WORKPLACE SHAMING: SOME EMPLOYEES NEED A TIME OUT

Recently, my oldest son came to me about a situation at school. He was being bullied by someone three grades older than him. As a parent, this is one of those conversations you probably dread having. My wife and I successfully handled it by talking to someone at his school. But something came out of the conversation with my son that I wasn’t expecting.

You see, my son looked me straight in the eyes and asked me if there were bullies at work. I looked at him straight in the eyes and told him the truth.

The answer was yes.

He’s almost seven, so I didn’t see any reason not be honest. Workplace bullying and workplace shaming both are certainly a part of life.

“What seemed like a teaching moment with my son suddenly turned into a coaching moment for myself.”

Nowadays, the word “shaming” is a popular topic in a lot of conversations. But there seems to be a disconnect with the concept of workplace shaming.

Many companies have implemented a zero tolerance policy for workplace bullying. However, many people don’t know the difference between bullying and shaming. And since there is a ton of information out there on this topic, that’s where we’ll begin.

Bullying vs. Shaming

Shaming someone typically occurs not for what a person has done, but for who that person is. The shaming could be because of a physical attribute, race or skin color, for instance. It’s simply a demonstration of the other person’s prejudices.

Bullying, on the other hand, is meant to humiliate and often physically harm or hurt someone perceived as weaker. Bullies seek power at the expense of others while attempting to dominate them. Adult bullies in the workplace, for example, are known to cause toxic atmospheres. These atmospheres diminish performance, destroy interpersonal relationships and erode company culture.

The psychological scars of both are real, raw and relevant to the victim. The victims of shaming and bullying are sometimes prone to turning their pain and emotions towards those who hurt them and anyone they felt condoned it. This creates another, much more serious situation.

This type of behavior has lead to some of the most horrific events that played out in the news. How many times did we learn that an assailant was a victim of bullying or constant abuse?

The bottom line: Neither shaming nor bullying can exist without a victim. And there is no place for this behavior in or out of the workplace.

The Impact Is Real

You might think this type of behavior isn’t a real threat or something to be concerned about. If you do, I would ask you to suspend that disbelief for one more paragraph.

When someone is bullied or shamed, it causes the victim to feel inadequate. This leads to disempowering thoughts such as, “Everyone must think I’m stupid or weak.”

That inner dialogue has been proven to trigger past memories of similar experiences, which leads to a deeper and more painful experience. Then, the emotional and mental impact leads directly to a physical one. And both of these are a superhighway to poor performance and lackluster employee engagement.

According to bullying expert Sherri Gordon, (the author of over 20 books on the subject), the impact in the workplace is quite extensive. She states that, “If you’re a target of bullies in the workplace, you probably start each week with a pit of anxiety in your stomach. Then, you count down the days until the weekend or next vacation.”

Inappropriate behavior by adult bullies may include:

  • Berating people
  • Stealing credit
  • Excluding others
  • Making snide remarks
  • Threatening others
  • Unfair criticism

Bullying has been known to cause a myriad of physical and psychological health problems.

These might include: stress, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, and higher blood pressure to name a few.

The impact on a bullied employee’s performance is also very real.

She cites some of the top issues as being:

  • Having trouble making decisions
  • An incapacity to work or concentrate
  • A loss of self-esteem
  • Lower productivity

Bullied workers not only lose motivation, they lose time because they are preoccupied with:

  • Trying to defend themselves
  • Avoiding the bully
  • Networking for support
  • Ruminating about the situation
  • Planning how to deal with the situation

But wait, there’s more…

In the full article (here) the author states that in addition to disrupting the work environment and impacting worker morale, it can also:

  • Reduce productivity
  • Create a hostile work environment
  • Promote absenteeism
  • Impact workers compensation claims
  • Result in costly, and possibly embarrassing legal issues

Other costly effects on the employer include:

  • Increased use of sick leave, health care claims and staff turnover
  • Erosion of employee loyalty and commitment
  • Additional costs to recruit and train new employees
  • Poor public image and negative publicity
  • Increased risk of legal action

What You Can Do About It

When discussing “what” to do about this type of behavior, we must also consider “how” it should be addressed and by “whom.” This is because there are two distinct parties involved. The first are the individuals – in this particular case, the victims. The second are the companies/employers where this type of behavior is taking place. Let’s start with what companies can begin to do or simply reinforce current policies.

