Over the years, I have met, worked with and worked for a lot of people. By far the majority of those people taught me, through their actions and words, what I can do to make work a better place. These people:
- Come to work each day with a fabulous, ‘let’s have a great day’ attitude
- Look for potential in others and then make the time and provide the support required to nurture that potential
- See the opportunity behind the challenge
- Expect as much from themselves as they do from others
- Take responsibility for failures or errors
- Put team members in the limelight and acknowledge everyone’s role in success
- Are accessible
Then there are the people who have instead taught me how to create a scary workplace, a workplace filled with hurt, mistrust, discontent and turmoil. Here are some surefire tactics these scary monsters used to create unhappiness, anxiety and even a little fear. They:
- Come to work with a ‘let’s see who I can take down today’ attitude
- Push and maneuver behind the scenes to ensure their favourite people succeeded at the expense of the entire team
- Push and maneuver to get rid of people they perceive as unworthy or a potential threat
- See challenges as an opportunity to bring someone down and raise themselves up
- Don’t follow the same high standards they set for others
- Blame others for failures or errors
- Take all the credit for success
- Hide behind closed doors, computer screens, voice mail or ‘too many meetings’
- Expect results without sharing what the expectations are or providing adequate resources to be successful.
- Keep changing the rules or the definition of success so success can’t be achieved
- Discourage creativity or innovation with the phrase “that’s not the way I would do it” or better yet, discount the idea, then present it as their own
What has struck me about some of the people I’ve met who fall into the scary monster category is that many view themselves as action oriented, go-getters, not afraid to “say it like it is”, as someone strong prepared to make the hard choices. I’m not sure if they really are oblivious to the hurt, turmoil and discontent created by their words and actions, or if they are aware but simply don’t care.
Whether oblivious or uncaring, the damage caused by hurt, turmoil and discontent is real.
- Hurt, turmoil and discontent don’t stay in the workplace. Unhappy, discontented employees share those feelings with friends, family and peers, potentially damaging the reputation of a company to potential high quality employees.
- Employee turnover rises as people leave for a less stressful workplace
- Employee morale and productivity continues to decline, leading to shoddier work and unhappy customers