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.”
Via The Indian Express : Snarky comments, backstabbing colleagues, nagging boss or plain lack of appreciation often fly under the radar, and hence go unnoticed.
Being subjected to rudeness is a major reason for dissatisfaction at work as unpleasant behaviour spreads if nothing is done about it, a study says.The research by three psychologists at Lund University in Sweden concludes that workplace incivility should be treated with utmost seriousness.
The researchers explained that rudeness at the workplace refers to something that goes under the radar for what is prohibited and that in some way violates the norm for mutual respect.
It can refer to petty behaviour such as excluding someone from information and cooperation, or “forgetting” to invite someone to a communal event. It can also refer to taking credit for the work of others, spreading rumours, sending malicious e-mails, or not giving praise to subordinates.
“It is really about behaviour that is not covered by legislation, but which can have considerable consequences and develop into outright bullying if it is allowed to continue”, said lead researcher Eva Torkelson from Lund University in Sweden. Bullying in the workplace is quite a well documented phenomenon, whereas rudeness that risks turning into bullying is not, she said.
For the study, the researchers surveyed nearly 6,000 people on the social climate in the workplace.
In total, 75 percent of the survey respondents stated that they had been subjected to rudeness at least once or twice in the past year.
“An important finding from our studies is that those who behave rudely in the workplace experience stronger social support, which probably makes them less afraid of negative reactions to their behaviour from managers and colleagues,” Martin Backstrom, professor of psychology at Lund University noted. As people often imitate the behaviour of others, there is a risk that rudeness becomes a vicious circle with considerable consequences for the entire workplace, the researchers said.
The findings appeared in the journal BioMed Research International.
Via Careerealism : Let’s make things clear: It’s impossible for everyone in the workplace to be your close friend. It’s possible, however, to grow positive working relationships with them. So, what do we mean when we say positive relationships?
Every employee dreams of working in an environment where positivity resonates. Where people are supportive of each other. Where you feel motivated to work hard, not to mention score a perfect attendance, because your colleagues are encouraging.
We all aspire to be apart of a team made up of awesome people. How do you ensure now, that you, yourself, are a good colleague to your teammates?
You know you need to attract pleasant treatment before you receive it. With that, here are a few tips for becoming the co-worker everyone loves:
1. Be Pleasant
Remember the golden rule? Don’t do to others what you don’t want others do unto you. This also rings true in the workplace.
If you treat people around you coldly, and refuse to share even a smile, then you could as well expect your colleagues to seem distant.
Although people will have varying attitudes, they can still work together well. It takes open-mindedness to survive and thrive in such environment. So, learn to look past differences. Accept others as they are. Show kindness. It will be returned in situations you need it the most.
2. Be Innovative
It is easy to live on your own while in the workplace – minding your own tasks, limiting talks with your colleagues and going straight to home after work. Your motivation to go to office everyday is the paycheck you receive. You comply to what you’re told to do, but do not really extend efforts going beyond what is expected of you.
If there’s anything you want to explore in addition to the tasks assigned to you, let your boss know. Volunteer to assist your colleagues who might be able to use extra hands.
If the resources given you are not enough, then take the initiative looking for more. Consult your colleagues; ask your boss. Nobody wants someone who depends on spoon feeding.
3. Respect The Bosses
They can sometimes be difficult. They, sometimes, reach out to the team as though they’re on the same rank with them.
Bosses are not created equal. They may be using different approaches to inspire their team. There are times when you would find their rules too stringent, or perhaps lax.
However, they act. Remember, they are your superiors, your leaders. Even if, at times, you might find their behavior uncalled for, never speak negatively about them to your colleagues.
If there is anything you need to say, tell it straight to them. This is not to say that you smarm your boss, however, it would help that they have a positive impression toward you.
4. Sustain Healthy Competition
How do you look at your workplace? Is it something you see as a battlefield, with all your colleagues as your enemies? Is it a place you call your second home with people you deem as your other family? Is it a haunted mansion with everyone around acting like zombies?
It’s okay to be competitive. But to aspire for progress so much that you’re already building barriers from your colleagues can be harmful.
You are a team still, and to get ahead doesn’t mean you’d need to leave people behind or hanging. Do your best while reaching out in any way you can to your colleagues.
Via LinkedIn : Did you change your employer or are you starting on new job? This is the right moment. We’ve all been through these situations and always should recall the importance of creating good first impressions. It is the impact of first impressions.
In categorizing people, we all take shortcuts, and first impressions about people often turn into long-term perceptions and reputations — which are good for people who make positive first impressions (the halo effect), but bad for people who make negative first impressions.
Certainly is the early days are when your boss and colleagues form the most lasting impressions about you. This is when they make assessments about your ‘typical’ behavior — the ‘type’ of person you are. If you have any attendance/punctuality issues in the first few days or weeks, you’ve already lost a significant battle — their confidence in you. People use to take you as seriously as you seem to take yourself — and your work.
And in the workplace, during those first few early days where you are meeting everyone — and everyone is meeting you — first impressions about you and your future potential can make a major impact on your future success with the organization.
“You have to realize that first impressions are remembered. Watch what you say and do. Things can come back to haunt you.”
Keep in mind that he first days at a new job is critical for making the right impression. After all, no office needs another toxic co-worker: the know-it-all, the gossip hound, or the death breath guy. Instead, you want to ooze dependability, preparedness, politeness, good grooming and above all, normality. AND there is an important rule to apply, have a good start with your new boss.
Here are some recommended ways to make sure you and your present-day boss start off on the right foot:
- Know your job and have a good track record of performance. This is THE most important way to impress your new boss – just be really good at what you do. Good leaders have a knack for sizing their new teams up within the first few weeks. They will ask around. If you’re good at what you do, they’ll pick up on it, and if you’re not, not much else will matter.
- Learn about your new manager. Do a Google search; look up their LinkedIn profile. Find out about leadership style, or philosophy. Ask questions about interests, hobbies, family, etc… Show an interest in getting to know him/her, and offer information in return. Being vulnerable is the first step to building trust and a relationship. Play it by ear, don’t offer too much too early (TMI), but be prepared to reciprocate.
- Be VERY open to change. Listen. Don’t listen to evaluate, listen for possibilities. Chances are there’s a reason a new manager was brought it, don’t come across as part of the problem. And maybe you are, but show a willingness and ability to adapt and change.Behaviors that are appreciated by most new managers: enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity, initiative, and good judgment. Behaviors that are frowned upon by a new manager: cynicism, whining, finger pointing, skepticism, and acting like a know-it-all.
- Help your new manager learn. Be proactive, anticipate what they need to know and provide it at the appropriate time.
- Clarifying expectations are critical. Find out what your new manager expects from you, and employees in general. Be prepared to talk about what you expect from your manager, in case you’re asked. But only if asked. If you’re not asked, that’s usually not a good sign.
- Watch your manager’s back. Assume you already have a positive and stable working relationship, and act that way. Assume anything you say about your new boss will get back to them or end up on the company intranet front page the next day. Be an ally.
- However…. don’t be a blatant suck-up. What’s the difference? A good leader usually knows the difference between sucking up and basic courtesy and competence.