In this fantastic HuffPost articleMargaret Jacoby pointed out some steps EMPLOYERS can and should start implementing:

  • Know what bullying looks like.

In a professional environment, this includes repeated mistreatment including verbal humiliation, persistent and unwarranted criticism, isolation and exclusion from social activities. Obvious signs are physical and overtly verbal abuse, but the subtler signs include sabotage of a person’s efforts to succeed.

  • Look out for targets of bullying behavior.

Certain types of co-workers tend to be targeted for workplace bullies – those who are very skilled at their jobs, favorites of management, those well-liked in the company and those not particularly aggressive. Take note of those who seem to have positive relationships and who doesn’t seem to interact with a group.

  • Focus on job performance.

Avoid negative comments unrelated to the job or the task at hand. Comments such as “any dummy could do this job” can be viewed as bullying. Train your managers and supervisors on appropriate ways to provide constructive criticism to workers without resorting to name-calling or using negative personal comments.

Your leadership sets the tone for how employees are expected to treat each other. Therefore, make clear in your handbook and by your own actions what type of behavior is permitted. Also outline what behaviors are expressly prohibited. Provide clear directions for reporting allegations and prohibit retaliation against those who do complain.

  • Investigate complaints promptly. 

Don’t ignore direct complaints or rumors of bullying in your workplace. Take immediate action. Because the longer you permit bullying, the greater the damage to the victim and potential liability to your company.

  • Provide training to both supervisors and employees.

Your policies will mean very little if supervisors don’t understand them and how to enforce them. Therefore, supervisors need to know how to identify bullying, fairly investigate claims, maintain privacy and appropriately discipline the offenders. It’s also important that all employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities to report such behavior.

If they aren’t, they will continue to believe that the employer doesn’t take these situations seriously.

  • Encourage a zero-tolerance environment. 

In the survey mentioned previously, bullied workers were asked how the employer handled the situation. The majority of bullies were found to be bosses or supervisors. And 72% of those surveyed felt their employer rationalized, or even encouraged, a culture of bullying. Some even denied it existed.

In those cases, it’s impossible for employees to feel safe or have any confidence. Because of this, they’ll have trouble being productive and happy in their jobs.

  • Call bullying what it is. 

Using terms such as incivility, disrespect, personality conflicts, difficult people, management style, trivializes bullying. It also underestimates the damage it does to the person who was bullied. In other words, not calling bullying “bullying,” in order to avoid offending someone just adds to the injury. After all, these victims’ jobs, careers, and health are threatened as the result.

If this subject has piqued your interest, I recommend grabbing these reads from Amazon. They can help you gain deeper insight into workplace shaming and positive company culture.


As an EMPLOYEE and potential victim of workplace bullying or shaming, there are certain empowering and necessary actions one should take. And according to Ms. Gordon’s insightful article titled, “How to Confront Workplace Bullying,” these are some to consider:

1. Take care of yourself and learn to recognize bullying

When you realize that you are being bullied, you are less likely to blame yourself or take responsibility. Remember — bullying is a choice the bully makes, not something defective in you.

2. Realize that you can change your response

Although it is impossible to change someone who doesn’t want to change, you can change how you respond. Take some time to think about how you want to handle the situation.

Do you want to search for a new job? Or maybe to report the incident? How about requesting a transfer?

Only you can decide how you want to address the situation.

3. Learn how to set boundaries

Be direct with the bully about how you plan to address his behavior. Furthermore, learn to be firm, confident and assertive. For example, tell the bully if he continues to threaten your job, you’ll report his behavior to human resources.

