When you’re new in a job, you can easily get stressed and when you’re stressed at work, you may not realise how you’re being perceived by others. It’s easy to fall into bad habits which can impact your relationships with those around you. There are certain types of people we can become if we’re not careful – types no one wants to work with. Know what to look for – here are the six types of people no one can stand in the office, and how not to become one of them.
This type always has something to say, and never seems to know when to stop. They quite often have a voice that ‘carries’ too, which only adds to the joy of having them in an open plan office. Lovely as they may be, their colleagues often end up avoiding them wherever possible, as even a passing ‘Hi, how are you?’ can turn into a significant time drain.
They’re the kind of person people love to chat to at after work drinks but hide from between 9 – 5.
What to do instead: Why not send an instant message? A messaging app like Slack is a great way to chat with your colleagues – read more about it and nine other free tools to make your work easier here.
The Fog Horn
This type takes making noise to a whole new level. Whether it’s loud conversations (sometimes even on speakerphone), playing music without headphones, not turning their mobile to silent or vibrate, calling out to colleagues across the office or talking to their computer, these people are oblivious to how much their noise is stressing everyone out.
They cause more headaches than a big night out.
What to do instead: You guessed it – lower the volume. Keep your voice down, headphones on for tunes, book meeting rooms for conference calls, and change your mobile ringtone to the soothing sound of silence.
The Office Gossip
This type lives for the latest office scandal, whether it’s founded in fact or not. They might seem like good fun at the beginning, even presenting themselves as helpful friends. But the secrets unsuspecting colleagues confide in them will no doubt find their way back to the boss. Aside from ‘dobbing’ on colleagues and stealing ideas, this type also has a tendency to take credit for work they didn’t do.
Even if bosses don’t see this behaviour, their colleagues sure do.
What to do instead: It’s never a good idea to stab colleagues in the back. What they tell you in confidence needs to stay in the vault. Also be sure to give credit where and when it’s due – managers and teammates alike will appreciate and respect you for it.
The Meeting Obsessive
This type would love nothing more than to have meetings all day every day. Blocking out an hour to discuss something that could have been clarified with a one-line email is their favourite activity. Scheduling a meeting to go over something that’s already been discussed and decided upon, just to make sure it really has been decided upon? Heaven on earth for this type.
Their colleagues, unsurprisingly, are not huge fans of having their time so misused.
What to do instead: Before you send off that meeting invite, ask yourself – is this something that could be covered with a quick call or email? Perhaps a brief desk visit? If a meeting is required, make the agenda clear ahead of time, take notes and send an email afterwards with the agreed next steps.
The Passive Aggressive
These people are famous for leaving snarky notes around common areas ‘kindly requesting’ compliance. This kind of pettiness naturally makes them very popular with their colleagues, who may not have realised that milk is to be stored ONLY on the bottom shelf of the fridge door.
They seem to be unable to let even the smallest grievance slide.
What to do instead: Before you leave that Post-It, ask yourself if it’s really such a big deal. Sharing a workspace with others often means minor annoyances, so if you can let it go, do. If something is a big deal, consider sending a friendly, funny email to the team – you catch more flies with honey, as the old saying goes.
This type is arguably the worst of all. Their ability to kill morale does more than annoy – it can contribute to more staff resignations than any of the other types put together. Their need to control means they interfere with and second-guess almost all tasks they ‘delegate’, wasting time and frustrating team members hired for their expertise.
Micro-managers should take note of Steve Jobs’ advice here: ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.’
What to do instead: If you’re not the manager, all you can do is try to change the way you respond. Check in regularly about your progress and provide detailed reports – show you can be trusted to deliver. If you are the team lead, take note of how destructive micromanaging can be, and work on taking a step back. Allow your staff to get on with the tasks you’ve delegated – a little space and trust can go a long way.