Understanding Waldroop and Butler’s 6 Problem Behaviors

Understanding Waldroop and Butler’s 6 Problem Behaviors


No matter how talented people are, some behavioral traits always hold them back and prevent them from excelling in their area of specialization. Though these people might have the best intentions they somehow fail to achieve success with their behavior coming in the way. James Waldroop and Timothy Butler, both psychologists, analyzed this behavior among humans and listed six troublesome traits of humans that form the topic of discussion in this article.

Six Problem Behaviors Assumed by Waldroop and Butler

These traits have been characterized as the following

  1. The Rebel
  2. The Meritocrat
  3. The Pessimist
  4. The Bulldozer
  5. The Home Run Hitter
  6. The Hero

Waldroop and Butler have analyzed them from a manager’s viewpoint.

1. The Rebel

The ‘rebel’ is a person that automatically fights against convention and authority. It is their nature to question authority at every opportunity. Making remarks about company policies or being critical about them without making any effort for positive contribution towards an organization is typical of a ‘rebel’. Though they could be capable employees they are undone by their negative approach. This negativity is infective and could affect others.

Rebels have the ability to change the culture of an organization for better or worse. They are capable of identifying ideas that need a change and could even effectuate it through their passion and energy. This potentiality of a rebel could be channelized in a positive direction under the guidance of an inspiring and strict coach.

Provocation is the best way to train rebels. Coaching rebels needs calmness and assertion. As rebels are provocative, their coaches need to be in total command of their emotions. These individuals love to take up challenging assignments. A sense of winning over others gives ‘rebels’ a satisfaction in completing assignments. In case they are overtly rebellious about company policies or any other aspect, they should be asked to make a written note of it and ways to improve them. This would help in creating a feeling of working for the company and its other employees, and not against the company.

2. The Meritocrat

A meritocrat believes that that the best ideas always stand on their own by their merits. No amount of externalities including political influences could affect these ideas. A meritocrat is the last person to be interested in office politics. They are brilliant with ideas and ideals, and lack the power to negotiate. Meritocrats are arduous and have immense integrity. They also are intelligent.

Their lack of political acumen overshadows their talent. As these managers stay away from office politics their promotions get stalled easily. These candidates do not love to share their ideas with other team members within the organization which contribute to their aloofness.

Coaches need to be sympathetic for training ‘meritocrats.’ While being trained, caution needs to be taken by a mentor such that any element of politicking should be obscure. Even the slightest trace of politicking could become an obstacle to coaching a meritocrat. Meritocrats need to be convinced that their ideas could only flourish when decision makers are in complete agreement. Influence Model and Stakeholder Analysis could be used for effective and honest communication from meritocrats. Focusing on their recent ideas and how they could be useful in winning over allies and stakeholders is another way of getting them involved with the management process of an organization.

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3. The Pessimist

The ‘pessimist’ as the name suggests always looks at darker side of things or any changes that are being made. He or she is more worried about what could go wrong with any change rather than what could improve. As they are driven by fear they do not take any chances or initiatives. Such members not only stay away from being creative or venturesome but also demoralize those around them.

Not everything is negative about ‘pessimists’. In an organizational setup even pessimists could contribute positively. Pessimists are cautious and deeply concerned about betterment of their organization or team. As they are cautious they are particularly successful in areas like research and development, quality control, security and safety, and health. For coaching them, the best way is to begin with encouraging sessions on importance of caution for an organization and then gradually move over to areas where too much caution could become a handicap for a company. Excessive worries not only increase anxiety but also contribute negatively to work efforts, productivity and overall morale of a team.

Pessimists resist a change primarily because they fail to understand it. Risk analysis before the execution of a project or beginning of a task is the best way to encourage pessimists to accept a change. A comparison between the risks of doing nothing to the risks involved with making a change is a good exercise for making pessimists act positively.

4. The Bulldozer

A ‘bulldozer’ seeks power at any cost and could even be very crude in approach. In their pursuit of goals they could even alienate other team members. By nature a ‘bulldozer’ does not trust others and likewise is distrusted by others. Bulldozers over some period of time demoralize an entire team and reduce its efficiency.

Being blunt is the best way to coach a ‘bulldozer’. By nature they are energetic and passionate which are positive attributes. A coach should capitalize on these positive traits. For bringing a bulldozer to terms, a coach should point out instances of alienation and its dire consequences. Explaining the importance of apologies in mending damaged relationships has been found to be effective in tackling such a difficult trait.

5. The Hero

A ‘hero’ has the habit of pushing things along too hard for too long. Though they can be ideal for bosses, they are too tough for subordinates. They are self motivated and could push themselves to the point of burning out. A ‘hero’ also expects the same kind of attitude from other team members. Heroes have difficulty in retaining a team as their expectations are always high.

To coach a hero, he or she should be made aware of pushing too hard and the damage it could create to other team members. Heroes should be taught to slow down occasionally.

6. The Home Run Hitter

The ‘home run hitter’ attempts to achieve too much too soon. He always attempts doing greater things ignoring the immediate needs. However for all their endeavors they seek approval of their superiors. As their focus is always on larger targets they overlook immediate goals.

Counseling is the best method of coaching ‘home run hitters’. They need to be coached that rushing things could be stressful and damaging in the long term. A risk analysis is the best way to make these ‘home run hitters’ act more reasonably.


According to Waldroop and Butler, all the above-mentioned traits not only impede the development of any individual, but also affect an entire team.

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