Via The National : Workplace doctor: How to handle personal relationships in a professional environment
Managers have to be clear about job expectations and consequences if performance is negatively impacted for any reason.
I am the manager of a large team of salespeople at a major outlet in Dubai. Recently, I have become aware of a relationship between two members that seems to be impacting their work. While I do not want to ban them from having a relationship – they have until recently both been exemplary members of staff. How do I resolve this delicate issue?
Although personal relationships may be viewed differently by different people, generations, religions and cultures, consideration should be given to what is seen to be both respectful and lawful of the local culture and religion where one resides.
Internationally, it is estimated that nearly 40 per cent of people have dated a co-worker and that up to one third of these work relationships have resulted in marriage. Alarming statistics for some, and given that the line between professional and personal lives are becoming thinner, maybe not that surprising for others. Given that we spend, on average, one third of our lives at work whilst working longer hours than ever before, it may be understandable that work is increasingly becoming the primary social environment that many find themselves in.
Traditionally, relationships at work have been frowned upon for various reasons. Many take the view that the workplace is a professional environment where it is important to maintain professionalism at all times. This is particularly relevant to work relationships, as they can be a real distraction not only for the parties involved, but also for their co-workers. Other than potentially affecting productivity, work relationships can cause additional strain, embarrassment and perceptions of favouritism or discrimination.
Depending on who is involved, workplace relationships can change the dynamics of an entire organisation. At the very least, they tend to generate excessive gossip and can complicate important collaboration and trust, necessary for effective teams and cross functional relations. It can also affect decision making, where the involved parties are likely to put each other’s needs before that of the company. Furthermore, work relationships are not limited to co-workers and can impact relations with vendors, competitors or other external stakeholders.
From a different perspective, experts have more recently found that workplace friendships are good for employees and as such, for organisations. This is especially true for Generation Y, who value working with like-minded people that they get on well with. Friendships at work can increase productivity and reduce employee turnover.
According to a 2013 survey in Australia, good relationships with co-workers were more motivating for people to stay in their current job (67 per cent) compared to job satisfaction (63 per cent) and surprisingly, their salary (46 per cent). A workplace is a community, and a closeness amongst staff members can be a competitive advantage for an organisation.
Although, personal relationships are more complicated, they can be viewed in much the same way. Rather than resisting the phenomena, employers are best placed to have a clear policy that governs personal relationships at work. The focus should be on creating a positive work environment for all. Employees must not allow a personal relationship to influence their conduct at work.
Be clear about job expectations and consequences if performance is negatively impacted for any reason. It is also best to have a rule that prohibits an employee from supervising a person they are in a relationship with. Include a requirement to disclose any relationship that may give rise to a conflict of interest.
How may you handle this situation going forward? As you and others have noticed behavioural changes, it is time to address the situation with these individuals. You mention that they have both been exemplary members of staff until recently, so appeal to their professionalism at work.
Communicate your concerns that their personal actions are causing professional issues. Specify that personal lives should be conducted outside of the workplace, and that romantic gestures are not appropriate at work. Help them to establish some boundaries – for instance, not to spend too much time on their own, agreeing not to use terms of endearment, or be seen to make physical contact with each other.
Maintain an atmosphere of trust by respecting their right to a private life, whilst ensuring your right to protect the interests of the business and fellow staff members. Residing in the UAE, they also need to be aware of the laws of the country and respectful of the local culture and customs regarding all forms of relationships.
Via The HR Digest : 3 HIGHLY EFFECTIVE WAYS TO DEAL WITH A CHRONIC COMPLAINER AT WORK
My coworker in the next cube over is a classic case of a chronic complainer at the workplace. I used to be friends but over the years I have distanced myself from him because I cannot deal with the toxicity anymore. You cannot bother to say ‘Hi!’ or ‘Good Morning,’ because you never get a happy response from him. He won’t be talking to anyone, just sighing, acting all pissed off and mumbling complaints in the air. If you do ever talk to him, prepare to hear what’s wrong with his manager, colleagues, and the workplace all at once. He never has anything positive to say.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the rest of my coworkers like family but this guy just rubs me off the wrong way. There is so much whining coming from a grown man that sometimes (umm… usually) I have a hard time feeling bad for him. Lately, I’ve just been saying, “I don’t know what to say,” when he complains to me about something.
Best Ways to Deal with Chronic Complainers at Work
Working around a chronic complainer can be really off putting. Secondly, dealing with chronic complainers is no small feat. Nothing pleases them and nothing escapes the critic’s eyes. Complainers at work manage to find fault in management’s every email, implicitly suggesting the people in charge lack intelligence and common sense.
Psychological research suggests deeper issues at work, such as an unfulfilling life at home. This makes them seek out to other people for emotional validation, and more often than not, they fail to realize they’re being overly critical of things and people around them.
