Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months (no offence), you’ve probably heard about Jurassic World which opens in theatres today. The film is the much-anticipated follow up to the insanely successful Jurassic Park trilogy which took the 90s by storm with its cutting edge special effects and exciting action (Gen Z’s… trust me, these effects were mind-blowing 20 years ago).
Here at Halogen we’ve gone a little dino-crazy counting down to the new film’s release. Because, when you think about it, dinosaurs were complex creatures with unique talents – and they can teach us a lot about today’s workplace dynamics.
Do you recognize yourself or your colleagues in any of these descriptions?
The dominant tyrannosaurus rex (tye-RAN-oh-SAWR-uhs-recks)
Characteristics: Tyrannosaurus Rexes were known as kings of the dinosaur world. Dominant, strong, and self-assured, they were pretty hard to miss. The t-rex in your office is definitely seen and heard – they let you know what they want and where they stand. This employee has a ‘thick skin’ and doesn’t particularly care if others like them or not.
What makes them a great employee: They’re agents of change. T-rex employees aren’t afraid to lead, take risks, or get a project moving. They are good at seeing the big picture and setting strategic goals.
Communications tips: While t-rexes are great at getting a project rolling, being out of the loop or feeling micromanaged can make them roar. Their authoritative personalities can sometimes steamroll quieter team members and they can come across as abrasive and bossy.
When working with a t-rex, give them independence and autonomy. These individuals like cutting straight to the chase, so keep your communication with them brief and to the point. Lay out clear rules and expectations and let them get to work problem solving. Want to really get their fire lit? Encourage a little healthy competition to kick their engagement at reaching a goal into high gear!
Fun fact: The t-rex’s arms were only about 3 feet long… in relation to their 20 foot height and 40 foot length!
The outgoing triceratops (trahy-SER-uh-tops)
Characteristics: The triceratops demands attention with its sturdy build and prominent skull. Its rather impressive frill and horns is a definite conversation starter, which is great because the triceratops in your office is a social butterfly!
What makes them a great employee: Triceratops travelled in herds. This employee is people-oriented, loves working in teams and has a high degree of emotional intelligence, able to tune in to other’s feelings. They have an easy going persona and like to keep things informal. They also like taking their time ‘grazing’ on information — collecting all the facts before acting. This means they can sometimes lose focus on deadlines.
Communications tips: This kind of employee thrives in team environment, so give them projects with a high degree of collaboration. You also need to set clear deadlines and hold them accountable to meeting them. As a social animal, this employee gets along with others, dislikes conflict and takes a loss of approval personally. So keep constructive feedback future-oriented to help them understand what do next time.
Fun fact: The triceratops was likely a herding animal, like cattle today.
The steady brontosaurus (bron-tuh-SAWR-uhs)
Characteristics: This four-legged, long-necked herbivore is considered the gentle giant of the dinosaur world. The office brontosaurus is the loyal and reliable employee. Quiet and steady, they tend to not be the center of attention. Instead, you’ll typically find them quietly working away in the background.
What makes them a great employee: The brontosaurus is the worker bee of the office. Tolerant and fair-minded, you can count on them to get the job done. This employee is a natural team player and a great listener who truly care about others. As a result brontosauruses are good at building long lasting work relationships.
Communications tips: The brontosaurus is a creature of habit and tends to function best in a steady, predictable environment. They don’t mind change, but prefer it not happen too rapidly. Lay out tasks in a logical and systematic way and introduce change slowly. These employees can sometimes be overlooked because of their introverted nature. Let them know their insight and their work is valued.
Interesting fact: The nostrils of the brontosaurus were located on top of its head.
The problem-solving pterodactyl (ter-uh-DAK-til)
Characteristics: Although not technically a dinosaur, the pterodactyl roamed the skies up until the time of the last dinosaurs. Boasting a fairly large brain and good eyesight, these creatures were likely among the cleverest in the prehistoric world. The pterodactyl employee is a problem solver who investigates all sides of an issue from a ‘bird’s eye view’ and analyzes the best course before swooping into action.
What makes them a great employee: A formidable hunter, these employees are accurate and precise. Because they see the big picture, they’re a great resource for seeing all sides of a situation and evaluating the opportunities it brings.
Communications tips: When working with a pterodactyl, be clear on what you need and when you expect it by. Like the brontosaurus they tend to be a bit introverted so encourage them to speak up in meetings. They won’t be the first to raise their hand – remember they take time to process and analyze – but they consider all viewpoints and are often the best at coming up with a solid course of action that satisfies all parties.
Fun fact: The pterodactyl had the longest wing-span of any bird known to man.
The fearsome indominus rex (in-duh-MIN-uhs-recks)
Characteristics: The indominus rex is a ‘new breed’ of dinosaur, more fearsome and ferocious than any species seen before. Although you may mistake it for a t-rex, the indominus is set apart by its distinctive head ornamentation and ultra-tough bony osteoderms.
What makes them not a good employee: Plain and simple, the indominus is the workplace bully. Loud, rude and abrasive this employee won’t hesitate to walk all over others. It can be extra tough to stand up to an indominus rex since, according to the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 56% of bullies are bosses.
Communications tips: The indominus rex tries to intimidate and threaten those around them into submission and silence. The only way to break their bullying behavior is to stand up to them. If you or a colleague is being verbally abused, speak up! A simple “That’s inappropriate”, or “Please don’t speak to me that way,” can go a long way. If the issue continues, document these exchanges and notify HR.
Fun fact: The indominus rex was genetically engineered at the Hammond Creation Lab for the Jurassic World amusement park.
Is your workplace like Jurassic World?
So, what did you think? Do you recognize any of your colleagues in this list of dinosaurs? While all in fun, this post is really a reminder to stop and think about the similarities and differences between ourselves and the people we collaborate with. Understanding each other’s strengths, weaknesses and communication styles allows us to work better as a team and achieve great results.
Your turn: What dinosaurs do you have prowling around your workplace?