Management Styles & The Cast of Characters in the Workplace

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Most pharmacy work environments involve a team of pharmacy professionals working together.

Within the work setting, there are usually at least 2 pharmacists, who probably don’t overlap, and 3 or more technicians, who often overlap. Although, in a small business setting, there could be as few as one technician and one pharmacist. There’s usually a team, and the more team members you have, the more characters you have in what is likely to be a “you can’t make this stuff up” kind of story.

There’s always a “boss” and that boss usually has a boss. We all know there are good bosses and there are bad bosses. And everyone has an opinion about the way things should be done. Management styles can mix well with certain personalities and not so good with others, which makes managing the team challenging.

How many different management characters can you think of?

Some Personality Types in Management that Can Make or Break the Team:

Apathetic and Dull:

Apathetic and Dull, A&D, will ignore shenanigans and drama so much that a cat fight could breakout in the pharmacy and this boss will expect someone else to break it up. Working with A&D is a drag, it’s like working under grey clouds all day. While A&D may have a grip on managing logistics, they don’t care enough about the many aspects of managing people. This type of management is dry and straightforward, it lacks enthusiasm. This personality type in a manager can work if the staff is well trained and cares about good work ethic and quality service without having to be reminded. It mostly doesn’t work for large teams because there will inevitably be team members who need guidance, there will be issues that need addressed, and a team with an unmotivated leader can be a sinking ship.

Way Too Much:

Way Too Much, WTM, is the manager who likes their ideas more than anyone else does. WTM is super into their job, and their goals, their past and their future. WTM micromanages by default because they are always hopping in and out of the everyone’s personal space to “be helpful.” WTM pretends the workplace is a democracy but operates it as a bureaucracy. This can work for a team of passive employees who need a lot of direction, but WTM struggles with a big team and other alphas in the equation. Strong personality types don’t like to be micromanaged and usually feel like they don’t want or need the help. While WTM can sometimes be really helpful, team morale will spiral downward if WTM can’t back off and let team members do their jobs. If WTM can be humble and appreciative of team members, the team morale will survive the constant directives.

Cool Kid:

Cool Kid, CK, is the manager who really does care what everyone thinks of them. CK wants the team members to think they’re cool. CK is the manager who wants to be friends with the staff. CK cares about image, wants to be one of the popular kids, and loves to tell stories about “that time when…”  CK hopes to gain loyalty from the staff through being “chill” with them, and hoping that it inspires their willingness to work hard. The CK management style might work in some environments where there is a strong team implemented who don’t rely on the manager to run the pharmacy. The down side of CK is that it’s easy for a team member to go rogue, and it becomes hard to reel someone in, or to have to discipline someone that you are “friends” with. That kind of dynamic can work against CK like a Frankenstein, especially if drama and rumors start within the team.


Coach is one management style that can work well if done right. Coach encourages the team to get better, do a good job, and celebrate the wins. Coach doesn’t try to be friends with the staff, but cares tremendously about each team member. Coach sets the expectations and cheers the staff on, and Coach keeps score the whole time. Coach is not afraid to call out the slackers. Coach is generally fair and does best when knowing the details of the daily workflow to be able to jump in and have a training moment when needed. Coach energizes the team. There will always be team members who do need to step up their game at work, and those who are unwilling will not like Coach. On the flip side, Cranky Coach can be a drag. A Cranky Coach that operates the work environment like a boot camp has more of a chance to “break the team”  because when cheers become barks, the stress will chip away at morale.

The Perfectionist:

The name says it all. The Perfectionist, TP, wants everything done perfectly right all of the time, down to the label being straight and not wrinkled. Perfectly straight, and not even a little wrinkle or heaven forbid a little ink smear. TP will be critical, but tends to swing back and forth between super critical and passive aggressive. This is because, on the inside, TP does realize that they are over the top, this manager can’t help it, and it will come out one way or another. TP is a management style that can only work well if there is another really strong leader on the team who is willing to be TP’s personal assistant, and who is organized enough to be a buffer for the rest of the team. Otherwise TP tends to be a “break the team” management style, because people who are overworked and doing their best will resent the constant pickiness. Team morale will often be low in this environment.