So, how can you effectively deal with chronic complainers at work? We know how, follow our plan:
REDIRECT THE PERSPECTIVE
This tactic is used by politicians and actors, and it works! When you’re having a difficult conversation with a constant complainer at work, subtly change the subject by acknowledging their say on the matter, and then move on to another one.
Of course, this tactic isn’t going to take you anywhere with the individual. At any cost, do not allow the individual to poison the team.
ASK FOR SOLUTIONS
When you hear the constant whiner at work share his gripe, press him for a solution. Ask questions such as: “How do you suggest we solve this problem?” or “What would you do so this doesn’t happen again?” At any cost, do not offer solutions. They’re wired to whine out of any situation and will disagree with your ideas. It’s best you make them come up with their own solutions.
CALL IT OUT
Offer food for thought and call them out on their behavior. Make it clear that things aren’t going to change if they continue to indulge in chronic complaining. They need to decide whether they can be happy in their jobs because simply complaining about everything is not a solution.
In the end, it is your job to address the behavioral problems. You need to create a culture of accountability and ensure everyone meets the standards of the organization. Hire the right kind of people and fire those who infect the workplace culture by poisoning and creating doubt in the minds of other employees.
via Bustle : 11 Things everyone does wrong at work without realizing it
Most of us get through the workday without too many issues. We send our emails, manage our teams, brew our coffees, and remember to attach all our TPS reports. And yet, there are still things everyone does wrong at work without realizing it, thus causing problems, delaying successes, and making things way more difficult than they need to be.
Whether it’s getting caught up in some seemingly harmless office gossip, or failing to promote yourself and all your great ideas, it’s important to know how and when you might be doing something wrong. Not only will it make for an easier day, but recognizing these issues can put you on the track for things like promotions and raises.
So go ahead and reevaluate your work self. Are you being professional, promoting yourself, and pitching in? As author and career expert Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish says, “Understanding the impression you give at work is vitally important. When you demonstrate professionalism at all times — especially during challenges — you will be furthering your career goals. In addition, it is this type of impression that will allow you to secure a positive reference for future employment opportunities.” Read on for some little things you might be doing wrong that could compromise your success.
1. Oversharing All That Personal Info
It’s easy to get comfy at work and start spilling the beans about your relationship, your health, and everything in between. But the office isn’t exactly the time or the place. “Although it is important to build relationships with your peers, oversharing information to the wrong person may negatively affect how the rest of the office views you,” says Ian Siegel, CEO of the career website ZipRecruiter.com. Unless you’re talking to your work BFF, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and keep private details to yourself.
2. Never Talking About Your Successes
If you just did something incredible at work, don’t make the mistake of keeping it to yourself. “Many people do not promote themselves at work or advocate for what they want,” says workplace expert Heather Monahan, in an email to Bustle. “It is critical to let others know about your successes so they can further support you and realize your skills and talents.”
3. Complaining To The Wrong People
If you’re having a tough day at work, it can be tempting to complain to your coworkers. And while it’s completely OK to do in moderation, don’t expect it to solve any problems. “If there is an issue with a manager, coworker, or a policy/ procedure, go to that person or the department (HR) that has the power to solve it,” says personal development coach Stacy Roberts.
4. Not Completing Menial Tasks
Yes, it’s a pain to replace the printer paper. And yet, being “that person” who fails to help with little things can lead to problems. “To managers, it can give the impression that you are not willing to pitch in to help the team out or do not respect them,” says leadership expert Ash Norton, founder of AshNorton.com. And that’s not good.
5. Trying Too Hard To Fit In
If you’re new to a job or kind of shy, it can be tempting to fly under the radar and keep your head down ’til 5 p.m. But this is actually a pretty big mistake. “Instead, [you should] use your uniqueness to your advantage,” says Norton. Share your ideas in a meeting, or suggest a new way of doing things. It never hurts to be yourself and share your creativity.
6. Taking Over The Office Kitchen
Don’t be the person in the office who takes over the kitchen. And while you’re at it, remember it’s always a good idea to be considerate of coworkers when heating up last night’s fish. As leadership coach and business owner Elizabeth McCourt says, “I used to have a boss who would bring leftover fish and microwave it, stinking up the entire office.” So funny, but also so gross.
7. Gossiping With Work Friends
While it can be incredibly tempting to get chatty with coworkers, nothing good ever comes from telling secrets around the water cooler. As Roberts says, “Workplace gossip and complaining will destroy productivity and morale.” It can come back to bite you, make you look bad, and (worst of all) hurt people’s feelings.
