Identifying Destructive Workplace Habits in Your Office

Office places are filled with various personalities, learning styles, and personal agendas. Conflict can creep in, disagreements can take place, and negativity can abound. The office place is an interesting dynamic, it’s one that can promote collaboration, friendships, and innovation. At the same time, an office can have the opposite energy as well – separation, entitlement, and resentment. The key to creating an office environment that is aligned with the former, is to identify and stop any destructive habits in the office as soon as they start.

It starts when one employee becomes unhappy. This could be for any reason. They could have been passed over for a promotion, were unhappy with their annual review or their raise, or they simply don’t enjoy the job they are doing. The problem is that when a person becomes unhappy in the workplace, their negativity can easily go viral. A negative energy can quickly consume other people’s positivity. It starts by taking down one person, then another, and another. Before you know it, half of your team or staff has now embraced the negative mindset of this one person. The question is this, how do you identify that person so you can put a stop to it, before they take over?

Here are a few of the signs of a destructive team member.

If you notice someone…

  • Putting down every idea that is brought up in meetings and never adds value or offers another way of thinking.
  • Is anti-social and isn’t well-liked among a friendly staff.
  • Who promises everything you want to hear, but rarely, if ever, delivers.
  • Who thinks very highly of their position and their work, yet doesn’t produce results.
  • That is constantly micro-managing others.
  • Who is constantly blaming others for their behavior.
  • That is passive-aggressive.

Your team has likely been affected when you notice someone…

  • Is now being negative who was a happy, productive employee before.
  • Not participating in meetings as usual.
  • Is feeling entitled, short-changed, and disappointed by what the company has/has not done for them.

Destructive workplace habits are critical to your team’s success. Stopping these destructive behaviors as soon as they are noticed is the best way to keep your team happy. Once you notice the energy shifting, come from a place of curiosity and approach your unhappy team member to get to the root of the issue. They’ll likely tell you what you want to hear at first, so dig deeper and go down a few levels to get to the truth of what’s happening.

Once you identify the core issue, make a decision that’s best for the company. In the long run you’ll be happy that you did, even if it’s uncomfortable at the time.

Showcasing Confidence to Your Colleagues

Showing confidence in your work can increase your likelihood of receiving additional responsibilities, getting a promotion, and leading a team.  Since we don’t always start out as a confident team member, here are a few points to consider while increasing your confidence.

1. We all must start somewhere. The people around you may have more experience, education or knowledge, but they too once had to start at the bottom. Don’t forget that your peers were once in the same boat as you – just getting started or new to the field. It’s okay to not know it all. In this case, don’t be afraid to seek guidance, continue learning, and ask questions. Do your best to keep up to date with information, trends, and news within your industry. Sometimes a fresh perspective has just as much, if not more value, than an outdated way of looking at things.

2. Believe in yourself and trust your abilities. If you got the job, it’s likely the company felt you could do the work. They trusted in you, so have that same trust in yourself. Even if starting a new project or being assigned a new role may feel a little intimidating, trust that you have the right people and resources available to you, should you need assistance. Believe in yourself enough to get the job done, to make smart decisions, and to seek guidance when needed.

3. Don’t take anything personally. While you are growing and learning and in a place of expanding your self-confidence, it’s important not to take things personally. This can show up in a variety of ways, from constructive criticism to the way a question was worded (especially the way an email was worded). The key here is to stay focused on your own growth and evolution, and diminish your sensitivity to feedback from others.  Learning to take feedback and constructive criticism with confidence is a surefire way to see a major improvement in your career track.

Lastly, it’s important to note there is a big difference between confidence and cocky. Being confident shows that you believe in yourself, trust your abilities, and are able to get the job done. Being cocky will quickly make you enemies in the workplace, along with careless mistakes and errors. Confidence wins every time, and confidence is not about out-doing anyone else or needing to overshadow your colleagues.

“Who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others.” – Leib Lazarow

What other tips or insight would you add about confidence in the workplace?

Consistency, Clarity, and Integrity in Your Job Interview

Have you ever been in an interview and found that the interviewer was asking very similar questions over and over again? The questions may sound different, but in fact, what the person is asking is essentially the same.

This is why consistency, clarity, and integrity are an important part of your job interview. Interviewers are often seeking to understand a personal fully, and to listen to any inconsistencies.

For example, if you said you left an employer for better employment opportunities (very general answer), yet you bring up a conflict with your manager in your interview, you’ll be sure that the interviewer will pick up on this. They will then ask more questions that will come back around to finding the real answer. Interviewers know that people are going to give the best answers they can in an interview, but when asking a question repeatedly it generally makes the interviewee drop their defenses and get to a more honest answer.

Consider this, if you were asked a question and then were repeatedly asked to dig deeper, how would you respond? What happens is that you are given a chance to really think about your answer as you reflect on the reasons behind your actions. This is where consistency, clarity and integrity come into play.

It’s actually a great topic to think about prior to your interview. You can ask yourself questions such as:

  • What do I stand for?
  • What are my values?
  • What’s really important to me?

Then, when you start your interview you can have a clear direction and focus for your answers. As the person digs deeper, they shouldn’t get a different answer because your first answer will be in alignment with your integrity.

What do you think? Have you been in a situation like this before?

Embracing Workplace Diversity

Your office may be filled with diverse co-workers from various cultural backgrounds and genders – this can either lead to a highly creative environment or a conflicting one. Embracing workplace diversity can and should be fun and with a little focus on individual’s strengths this opportunity could set your office up for a powerhouse performance.

 

Backgrounds, work ethics, and values vary from culture to culture, it’s no wonder that a workplace filled with diversity could present a challenge to many. However, if a company and it’s employees choose to embrace the differences and the uniqueness of the individuals you could potentially see a dramatic improvement in performance and morale.

 

If your organization is filled with diversity perhaps it’s time to consider evaluating the differences at hand. Some cultures value hard work, while others value family and community. Yet still, some cultures are more material driven and others need and want acknowledgement. Understanding these differences means putting people in the positions that really feed their cultural values and helping them to excel. For example, an individual who values community and family could be great at PR, social networking, or marketing but may struggle in accounting where the person who values material possessions could flourish.

 

In other examples, how you acknowledge, reward, or promote your employees could also be evaluated to create a more dynamic workplace. Cultural awareness and embracing diversity can send a powerful message to your staff, in addition to training your staff to honor others will bring workplace cohesion, support, and a sense of community leading to increased performance, comrade and a superior company culture.