4. Keep a journal

Be sure to document any improper behavior. Because this information will help managers or outside organizations take action.

Be specific about what you write down. Include the date, the time, the location, the incident or words the offender said. Also, include any witnesses to the event. It might even be helpful to include how it made you feel or how it affected you. Likewise, you should record details about complaints that you filed and the responses you have received.

5. Create a paper trail

If it seems like someone is sabotaging your work, be sure you create a paper trail. This should clearly outline what you’re working on and your progress. Because if a bully is trying to force you out or squash your chances for promotion, the best way to fight back is to make sure others know about your projects. First of all, use e-mails, activity reports and other tools to share your progress with your co-workers and supervisors. Also, be humble in emphasizing your accomplishments. But be sure people are aware of the work you’re doing.

6. Report incidents

Being silent about bullying gives the bully more power and control over you. So when you feel ready, it’s important to report the bullying to a manager, supervisor, or another person in authority.

Remain calm and keep your emotions in check when sharing details about the bullying. After all, overly distraught complaints are distracting and may make the message confusing. So be consistent with details. It may be helpful to write out what you want to say ahead of time.

7. Keep your report relevant

In other words, share only specific details about the bully’s behavior. Don’t make assumptions or exaggerate details. Furthermore, don’t criticize the bully as a person or call him names in the meeting. After all, it’s the inappropriate behavior that needs to be addressed. Keep the focus there.

8. Seek outside assistance and find help for your situation

Report the behavior to the bully’s manager or supervisor. Bullying is a big issue that cannot be handled alone. If the bully is the owner or the manager, consider filing a complaint.

9. Surround yourself with empowering people

Find people who understand what you’re experiencing and who will provide support. Above all, talk about it. Don’t keep it inside.

10. Seek professional help or counseling

Finally, being targeted by a bully can certainly have a serious impact. It can affect your mood, your self-esteem, and even your physical health. Therefore, it’s important to find some outside help. This is especially true if you start to feel depressed.

The floor is yours: What can you do to prevent workplace bullying and shaming?

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

With Leadership,
Joshua
www.JoshHMiller.com

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).

10 COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF INEFFECTIVE PEOPLE

10 COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF INEFFECTIVE PEOPLE

Let’s face it, we all know or have worked with – those who at some point in time were ineffective people. You might say less than accountable or productive.

It may have been at work or possibly in your personal life. Professionally we come across all kinds of team members and as managers or people leaders, you want employees who are seeking to contribute to both to the immediate successes as well as the broader organizational initiatives. Some are excellent and require less attention and support while others may need some work. That is why it’s important to know what to look for.
Below are 10 common characteristics to watch out for when seeking someone who you can count on.

No Urgency

Ineffective people don’t take work or their job responsibilities seriously, in fact, many things show up as a joke or unimportant. This manifests in being tardy to both meetings as well as work. They are known to cancel things at the last minute or simply not communicate their potential absence at all.  Their apparent lack of time management and respect of leadership is an obvious developmental gap that should be addressed as soon as possible.

Analysis Paralysis

Ineffective people spend too much time thinking and not enough time doing. They may worry about what others think of them or look for evidence to support their hypothesis. This can show up during a brainstorming session, project or program management or after receiving feedback. Instead of taking time to plan and prepare,  ineffective people tend to work harder versus smarter.

Everything Is Code Red

Ineffective people don’t properly prioritize their to-do lists; if they even have one. They are usually focusing on things that aren’t mission critical or time-sensitive or allow small tasks to take up the majority of their time. As a result, they miss deadlines and can potentially spin their wheels in the process (see #2 above).

Lack of Empathy

Ineffective people “sometimes” lack empathy. This isn’t always the case but it’s been shown that if someone can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes and see things from a different perspective, they may not be able to understand others effectively. Although this is not a key indicator of direct effectiveness, it is an important trait (an indicator) of successful leadership.

