Financial Data
Updated 16 Jan 2021

3 Different types of employees in today’s workplace environment

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you’ll one day build a team to help you realise your business’ vision. These employees will come in a raft of personalities you may not yet be aware of. Build you acumen today, for future business success.

11 May 2018  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Sourcing, building and supervising a winning team is one of the cornerstones of a successful start-up – but this is a challenge for many entrepreneurs. From a business owner’s very first day of operation, to decades later, dealing with employees can be a difficult exercise. If you’re still in a corporate job, take a look around. Do you understand what drives each of your colleagues?

One day this trait will be useful as an employer with a keen understanding of your workers. So, how do you develop the skills that are needed as the head of a start-up looking to take on the world? You can start by learning about the different types of people you’ll come across in your business. 

Unique personalities in every office

Entrepreneur and author Michael Kerr says he was introduced to a concept called ‘Serengeti Management’ during his early days as a business owner. “A friend introduced me to the concept. His premise was that, as a new employer, I was going to have to deal with any number of different personalities, each represented by an animal,” he says. 

Related: How to take a fundamental look at your business

Here a few of the personality types every entrepreneur is likely to encounter a new business owner, according to Serengeti Management:

1. Gazelles of the workplace

Gazelles have a tendency to conform and keep their heads down, but when change is looming, they are the first and strongest to resist. Because of this trait, gazelles are unlikely to be forerunners when the business seeks leaders or innovators.

The gazelle’s conflict-avoidant nature means this type of employee might require less management than other employees. But holding them accountable and regularly engaging deters them from their default mode of blaming other employees when challenged on matters.

2. Lions of the workplace 

Lions and gazelles usually don’t get along because while the latter does only what is necessary, the former doesn’t tolerate mediocrity. It is this trait that will eventually make lions some of the most valuable and trusted members in any organisation. Lions make the best salespeople and managers as their persuasiveness can earns customers. 

A strong pride is good, but too many lions in one place might not be good for business. Only one or two need to be assigned in strategic positions. Their temperamental behaviour requires regular supervision as it could potentially cause conflict with the rest of the team. Lions are fulfilled through incentives, rewards and praise.

3. Rhinos of the workplace

Solid and dependable, these extremely rare team members work the hardest and aim to get the task done right the first time around. They’re in the office to work, not involve themselves in anything that doesn’t contribute to the job at hand. Rhinos aren’t necessarily management material, but they’re valuable employees where reliability is concerned.

Related: 21 Ways to reward your employees

Praise and prizes don’t motivate rhinos – a job well done does. However, it’s easy for this employee to be overloaded with work and depended upon for good results because of their thick-skinned nature.

Neil Petch, entrepreneur and chairman of Virtugroup, says that the best way a new or aspiring business owner can understand that different personality types require separate approaches is to research and learn more on the subject.


Standard Bank has a variety of business tools to help you along when you decide to embark on your start-up journey. Speak to one of our business experts today or click here now.

Rate It12345rating

Introducing the payment solutions for the on-the-go small business

Business owners who are on-the-go need mobile payment solutions to help them in their day-to-day customer transactions.  Leigh Livanos, Head of Payments, Collections & Cash for Business & Commercial Banking discusses how Standard Bank can assist your business with mobile solutions.

Login to comment