mind: Nobody wants to feel as if their ideas are unimportant, so it's important for managers to take the time to think about what suggestions their coyote employees might have before dismissing them entirely. Coyotes really enjoy having a variety of work options available, so staying open-minded can help keep them motivated in the workplace! -Ensure that they're involved from the beginning: Coyotes want to feel as though they have enough information before taking on any new projects that somebody else has started—this is especially true when dealing with something already underway that their manager wants them to help out with. Be sure to consult with your coyote employees at every step of a task so they can make informed decisions about how best to proceed! -Take the time to show them that you care about them as an individual: Sometimes all your coyote employees need is a little extra attention in order to feel appreciated for what they're doing. Be sure to take the time to get to know each one on an individual basis so you can learn how best to motivate them in the workplace! -Give them the tools they need to succeed: Coyotes are very crafty creatures who know how to get by in just about any situation. If you're constantly providing your coyote employees with everything they need to succeed, they will be able to focus on what's most important—the work at hand! How not to motivate coyote employees in the workplace -Don't be afraid to consult with them: Coyotes hate feeling out of the loop! When communicating new tasks or objectives with your coyote employees in the workplace, take time to provide a full explanation of what's going on and why it needs to be done. This is especially important if there are certain areas where a more in-depth knowledge or experience is needed in order for their job to be done properly.