By virtue of my official position, I manage dozens of employees attached to several firms. Through this experience, I have come across scores of toxic behaviors that push people away from each other. And I have witnessed the devastation these behaviors cause – to relationships, to personal and professional growth, and to the general well-being of both the individual behaving negatively, and to everyone in their lives.
Our behavior is a little thing that makes a big difference. Most of us aim not to be rude in the workplace but sometimes, the line is thin between adorable quirkiness and just plain annoying.
Certain attitudes are not to be exhibited at all, especially at the work place. When you exhibit such attitudes, you may end up pushing people away from you. If you are observant, you will only notice that people avoid you but you may not know why. As a manager, I don’t have the privilege to avoid people. I can only caution and correct.
I have outlined a few of the negative attitudes below:
Passing The Buck
Blaming everyone but ourselves. The cleaner is responsible for the dirty office. Who littered the papers on the floor in the first place? The co-worker is responsible for the failed project. Einstein, your silence was deafening. How come you never suggested anything? Maturity means taking responsibility. It’s okay to take the blame even when you are not directly responsible for the fault. Let’s not leave it to Akon alone.
Lack of Focus on Current Task
Some people do not concentrate on the present and people standing in front of them since they are always looking for the next adrenaline rush. Virtually or physically. They offer one person’s solution to another person’s problem. In Pharmacy, this is dangerous. You can imagine prescribing a levonorgestrel to a woman who needs a gonadotropin. A lady cashier was once very busy in her juicy gossip with her colleague that she overpaid me without realizing it. I tried to draw her attention by dropping the excess pay on her slab. She wasn’t even paying attention. She just paused to thank me for the “tip”. Others lose focus based on their current emotional state. A man who was offended by his wife just before leaving the house should be mature enough not to let that distract him at work.
Taking Everything Too Personal
People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them. It’s far more productive and healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide. Don’t turn any conversation into a story about what happened to you, regardless of the topic at hand.
Not Knowing Your Job
When I went for US Visa interview, the Consular asked a young man why he wanted to visit Atlanta. The young man replied, “Atlanta is my favorite country”. What a blunder! How can you not know where you are travelling to? The same with your job. You should know your job description and also devise more ways to improve on your job. Nobody wants to associate with a clueless co-worker. You should justify your salary.
I always halt colleagues who enter my office and come straight to “inspect” my activities on my computer as if there was an announcement that I was the one pulling down the company. Don’t be an unpaid unsolicited spy. Even if you pass someone’s desk to another location in the office, you don’t need to consciously or unconsciously stare too long at their screens.
Don’t live exclusively for stories about the private lives of other people. Gossiping in the office during working hours is an act of joblessness. If that gossip is not about making more money for the organization, make it brief. Gossip has the added bonus of possibly causing those you’re gossiping about to eject themselves from the workplace. You do not want to be looked at as the one to have driven employees away – especially by management.
Having a Bad Sense of Space
You don’t need to stand on the step right behind me going up the escalator when there are other empty steps. Standing on my shoulder in the elevator will not get you to your destination faster. That I compliment your colour combination skill doesn’t mean I want to see you each time you look like a circus performer. You can send an email or a text message. Give people their personal space to be happy, or at least, productive employees.
Be the glory-giver instead. Whenever someone (especially management) says something complimentary about your work, bend over backwards to publicly give credit to everyone who helped or contributed in even the slightest way to your success. You’ll be amazed at how willing people will be to help you. If you usurp glory all the time, people will naturally not want to help you. We all need help at some point and we all want to be appreciated when we help someone.
Give honour to your immediate superior. You don’t need to meet the Managing Director if your superior, the Marketing Manager, can handle the present challenge. Don’t make your superior look stupid before his own superior. It is not wise to directly or indirectly show your superior that you have no regards for him. If you always cover your superior’s shame before his higher authority, he will always protect your job.
Dominating Group Conversations with Interruptions & Interjections
Don’t be the type to interrupt conversation all the time. Some people just barge into a conversation and ask, “What happened?” If you wanted to know what happened, you would have arrived earlier. If you missed a point, you can ask questions later or interrupt politely and less frequently. Don’t always throw in jokes during serious discussions. We need to lighten up but let’s not confuse a Board Meeting with an AY Show.
Eating in the Office
It is not wise to eat flavored and spicy foods in the office during working hours, especially if you share office with others. Don’t eat foods that people can guess you are eating. Everybody should not know that you are eating roasted plantain. It does not portray a good image of the organization to visitors, unless your organization is advertising the health benefits of roasted plantain. The one that irks me is eating and attending to clients the same time. This is not the ideal way to multitask.
Don’t withhold information just to maintain an advantage over others. Some co-workers would not spare a supplier’s phone number but would go behind to call the supplier. They would not suggest ideas to execute a group project but would cunningly present such ideas to Management.
We spend a lot of time at the workplace. There is no reason why that time should be spent displaying or condoning any of the listed behaviors. Be someone everyone wants to work with, not avoid.
What co-worker behavior do you find the most annoying and how do you deal with it?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Bobby Deal