When did it become “OK” for people to behave badly at work? I receive numerous inquiries about how to deal with difficult people at work. Furthermore, the whole concept of teamwork is built upon people learning how to work together as effectively as possible.
Many organizations have lofty visions and mission statements. Do the individuals who write those mission statements, really live the principles espoused in them? Does the rest of the organization understand what is expected of them in order to behave according to those principles? Based on the inquiries I receive, I would have to say “not”. This is truly unfortunate.
If your “best” performer is a bully, is he/she really performing at his/her best? You have to wonder how wonderfully this person could perform, what great accomplishments he/she could achieve, if he/she behaved better. Negative behavior is not productive in the long run; not for the negative person and not for those who work with this person. Nonproductive behavior impacts the bottom line. Behavior that is more productive will favorably impact the bottom line.
Organizations are slow to embrace this idea because patterns of behavior have been practiced for a long time and have been accepted as these behaviors are allowed to continue. Sometimes there are co-existing or conflicting subcultures because each subculture is linked to a different management team. Changing organizational culture is a “top down” job. Managers may not see the need to change. The culture appears to be working for them. In reality, many conflicts are brewing and will surface in a variety of overt and subtle ways. It all impacts the bottom line sooner or later.
One of the easiest conflict resolution techniques is the use of “I” statements. When you say things like, “He makes me so angry!” you are admitting that you have given away your control to the other person. Additionally, the other person feels attacked and goes on the defensive.
The results are unproductive. Instead of beginning your statement with “you” begin saying, “I feel angry when you miss a deadline because it puts a lot of pressure on me.”
You can then ask for what you want or need. For example, “I need you to finish your report by the deadline so I have enough time to do my part.”
If it doesn’t solve the problem, at least you have taken responsibility for your own feelings and you have not given your control away to another person.