8. Leaving Super Long Voicemails
Whether you’re trying to look busy, or just aren’t thinking about it, beware the horror that is leaving super long voicemails. “It is best to get to the point quickly and request a meeting or ask if further information is needed,” says Monahan. “No one has time these days to sit and read War & Peace.”
9. Holding Your Breath
It’s easy to forget to breathe when dealing with millions of emails, so take a second to check in with yourself. If you aren’t taking full breaths, try this technique. “Sit as tall as you can … Look outward … Breathe in through your nose filling up the lungs as much as you can and then actively force the air out of the mouth with pursed lips (not a wide open mouth),” says functional fitness expert Alessa Caridi. That should help you better deal with all that workplace pressure.
10. Waiting Around For Instructions
Whatever you do, don’t sit around waiting to be managed. “This includes waiting to be asked to do something, having idle time and not speaking up, and generally not being proactive,” says Ben Brooks, founder and CEO of the tech startup PILOT. If you do the right thing and take some initiative, I promise everyone will be super impressed.
11. Making Excuses If You Screw Up
Nothing’s worse than making a mistake at work. In fact, it can be so scary that you might find yourself covering it up or making excuses. While understandable, this often only makes things worse. That’s why, as Roberts tells me, it’s much better to acknowledge the issue and improve it. Your boss will appreciate it, and you’ll be setting a good example for everyone else.
If you keep these things in mind, you should get through the work day unscathed. And maybe even impress a few people along the way.
Via LinkedIn : Having been a journalist for much of my adult life, I can say with certainty that exercising complete objectivity is extremely hard to achieve, whether you’re reporting a story or evaluating the talent of a potential hire. How you feel about someone personally, how you respond to the vibe they give off, is almost impossible to remove from the equation.
I’m particularly aware of this every year around this time when the BBWAA (the Baseball Writers’ Association of America) votes on which former Major League Baseball greats (retired at least five years) will be elected to the Hall of Fame. For the players whose statistics are unquestionably great (and were not at the epicenter of the steroids storm) entry is all but assured: pitchers with 300+ wins, hitters with 500+ home runs, etc. In the workplace, the equivalent would be making Dean’s List at a prestigious university or years of distinguished service at a top-flight company.
But that’s rarified air, and let’s face it, many of us are not flashing those kinds of gaudy statistics on our resume. For us mere mortals in the workplace, our likability factor becomes a big consideration. Because, do you know what that hiring manager is asking him/herself after your work experience and education have been noted? “Is this the kind of person my team is going to want to be elbow-to-elbow with for more waking hours than they spend with their spouses?” The smaller the office, the bigger that factor becomes. So don’t dismiss the importance of your overall likability.
Here are some simple ways to not shortchange yourself in that department:
Ditch the Bitchy Resting Face. Most of us are unaware of how dour and disapproving our default facial expression is when we are listening to someone else. I’m not suggesting you have a frozen, toothy grin at all times – that looks fake. But sport an engaged, interested closed-mouthed quarter smile when others speak to you. It’s the simplest way for them to have positive feelings about interacting with you.
Give the Bitching a Rest. Even if your former employer was slightly less understanding than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, don’t bring your tales of woe to a job interview or a new company and hold regular gripe fests. Negativity weighs on an office culture and can bring everyone else down. If there’s a problem at work, strive to fix it through creative solutions instead of whining and moaning about it.
It’s Not About You. The best way to get hired and get promoted is to show that you’re constantly thinking of ways to make the company better, preferably in a way that more substantive contributions from you would be necessary. If you can prove that your ideas would result in greater performance and productivity, then your raise should pay for itself. Remember, nobody owes you anything. The least likely reason to get promoted these days is because “it’s your turn.”
Have Your Colleagues’ Backs. Try to go one month without saying anything critical about your co-workers. Then try stretching it to two, and so on. I bet you’ll like the results. Getting pulled into water cooler gossip can happen so easily. Rather than piling on, try pointing out an invaluable quality the target of the gossip possesses and say, “Listen, say what you will about (name) but when it’s chaos and crunch time around here, she’s the last one to buckle under the pressure,” or whatever their attribute may be.
These are the kind of people others want to work next to and have shape that all-important company culture.
So what does this have to do with the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame? Well, for those players who statistics didn’t make them a lock to get in, their likability , or lack thereof, played a role in keeping them out. If you are skeptical, just ask players like Jeff Kent and Albert Belle who are still not members and Jim Rice who was forced to wait many more years than someone the baseball writers might have thought was a “good guy.” The toxicity they brought to work with them did not go unnoticed or unpunished.
I’m just one of many people who once believed that the workplace is a strict meritocracy. “Oh, I got that job because I was likely the strongest candidate.” That naive bubble burst for me many years after my first big break in television. I was sitting with my former boss over a beer when I decided to ask him why he had hired me over other candidates for a coveted position.
