User Post: Co-Worker Conundrum: The Charmer

The only thing that runs through my head when "The Charmer" speaks is Elvis Presley singing, "A little less conversation, a little more action please." I realize that he wasn't referring to sly co-workers who talk a big game but rarely put actual effort into their job… OK, that might have been what he was talking about. Just minus the co-worker bit. Either way, Elvis was onto something. Some people are just all talk. And no matter how this person is connected to you, be it lover, friend or co-worker, they're all annoying.

A sibling of "The Ego", "The Charmer" has spent a long time getting by on their looks, their charisma and their image. In fact, some of them spend so much time perfecting their persona, they forget that there's more they could be doing. I have no proof of this, but some of the sly dogs I've worked with honestly can't see the real work that they gloss over. Or they often assume that doing the job is someone else's responsibility.

So how do you work with someone that has absolutely no bite to their bark?

  • Communicate through email. It is so much more difficult for "The Charmer" to talk you into doing all the real work through email. They just can't schmooze as well when you have time to analyze what they're saying. Talking through email will save you from their bewitching personality and give you proof of agreed-upon duties.
  • Stay confident. "The Charmer" preys on insecurity. They are so sure of themselves, it's ridiculous. To make them respect you, you have to keep yourself on an even playing field. Make a clear distinction between working with them and working for them.
  • Have a game plan. If everything is set out from the start, it's harder for "The Charmer" to talk their way out of actual work. By delegating before your project begins, you save yourself from a whole lot of attempts to hypnotize you into submission.

And how do you manage an employee everyone likes but no one respects?

  • Look at the numbers. I once had a salesman brag for a month about this huge new deal he'd landed. He patted himself on the back through every sales meeting and threw it in all his co-workers faces. Yet, at the end of the month, he'd lost more ground in other accounts and he ended up down for the quarter. But you never would've known it from talking to him. Make sure you're measuring their whole performance, not just the part that they're proud of.
  • Manage the backlash. Like "The Ego", when "The Charmer" talks a little too much, co-workers will start to band against them. Any mistake can be the beginning of a pile on. So try to keep things in-line and balance out the discontent.
  • As always, utilize your assets. "The Charmer" doesn't get a lot done, but they can win over even the most stubborn of hearts. Anytime a situation needs smoothing over, send in this employee to calm those ruffled feathers and sweet-talk their way back into your customer's heart.

You can reach this post's author, Lindsay Cross, on twitter or via e-mail at