Fearing Change

Ineffective people are challenged with how to embrace change. They typically can be found drumming up the water cooler talk about things they either have no evidence to support or simply find comfort in gossiping and drama.

The Glass Is Always Half Full

Ineffective people tend to look for the downside in things while overlooking the good and potential possibilities that are present. They dwell in the past and focus on what’s wrong or didn’t work with a project or assignment while slowing down both themselves and their team.

Thanks, But I Got This

Ineffective people refuse to accept advice from those who care about them and have their best interest at heart, as their managers. They often think that what works for others won’t work for them because their situation is as unique as they are. Some may see this as the entitlement while others view at immaturity.

Wasting Time Unknowingly

Ineffective people often have no concept of time (see #3 above). Their relationship to time is weak and they can be found spending a lot of time on meaningless tasks, starting and stopping projects prematurely, or engaging in gossip (see #6 above). Ineffective people are more likely to spend endless hours surfing the web, take longer lunch breaks, and get less accomplished.

Throw In The Towel

Ineffective people often give up easily when the going gets tough. They take the approach of saying, “See, I told you that wouldn’t work,” when something goes wrong. Instead of focusing on problem-solving strategies to overcome obstacles, they often view barriers as impossible hurdles to overcome and look to enroll others in their story.

The Bail Out

Ineffective people either don’t ask for help or don’t know how to ask. They do, however, expect that others should just drop everything they’re doing and help them at all costs when they do finally ask. This can show up as either arrogant or entitled or sometimes both. They can be short-tempered and childlike if they don’t get their way and this emotional burst can also waste valuable time (see #3,#4 & #8).

Learn more about how to deal with ineffective people:

 

Final Thought:

Being ineffective is not a medical condition nor has it been scientifically proven (by my records) to be genetic or irreversible. If you are a people leader and think you may have someone who is ineffective, fear not – there are actions you can take such as addressing these behaviors with the individual. Many times people are simply unaware of how they show up in (both their personal and professional) life. That is why we have measures such as providing “effective” feedback, learning and leadership development and last but not least performance management. If you are unsure how to address these behaviors within your organization, don’t be afraid to seek out help from within your HR Team, People Operations Department or a Mentor or Colleague.

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

With Leadership,
Joshua
www.JoshHMiller.com

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).

 

9-SIGNS-YOUR-MANAGER-LACKS-EMOTIONAL-INTELLIGENCE

YOUR MANAGER LACKS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Emotional intelligence has become a popular topic in the field of psychological research. It’s especially popular in leadership development.

Research about the way today’s workforce interacts is a growing field. And EQ is also a critical component for one’s wellbeing.

But developing your EI is important if you want to have a successful career.

Many experts believe emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) may be more important than IQ . It’s certainly a better predictor of success, quality of relationships, and happiness.

In fact, according to a report from the Robert H. Smith School of Business from the University of Maryland:

“71% of hiring managers said having EQ is more important the IQ and 51% of them said that they would NOT hire someone with a high IQ but a low EQ”

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Let’s break it down so it’s easy to understand.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify your own emotions and the emotions of those around you.

It is generally said to include these 5 dimensions:

  1. Self-Awareness: Recognize and understand our emotions and reactions.
  2. Self-Management: Manage, control, and adapt our emotions, mood, reactions, and responses.
  3. Motivation: Harness our emotions to motivate ourselves to take action, commit, follow-through, and work toward our goals.
  4. Empathy: Discern the feelings of others, understand their emotions and utilize that understanding to relate to others more effectively.
  5. Social Skills: Build relationships, relate to others, lead, negotiate conflict, and work as part of a team.