“You really want to know,” he asked.
“Absolutely,” I replied.
“Cause I figured you were a nice young kid who wouldn’t give me any shit.”
I’ve never forgotten that.
Via NZ Herald : Every workplace has them. The colleague who bad-mouths you behind your back at the water cooler. The boss who takes credit for everyone else’s ideas. The sexist jerk people actively avoid by taking circuitous routes to the printer and lying about their happy hour plans.
These employees are the bane of enterprise and they’re everywhere.
Not only are they detrimental to a company’s morale, they are extremely costly to its bottom line and can do far more harm to an organization than outliers at the other extreme – the superstar employees – do good. But who are these people exactly? And how are they different from the rest of us?
In a provocative new Harvard Business School working paper, researchers Michael Housman and Dylan Minor crunched data from 50,000 employees at 11 companies to come up with what may be the world’s most detailed personality profile of a “toxic worker.”
Using information from a company that builds software designed by industrial-organizational psychologists to assess a job applicant’s fitness for a particular position, the researchers were able to gain an extraordinary window into a modern-day worker’s mind. The job testing program included questions about everything from how they view their own abilities to their attitudes towards teamwork.
All of the workers in the study were employed in front-line service positions and paid on an hourly basis. The researchers also had access to the employees’ daily performance data which represented productivity based on the average time it took them to handle a transaction and customer service ratings as well as basic employment data such as their job title, location, hire date, termination date (if applicable) and reason for termination.
In the continuum of toxic workers, there are those who are simply annoying and might just be a bad fit for an organization. At the other end are those who engage in harassment, bullying, fraud, theft or even violence in the workplace. The study zeroed in on those at the most extreme of the extreme who were fired for their toxic behavior.
The study’s findings aren’t exactly what you might expect.
• First, a toxic worker isn’t necessarily a lazy worker. In fact, they tend to be insanely productive, much more so than the average worker.
Housman, a workplace scientist at an analytics firm, and Minor, a visiting assistant professor at Harvard, explain that this may explain why these workers tend to persist in an organization despite their questionable ethics and morals: “There is a potential trade-off. . . . They are corrupt, but they excel in work performance.”
They cited as an example a rogue trader who is making millions. A firm might be tempted to look away when he’s found to be overstepping legal boundaries. And then there’s this maddening fact: At least one previous study has found that unethical workers actually have longer tenures at companies than ethical ones.
• The second characteristic is a bit more obvious. They tend to have what’s known as high “self-regard” and a lower degree of “other-regardingness.” Or put more simply, they’re selfish.
All things equal, those that are less other-regarding should be more predisposed to toxicity as they do not fully internalize the cost that their behavior imposes on others.
This characteristic was teased out in the job screening program by asking applicants questions like this one that makes them choose between two statements: “I like to ask about other people’s well-being” or “I let the past stay in the past.” Selecting the first would give them a higher other-regarding score.
• Third, the toxic employee also has an tendency to be overconfident of his or her own abilities – a trait believed to lead to unreasonable risk-taking.
“Someone that is overconfident believes the expected payoff from engaging in misconduct is higher than someone who is not overconfident, as they believe the likelihood of the better outcome is higher than it really is,” the researchers explained.
• Finally, if a person is dead-set on following rules, there may be reason to worry.
Even though it seems counterintuitive, Housman and Minor said that those employees who claimed in the questionnaire that rules should always be followed with no exceptions (as opposed to those who said sometimes you have to break rules to do a good job) were the most likely to be terminated for breaking the rules.
It could also be the case that those who claim the rules should be followed are more Machiavellian in nature, purporting to embrace whatever rules, characteristics or beliefs that they believe are most likely to obtain them a job.
“There is strong evidence that Machiavellianism leads to deviant behavior.”
The consequences of employing such people can be enormous for a company. The researchers calculated that these workers can cost $12,489 due to the need to replace other workers who leave due to their behavior. That’s an almost two-to-one return as compared to their estimates for what a company gains from a superstar employee in the 1 percent of productivity – an increase in $5,303 in value.
In their paper, Housman and Minor explain that the best way to deal with these toxic workers is simple: avoid them. Human resources programs and interviews in the future could be designed to screen them out, for instance.
But what if you already have some of these employees in your midst?
You needn’t despair that your organization is doomed.
According to their research, the factors that lead to a potentially toxic worker to act in a toxic way are likely to be numerous and complex and isn’t all about fixed personality traits.
Here’s one example: They found that the number of other toxic workers around them or the “density” of toxic workers in your group can influence whether they act appropriately, with the lower the density the better the outcome. It’s akin to the way peer pressure can steer teens in the wrong direction.
“There is some hope,” they wrote, “that through judicious management of a worker’s environment, toxicity can be reduced.”