Your workplace is one place where people can be difficult, dysfunctional and downright brutish - and you still have to deal with them in a calm and professional manner. If this sounds like something you are dealing with - and quitting isn't an option - we'll help you identify and deal with these nine common coworker dysfunctions, and help bring serenity to your work experience.
Arrogance is the byproduct of unhealthy levels of pride and ego, and dealing with arrogant people takes a lot of patience and a great deal of self-control. Learning to identify the people who have this trait and avoiding them as much as possible will protect your own reputation, whereas confronting the arrogant person may only make you look worse.
"One-Upmanship" And Posturing
At your workplace, you'll see plenty of qualified people, and that alone can create an unusually competitive atmosphere. In addition, some coworkers feel the need to exaggerate their accomplishments, pad their resumes and pretend to have a frantic pace in a pathetic attempt to portray themselves as busy "rising stars". You have two choices: get the heck out of there or, just as nobly, focus on over-delivering. At the end of the day, business results and performance are the only real sources of credibility. (Read Top 4 Most Competitive Financial Careers to learn which jobs could be the worst for these characteristics.)
Irritability And Short Fuses
In the workplace, there is a need for the constant exchange of accurate, relevant and timely information. Unnecessary short fuses reduce or prevent this flow of information, and irritability is a barrier to people doing their jobs. If someone does something bad to you, take it up with that particular person first. Take solace in the fact that those who act irritably without showing impressive, credible and sustained results, will simply have the "idiot" label stamped across their foreheads.
Inauthentic Relationships And Hidden Motives
Being authentic is an important underpinning of effective leadership. In the real world, certain people will always have hidden agendas and motivations. While good friendships will help the workplace setting be more enjoyable, the wise professional will have to be discerning in choosing who his or her friends are. As George Washington said, "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."
Procrastination is a symptom of overconfidence, apathy or lack of focus. Smart people with a solid track record at school and prior work experiences may come to believe that they can "always step things up" at the right time and can afford slacking off here and there. Some workers find their particular job to be dull, and procrastination becomes the thrill-seeker's way of getting a rush out of attempting to finish a work project in highly condensed time frames. Quality of work is the first casualty, and the procrastinator's job quickly becomes the second.
The competitive atmosphere in a professional office can spill over outside of work, where coworkers compete to have the latest sports car, expensive watches, lavish travels and lush apartments. Wasteful spending only makes the workplace even more unnecessarily competitive; you have high income earners who are constantly broke, fighting for every scrap and crumb of bonus in the bonus pool.
The saboteur of the group takes competitiveness to a truly dysfunctional level. There can be various motivations for sabotaging a team's or department's efforts. There isn't much you can do to protect yourself from these saboteurs except to keep on top of your work and to be conscious of these people. The selfish trait is picked up by good managers, and saboteurs are often passed for promotions because more focused peers are concentrating on how they can continually help the company. In the end, the saboteur only hurts himself.
Often, the person coveting a role only has a minimal understanding of the significantly greater burden or skill sets needed to properly execute the duties of the role. The one who covets tends to only look at the benefits, such as higher salary. Professionals who covet someone else's job or title are more likely to be unhappy at work. If you work with a green-eyed wonder, don't fret. There are many ways to encourage this downer individual by offering praise or complimenting their current work, responsibilities and position.
Finance and accounting professionals have to exercise a healthy level of "professional skepticism" in their line of work. However, it can snowball into a habit of unnecessarily questioning everything. Unhealthy levels of cynicism can lead to others being turned off during social interactions, afraid of the stream of negativity flowing out of the cynic's mouth. Others will develop a mental and psychological barrier with the cynic, preventing effective communication in the workplace.