Critical areas in which Emotional Intelligence can support you:

  • Physical Health – The ability to take care of our bodies and to manage our stress. This has an incredible impact on our overall wellness. It’s heavily tied to our emotional intelligence.
  • Conflict Resolution – When we can discern people’s emotions and empathize with them, it’s much easier to resolve conflicts. It will probably even help you avoid them before they start. We are also better at negotiation due to our ability to understand the needs and desires of others. It’s easier to give people what they want if we can perceive what it is.
  • Mental Well-Being – EI affects our attitude and outlook on life. It can also alleviate anxiety and help you avoid depression and mood swings. A high level of EI directly correlates to a positive outlook on life.
  • Relationships – By better understanding and managing our emotions, we are better able to communicate our feelings in a constructive way. We are also better able to relate to those with whom we are in relationships. Understanding the needs, feelings, and responses of those we care about leads to more fulfilling relationships.
  • Success – Higher EI helps us to be stronger internal motivators. As a result, we can reduce procrastination, increase self-confidence, and improve our ability to focus on a goal. It also allows us to create better support systems and persevere with a more positive outlook.
  • Leadership – The ability to understand what motivates others to relate in a positive manner. Also, to build stronger bonds in the workplace inevitably makes those with higher emotional intelligence better leaders. An effective leader can recognize the needs of his people. Then, know how to meet them in a way that encourages high performance.

For resources on growing workplace EQ:


Lastly, here are 9 signs your manager may lack emotional intelligence:

  1. Unable to control their emotions.

    Emotionally intelligent people are able to regulate. Therefore having control of their emotions. If your manager is prone to lashing out in anger they likely lack EQ.

  2. Clueless about your feelings.
    The ability to read others’ nonverbal emotional cues, such as facial expressions, is a critical part of EQ. If your manager can’t read your obvious displeasure, they probably have problems making emotional connections.
  3. Can’t maintain friendships.
    High-EQ individuals have strong networks of friends and acquaintances. If your manager is unable to maintain good relationships with colleagues, this is an indicator of low EQ.
  4. Always has a “poker face.”
    While reading others’ emotions is important for EQ, so is the ability to express your own. If you can never tell what your manager is really feeling, it’s likely they’re missing this element of EI.
  5. Is emotionally inappropriate.
    Making bad or inappropriate jokes. Getting angry over nothing. Not realizing that he/she is angering someone. These are signs that your manager doesn’t understand the social workings of emotions and emotional expression. And this understanding is another important aspect of EQ.
  6. Can’t cope with sadness.
    An inability to manage others’ emotions indicates a lack of emotional intelligence. Low-EQ individuals have particular difficulty in reacting to others’ negative emotions.
  7. Is emotionally “tone deaf.”
    We communicate a great deal of emotion through tone of voice. If your manager can’t sense your irritation, it may be an indicator that he or she is not skilled at detecting emotions.
  8. Can’t really be sympathetic.
    Empathy and sympathy involve recognizing others’ emotional states and reflecting back appropriate emotional concern. This is a complex skill that suggests high levels of emotional intelligence.
  9. Has no volume control.

    Of course, we’re talking about emotional volume here. Too-loud emotional reactions suggest difficulty in controlling emotions.

Final Thoughts:

Emotional intelligence is still not completely understood. In fact, it’s still being researched even as I write this. However, what we do know is that emotions play a critical role in the quality of our lives. It’s probably even more critical than our actual measure of brain intelligence.

Tools and technology can help us learn information. But nothing can replace our ability to learn, manage, and master our emotions and the emotions of those around us.

If you are now wondering how your EI level stacks up, there are a few places online to take a free emotional intelligence assessment.

Have an extra 2 minutes to discover more about yourself? Take the quiz to find out if you’re happy or comfortable.

With Leadership,
Joshua
www.JoshHMiller.com

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).

8 TYPES OF COWORKERS WHO CAN DERAIL YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

COWORKERS WHO CAN DERAIL YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

You might work in an open-space office environment. Or you may sit at a desk enclosed by timeless (and design-less) grey and beige cubicle walls. Either way, one similarity probably exists … You work alongside other people.