The Guru:

The Guru, TG, is a rare management style and can only be pulled off by people who are just naturally wise old souls. This kind of manager provides peace and calm in an environment that can be fast paced and stressful. No matter what, TG never has outbursts, and often sound advice. TG is the kind of manager who can see the cat fight in the pharmacy from the first nuance of discontent in the environment, and TG will head it off with some parabol or metaphor that speaks to the issue. TG sees all and commands respect with unspoken acknowledgement. This management style mostly works, because like Coach, TG cares tremendously about the team members. The downside of TG is that if aloof or naive, the workflow can suffer from lack of attention to detail. If TG is very involved in the details of the daily work flow, even stressful days can run smooth.

All About Me:

This management style only works if the manager is exceptional at every aspect of the job. All About Me, AAM, is the manager who is narcissistic. It’s the manager who makes it known that flattery will get you everywhere. AAM needs attention, needs compliments, and needs to emphasize their position as manager. AAM likes the sound of their own voice, and has no sense of what humility is. AAM does not apologize, ever, and never admits to making a mistake. AAM may or may not micromanage, and may not really manage at all, but will talk about what a great boss they are. AAM is somewhat of a “break the team” management style because it is a drain on team members and leads to resentment and low morale. However, if AAM is very helpful in the daily workflow, and helps the team get all the work done, the team will likely accept AAM’s ego and work around it.

The Clown:

This is the manager who has a difficult time being taken seriously by team members. The Clown, TC, is the manager who is a rebel and a jokester. TC is a character, somewhat cynical and energized by madness. TC seems to be walking the fence between professional and insane. In some ways, TC wins the popularity award with the team, because everyone wants to be carefree and TC is letting it all hang out. If this manager is really good at all aspects of the job and at managing workflow, the clown show is less obnoxious and more relatable. As long as TC can remain professional when it comes to patient care, this management style, which isn’t a style but more of an archetype, can work. If TC is too distracted to do a good job this will definitely “break the team” because productivity and teamwork will suffer under the lack of guidance and structure.

The Good Parent:

The Good Parent, TGP, is the manager who really jumps into the role of mother or father to the team members. TGP is nurturing, sometimes too nice, sometimes too nosey. TGP wants the work day to feel like a family environment, which can work well for morale if the team members work well together. TGP is a management style that doesn’t guarantee success or failure. Most of us like to feel cared about, and many workplaces have a work mom or a work dad. This works when the manager also knows the details of the daily workflow, is involved in getting the work done, and leads by example. TGP’s style may fail if the focus is on the team’s feelings and personalities rather than the practice of pharmacy. Some TGP types have a hard time disciplining team members.

Just Plain Weird:

Just Plain Weird, JPW, is a manager who is probably more prevalent in fields like pharmacy, where nerds thrive and geeks are proud to be geeks. There are good managers, bad managers, fun managers, feared managers, and just plain weird managers. JPW is just that – unique, different, and stranger than most. JPW is not even remotely interested in being “normal” so they are aware of their quirks and the show must go on. JPW isn’t known for the warm fuzzy nurturing vibes, but can be a source of entertainment for team members if not combined with Apathetic and Dull. If JPW is good at the job, and helpful to the team, team members will forgive any weirdness that is over the top. If JPW just gets by at work and doesn’t offer much support to team members, JPW will likely repel the team members and morale will sink.


While none of us is perfect, we all have something to offer to our team. The best we can do is offer mercy to the imperfections of others and realize that whether manager or team member, we are all human. We all have quirks.

Each team has a cast of characters, and the best you can hope for is a positive and supportive environment to work in. We spend more time with coworkers than we do with family and friends. You’re a character in the story of your job. Which character are you?

Some that aren’t mentioned above but may be found in any workplace are:

The Victim, The Hypochondriac, The Cheerleader, The Role Model, The Fashion Model, The Exaggerator, The Overachiever, The Organizer, The Multitasker, Lazy Pants, The People Pleaser, Gloom and Doom, The Air Head, Quiet and Private, The Gossiper, The Diva, The Pervert, The Bully, The Artist, The Martyr, The Leader, The Jokester, The Rebel, The Challenger, The Denier, The Hypocrite, The Blamer, Mostly Confused, The Planner, The Spy, The Critic, Sensitive One, The Healer, The Manipulator, and The Counselor.



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