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Everyone has a part of them that needs some working on, especially when it comes to teamwork.  This is a nice little listening exercise with pertinent vocabulary which enables us to think a bit of how each one of us acts, and how we could act.

What are you like?

Suggested homework:

Remember, before listening, write down a few questions that you should look for in the video (who, what, where, why, when, how…?).  Only after watching and thinking about it should you watch the video with the transcription.

Have you ever done a course which involves looking at these matters?


When we are at work, we like to focus on our strengths. But some characteristics that seem like advantages can have unintended downsides.  Phycologists Robert and Joyce Hogan created an inventory of downsides.

Created an inventory of “dark side” traits. Like being imaginative, diligent or reserved that can be damaging when carried to extremes. Although most people display at least three of these eleven qualities 40% of people exhibit one or two traits so strongly that their careers may be at risk. Stressful situations like facing tight deadlines or working in groups can draw out these dark side traits. For example, colleagues Neha, Alejandro and Connie run into conflict while creating a presentation to show their boss. Neha doesn’t think any of her teammates’ suggestions will work and shoots down ideas before they have a chance to develop. Neha is skeptical, a dark side trait associated with cynicism and negativity. It’s one of the distancing traits that push other people away. Meanwhile, Alejandro frequently talks over his teammates dominating the conversation. He also responds dramatically to Neha’s objections, escalating the conflict.

Alejandro is colorful, he seeks attention and has a tendency to interrupt. This is one of the seductive traits. They’re intended to pull people in but can result in flying too close to the sun. During these interactions, Connie is silent and uncomfortable. She hates conflict but won’t get a manager involved in her team’s problems. Connie is dutiful, loyal and reluctant to disagree. Being dutiful is an ingratiating trait that prevents Connie from stepping into strong leadership.

How can this dysfunctional team resolve its disagreements? First, Connie speaks up to share her concerns with her team members. She recognizes that helping her team succeed is more important than avoiding confrontation. Next, Alejandro curbs his colorful side by allowing someone else to take centre stage. He cedes the primary presenter role to Connie. Finally, Neha makes an effort to give her teammates’ ideas a chance. She intentionally seeks out a part of the project that excites and interests her. The team is able to create a great presentation for their boss. Everyone wins.

Left unchecked, dark side traits can cause chaos in the workplace. Many of us are susceptible to overindulging these aspects of ourselves. But with a little self-awareness and thoughtful action we can temper our dark side traits.