Those people can kill your productivity. Nowadays companies are looking for more collaboration and interaction. And it’s up to you to focus and do your job while avoiding distractions.

Enter the disruptive and annoying coworker.

Yes, you know who I’m speaking of. We’ve all endured them at one point in time along our career paths. The movie industry has well documented certain stereotypes. And I’m sure there are many more that haven’t made it to the big screen. But one thing is certain — there are a few characters that seem to pop up in every office.

If you do work alongside other human beings, there’s a very small chance you all get along 100% of the time. Each and every one of them will probably annoy you at some point. And there may even be a few who you absolutely can’t stand.

Here are some of the most common types of negative workplace personalities. These are the people who derail productivity and some ideas on how to effectively deal with them.

1. The Forgetful Borrower

This person borrows staplers (red ones to), highlighters, tape and other things from others’ desks and forgets to return them. Worse, he or she may not even ask to borrow them. Solution: If you know who the culprit is and you haven’t yet received your item back then you can address the issue head-on. The next time this happens, say something like, “Hey (insert name), I noticed you borrowed my (insert item) and was wondering if you still have it as I need it back.” If they have it, then hopefully you will get it back and it’s a win-win. If they play coy and pretend to not know what you are talking about, short of you having evidence of an actual act of intent – let it go, learn from the situation and lock up the items in question moving forward.

2. The Slacker

There always seems to be one team member who is content to let everyone else do the work but is always there to take the credit. This is quite annoying and unfair.

Solution: Carl Jung said it best, “what you resist – persists.” This couldn’t be more true. If you fail to call this person out then you (and possibly your teammates) may fall prey to this persons undermining of your hard work. Speak up and responsibly confront this individual by asking them, “what exactly did you contribute to this assignment/project?”. It’s important to allow them to speak their mind as it will provide you valuable information into how they think and the reality in which they reside. If this doesn’t work, you always have the option of going directly to your boss or manager and explain but more importantly document what work was actually done and by whom. 

3. The Passive-Aggressor

Though not openly complaining that someone else isn’t working as much, The Passive-Aggressor still can’t resist mentioning how late he or she stayed last night or commenting on his or her “insane” amount of work.

Solution: This one is actually quite easy. Typically ignoring these types of comments work best as acknowledging them will only show validation and potential praise for that persons perceived efforts. Silence is key. The Passive-Aggressor may also be prone to more direct behavior that could be seen as abusive. This action, of course, should be escalated to your HR or People Team.

4. The Drama Queen/King

“The term ‘drama queen,’ or less frequently, ‘drama king’ is usually applied to someone with a demanding or overbearing personality who tends to overreact to seemingly minor incidents.  Psychologists might describe a drama queen or king as a neurotic personality with histrionic tendencies, meaning they tend to become needlessly dramatic whenever the order is disrupted.

Solution: The easiest way to handle these type of people is simply refuse to take the bait. Dramatic people love drama but more importantly being center of attention so the more you respond to their drama (“Oh my gosh, that really happened to you?”), the more you feed their desire to be heard and validated. Instead, simply ignore the rants, and go on about your business. Your message—“I’m not interested”—will eventually be received.

5. The Know-It-All

There are at least two variations of this workplace character, according to Lynne Eisaguirre’s book Stop Pissing Me Off!: The Detail-Oriented Know-it-All, who relishes pointing out minutiae while missing the whole point; and The Fixer Know-it-All, who “insists on solving your problems for you, even if you don’t want them solved, or, in fact, don’t think you have a problem at all.”

Solution: Unsolicited opinions can be as annoying as a car alarm going off all night keeping you awake. The key is to ignore both the situation and comments while not being completely dismissive. Try saying, “Thanks, I’ll think about that.” And if you find yourself getting frustrated, comfort yourself with the knowledge that this person is most likely perceived as potentially obnoxious, insecure or maybe trying “too hard” to fit in.

