Some co-workers seem to take pleasure in seething, shouting or sharing snide comments. You might think their main goal is to make teamwork unpleasant and difficult, but the truth is that they may not mean much of anything by their bad behavior.
Use these tips to identify and tame four troublesome types:
- Mr. Angry. He knows that he’s right, so he’s never willing to back down. Teammates hesitate to confront him, because he usually bites off dissenters’ heads. That leads to resentment and frustration. Strategy: Listen to his complaints and then assure him of your support. Look for quick, practical ways to use some of Mr. Angry’s energy to improve things.
- Ms. Resentful. Her behavior may be less showy than Mr. Angry’s, but it is just as deadly. Teammates will quickly tire of her “I know better” comments and her sense of superiority. Strategy: Share ideas with her before you act. If you offer her a chance to provide input, she may feel better supported and valued, and she is more likely to feel ownership of the solution.
- Mr. Apathy. He acts as if nothing he does makes a difference, so teammates hesitate to involve him. That leads to his being ignored and excluded, which in turn damages his morale and limits his productivity. Strategy: Encourage involvement by giving small, achievable assignments. Explain how vital each task is to the team’s larger goals. Remember that apathy comes from within, so encourage him to build a sense of personal pride based on realistic progress.
- Ms. Useless. You want to write her off as a lost cause, but you should remember that everyone can add something to your team. The trick is helping each member see her own personal value and strengths. Strategy: Rotate work assignments to aid her in finding a strength or area of interest. Offer frequent positive—but realistic—feedback that encourages her to do more next time.
-Adapted from “The Evil Ones,” Louise Etheridge, Personnel Today; http://www.personneltoday.com.
[Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/alexlaurie.]