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The Protege Worker

In the book I write about the seven categories of workers in business and today I would like to talk more about the Protégé Worker. This is one of the best categories of Workers to develop from a management perspective. Protégée Workers are normally Worker/Warriors-on the- cusps who are seeking Warrior mentors to help them develop into Warriors, or they are simply Workers who derive great satisfaction from their place “on the team.” Both types of Protégée Workers need to be managed somewhat differently.

Protégée Warriors-on-the cusp are seeking education, guidance, and feedback that will assist them in their development. From the Warrior or manager’s perspective, an assessment needs to be made of them to determine if the investment of time necessary to mentor and keep them motivated is available and justified. Some organizations simply do not have the resources or available openings to develop individuals like this. But assuming they do, the Warrior or manager will discover that this type of Worker will be one of their most dedicated, motivated, hardest-working “workers.”

Workers in this category are typically “short term,” however, because they fully plan to utilize their positions to hone their Warrior skills and move up the job ladder. Managers need to be aware of this and give them the opportunity to advance at the proper time; otherwise, you risk losing them to a competitor, or worse, having them transform into a Whiner (or even a Weasel), because they may begin to experience frustration at their lack of advancement. Luckily, Protégée Workers are not always intent on becoming Warriors; otherwise, we would be without a terrific classification of Workers. Many Protégées simply prefer to serve an individual or small group, as opposed to being motivated by the accomplishments of a large organization. They tend to be community oriented as opposed to global in perspective, and they are usually the most nurturing types of individuals to work around. They derive much of their motivation and satisfaction by being a valued assistant or member of a small team. They typically have great appreciation for the talents of their coworkers, and they prefer to regard their workplace almost like an extended family. They potentially work in almost any job, but they seem to thrive in assistant and support service positions, as team players. They are usually there when you need them, happy to put in the long hours necessary to get the job done.

Because they are so agreeable to work around, the manager needs to be careful not to forget about fulfilling the needs of the Protégée Worker. Kind words and compliments go a long way, and because Protégée Workers are typically not clamoring for attention the way other Workers might, a manager needs to periodically give them an ego infusion and make sure their compensation stays in line with their duties and performance. Because they are usually part of a team, the manager needs to allow Protégée Workers to share in the credit for team achievements, even if they were very much “in the back office.” A kind word or a pat on the back for a job well done goes a long way with this personality type. This type of Worker also tends not to complain, but if neglected, Protégée Workers will eventually move on or sometimes be transformed into Whiners.

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