There are a lot of stereotypes about people who work in government. Meet real government employees though and you quickly realize that most of the negative stereotypes are unfair.
No matter where in government you work, and whether it’s at the local, regional, or national level, chances are that you’ve got coworkers that fit one of these common personality types.
The empathetic government worker has both their heart and head in the right place. They’re working in government because, first and foremost, they want to help people. They are most motivated by improving people’s lives, even if they don’t share the same values, background, or politics as the people they’re helping.
The curious government employee is passionate about learning and adding to their skills. They are able to adapt to the ever-changing workplace and are often one step ahead. Rather than asking incessant questions, they are self-motivated to take the initiative to find answers to questions and stay on top of trends.
Patience is a virtue, especially when working in public service. Patient people are often great managers and can lead complex projects without losing their cool. No one’s patience is infinite, so don’t take advantage of their calm nature.
When people bring organizational skills to their work in government, they’re changing the now to improve the long term. They know how to set priorities, keep it simple, and stay focused. Organized people are mentally prepared for almost anything, from surprises to absolute chaos—resulting in a sense of calm that can have a positive effect on colleagues, even the disorganized ones.
Being insightful goes beyond smarts. Insightful people dig deeper than the information on the surface. They draw on seeming unrelated connections and scenarios in order to challenge their assumptions. Truly insightful people don’t just give advice, they take heed of the advice of others and are willing to consider unconventional alternatives.
Being diplomatic is all about recognizing that people have different backgrounds and experiences, which leads to a variety of perspectives. Diplomatic people who work in government are able to let their ego go and understand that it’s not all about them. They know how to not put people on the defensive and can deliver difficult or controversial information with tact.
Sometimes it’s not someone’s charming personality that makes them a good coworker. Some people have a knack for numbers and a precise approach to planning that can help teams and projects succeed. Their attention to detail means that they’re perfect for dealing with systems, processes, and budgets. Analytical people are essential in government so that it runs effectively and efficiently.
Is there a personality type you’ve noticed that’s shared by a lot your government colleagues? Share it in the comments.
Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and trainer. Find her on Twitter at @girardinl.
I’m not convinced the author has ever worked in government. She left confused, lazy, overpaid, underpaid, overworked, underworked, ancient, wasteful, and uncertain off the list.
You forgot ugly, lazy, and disrespectful! Now go fix me a turkey pot pie.
John Bender, you complete me.
Add “Negative Ned” for Jeff. 🙂