6. The Suck-up

The Suck-up can’t wait to find a new way to get the boss to recognize him. This coworker is always there to remind the boss just how wonderful he or she is, even if it’s at the expense of others.

Solution: Annoying? Most definitely. Harmful? Not really, unless of course, this person is stepping on or over you to forward their agenda. Typically these types of people are easy to spot when discovered in the act but again pay close attention. The key is understanding that this individual is clearly seeking both visibility and acknowledgment and it has nothing to do with you. This type of behavior is usually quite transparent to the other person as well that they are sucking energy from and usually runs it course whether long term or short. 

7. The Gossiper

One could argue that the office gossip is the mayor of the water cooler. They always “appear” to know what’s happening, to whom and by when. Whether it’s potential layoff, hiring, firing or anything to do with salaries. They thrive on sharing this information to anyone who will listen. Substantiated or not, these rumors get repeated over and over, usually by the same people, who just love stirring up the worst-case scenario of what’s going on.

Solution: When dealing with information that is coming from a secondary or questionable source, it’s always best to substantiate the claims as much as possible. Said another way, “just the facts please.” Don’t be afraid to question them or their source. They will quickly get that you aren’t interested in watching “TMZ the Office Edition.” As  result they will stay clear of you because probing for facts takes all the fun (and drama) for them. Another solution I found that could equally be effective is to outright say something like, “Sorry – I can’t help you with that” or be bolder in expressing your disdain for gossip. Either way you will relieve yourself of being a gossip repository.

8. The Victim

No matter how good things are, there is bound to be something to complain about and more importantly someone to blame for their ill-perceived hardships. This disgruntled employee — justified or not — is a drag to work with. Worse, chronic complaining is a contagious habit, which can result in a toxic and negative working atmosphere.

Solution: People with a victim mentality don’t believe they have any ownership or control of the situation. In their world, other people are doing things to them. Sometimes it’s actually part of a greater or larger conspiracy theory pitted against only them. This makes addressing this behavior a little more complex. Unless you have a healthy dose of emotional intelligence (as well as patience), it may prove best to acknowledge what’s being said without an agreement. Then casually look to move on or away. The key is to avoid further anchoring into the victim’s conversation and the evidence they have collected as to why their life is the way it is.

For insight on overcoming workplace distractions:


Final Thought:

This is by no means a scientific or complete list. As a result of speaking with a few dozen people on this topic, I’m aware there are a few more productivity-killing coworkers to watch out for:

  • The “loud talker”
  • The “life is always a metaphor”
  • The “everything is a movie analogy”
  • The “open-mouth chewer”
  • The “steal your lunch from the fridge”
  • The “not showered lately coworker”
  • The “close talker”
  • The “won’t let you finish a sentence”

Whenever you isolate many different types of people into one workspace, anticipate some personality clashes. Certain types of behaviors, such as those listed here, are annoying but don’t necessarily have to be career derailers. It is important to approach irritating colleagues carefully. But it’s also important to remind yourself to avoid certain situations that could jeopardize your career and overall happiness. With most types of annoying co-workers, the key is to be professional and straightforward not hostile or mean. By attacking a co-worker verbally, you step way over the line. But you also directly jeopardize your job. Remember…

You can’t control other people; the only thing you can control is the way you choose to respond to them. 

The floor is yours. What are some annoying traits you have witnessed?

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With Leadership,
Joshua
www.JoshHMiller.com

Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller is a creative leader and impactful executive coach.

His career spans both the advertising world and the world of leadership. In advertising, he was the creative lead, responsible for the campaign strategy for Fortune 100 brands. Today, he is an innovator. He’s supporting the executive development and change management for many of the same companies.

Joshua studied at Syracuse University, NYU and Stanford. He combines that background with his deep knowledge of organizational behavior, performance and change management. He focuses on the analysis, design, development, delivery, and evaluation of scalable and global talent development solutions programs.

Joshua is a Master Certified Coach. He trained with the International Coaching Federation and CTI (The Coaches Training Institute).