Having a bad boss or calamity of a colleague might be a good way to bring everyone together in their shared dislike for the person in question. Unity in adversity and all that. However, the chances are that the office pest may also be potentially harming your career, certainly your productivity, not to mention the performance of the company as a whole.
The first step towards a healthier work environment is to be able to identify the kind of person you’re dealing with, so that you can look at the best way of handling the situation.
The Office Bully
You’ve made it out of school and left the bullies behind only to find yourself employed with one. Throwing the old adage of “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” out the window, having a bully in the office can become hugely stressful.
They use their arsenal of criticism, shaming, humiliation and other under-handed techniques to target other innocent employees and create a frosty work environment. If left unchecked, this person will greatly impact productivity, even amongst those they don’t even target. Report them in any which way you can, or expose them to those colleagues you can trust for added support.
If you can’t even stand at the water cooler and have a five minute conversation break without this person hanging around expectantly, you probably have a micro-manager on your hands. Their desire for control means that they implant themselves in every facet of your work life, leaving little room for creativity and freedom.
Unlike the bully, the micromanager isn’t consciously making your work life hell, they’re just doing what they think they should, because in their minds no one can do it better.
They miss the eye roll and impact of their neck breathing, often not realising the amount of anxiety they’re creating for their team. The best way to handle your micro-manager is just to keep them posted. In fact, overload them with information on how much you’re getting done.
The After Hours Workaholic
If you receive regular work-related emails at 9pm on a Sunday night, Subject line: URGENT, then you’re likely dealing with a workaholic.
While everyone, particularly management admires the amazing productivity and dedication, they tend to forget that there’s a line between professional and personal.
Working overtime, all the time, is a sure way to fast track yourself to a career burnout. Unless it’s a legitimate emergency, try your best to ignore the late night weekend phone call and the inevitable following email, WhatsApp message, and Facebook inbox.
A little known fact about workaholics is that these attempts to show dedication, are often covering up underlying productivity insecurities that have nothing to do with their colleagues.
The Best Friend
Getting in there with the boss and hanging out after hours might seem like a good idea to work your way up the corporate ladder, but it often turns out a lot differently. With no concept of boundaries, you’ll soon find yourself being involved in every little detail of your boss’ life, from the good to the bad. Especially the bad.
You’ll eventually realise that you’re never out of contact and saying ‘no’ becomes harder with each passing day. Any little office disagreement suddenly involves you and you’ll be having to pick sides. They always warn you about romantic office relationships, but sometimes being friend zoned by your boss can be even worse.
The Incompetent Manager
Incompetence in the workplace comes in all shapes and sizes, from lacking necessary leadership skills to those who don’t know how to manage their own time. The issue is often that someone might be more than qualified for the job, look perfect on paper, and blow the interviewer away with their knowledge and experience, but often they lack the ability to lead people and give them the direction to work more efficiently. If you find yourself dealing with an incompetent manager, take the opportunity to prove your worth by taking initiative and organising yourself – just don’t let them take the credit for your success.