We’re all guilty of making judgements, especially in the workplace. Whilst getting to know your colleagues, it probably won’t be long before you’ve started pigeon-holing colleagues into a worker stereotype based on their email-sending and work-sharing habits - some of which may drive you up the wall!

Collaboration plays a key role in most team-based organisations with multiple people working together on the same set of documents and sharing feedback via email or even on paper. We’ve categorised what we see as the six most common types of office collaborators - from detail-oriented to luddite - in the hope that readers will identify some of the behaviour in themselves and their colleagues, and pause to think about how they can improve. It's great to have different personalities since the best teams are often made up of the most diverse thinkers, but this doesn't need to get in the way of an efficient working practice.

  1. The detail obsessive
If you’re a detail obsessive then you are likely to lose sight of the bigger picture in your obsession with accuracy at a micro-level. You notice things, things that you see as critical to success but colleagues with a different mindset might not put as much emphasis on.

Nitro recently conducted a survey with Incisive Media which found that almost seven in ten IT managers (67 percent) were familiar with working with a ‘detail obsessive’ type in their workplace. 61 percent of those surveyed thought such collaborators were more likely to hold junior positions - a sign of early-onset attentiveness.

Recommendations: Remind yourself to think of the big picture. Being detail focussed is a valuable asset to any team, but you should also ask yourself ‘what is the long term goal of this task’ to avoid slowing yourself and others down. Using document productivity tools will reduce the need for sending email attachments when collaborating with colleagues, offering a much quicker solution.

  1. The indecisive decision-maker
Most of all, you’re a people person. Rather than act singularly on your own, you feel more at ease by first hearing out the team and their opinions before making any firm decisions. You’re thoughtful of others’ time and effort, and therefore look for ways to lessen the load and make things more convenient for them. But although it’s important to be a good listener, be mindful of delaying the inevitable decision-making process.

Recommendations: You can really put yourself in other people’s shoes, and that’s an undervalued asset for any leadership position. However it’s equally important to develop your own confidence and internal compass: be aware of other people’s viewpoints, but the decision is yours to make.

  1. The information power-player
You’re constantly striving at work for personal success, and always looking to the future. You think before you speak, only contributing when you see it to be the most relevant to your own personal advancement. You recognise that information is critical to business success and want to make sure that you’re able to apply what you know to the areas where it is most critical. You view information as a currency, a currency that will help build your career and the future of the company you’re working at.

Recommendations: Work is about relationships as much as it is about information. Great relationships with your colleagues can be worth much more than having the right information at the right time. The nature of collaborating is that it’s team-based and the best way to get ahead is to show you can work well within your team - collaboration software tools allow you to share documents with colleagues with the ease and flexibility to guarantee success.

  1. The fountain of positivity
You likely begin each communication with ‘Looks great!’ or ‘Great work guys’, but might fail to add much value further to your much-appreciated enthusiasm. Positivity is always welcome in the workplace but make sure you’re giving valuable feedback to the rest of the team.

Recommendations: Remember, sometimes it’s ok to give a little criticism! Your colleagues would find it much more useful if you were more honest and gave them a mix of positive feedback and ways to improve specific areas of the document you’re working on.

  1. The red pen guru
You’re not afraid to say what you think whenever you are invited to comment on something, no matter how blunt the feedback may be. You’ve got your own ideas about how things should be done, and you will make sure they are heard. 66 percent of survey respondents considered these personality traits as more prevalent in senior roles.

Recommendations: It’s good to be honest and to demonstrate a keen eye for detail, just make sure your tone borders on the side of constructive rather than abrasive. Remember that you were less experienced once! Document productivity tools provide an easy and efficient way of offering feedback, so your colleagues won't feel so overwhelmed by your critiques.

  1. The luddite
Stuck in a time warp, you prefer doing things the old-fashioned way. You’re known as the most reluctant sharer in your team, stubborn and unprepared to use modern technology. As a result you may come across to colleagues as being time-wasting and inefficient. It’s good to stick to your guns but be willing to try new applications and services that will keep things moving and make everyone’s life easier including your own.

61 percent from the survey said they were aware of luddites in the workplace and 59 percent thought such workers were more likely to occupy senior posts.

Recommendations: As a senior member of staff, you are likely to be the person whose job it is to sign documents and move them on to the next stage. While it’s hard to change your collaboration practices if you’re used to a certain way of working, it’s worth investing the effort if your team requires it. Positive change from the top has the potential to transform the team as a whole.

By identifying where you and your team members lie on the collaboration personality scale, and in turn taking on a more modernised and streamlined collaborative approach, you can help your company become more efficient. More and more businesses are seeking to adopt readily available document productivity solutions, and reaping the instant rewards that such tools can offer: reducing costs, improving internal productivity and collaboration, and providing better overall value to customers.

Of course, such tools can only bring about cultural change when their use level starts to supplant older methods. This is why it’s crucial that businesses stay on top of collaboration techniques and help employees kick old, ingrained habits that could be presenting a bottleneck to productivity.

By John O’Keeffe, VP EMEA, Nitro