When Hating Colleagues Become A Norm

Being in an increasingly modernised world means having to deal with various ideologies and personalities. Gone are the days where behaviour conforms to the stereotype of your prescribed roles. The dynamics of behaviours have often itself integrated into a conducive workplace environment. The workplace environment has reinvented itself to be able to work cohesively and efficiently with a myriad of behaviours. As leaders and colleagues, being able to intermingle with these types of people is now a necessary prerequisite. Naturally being able to adapt is not easy, but here are some ways you can use to improve yourself.

1. Attempt to understand the people around you

Alexis is a teacher and is known to be strict. She dishes out harsh criticisms of her students’ behaviour when it gets unacceptable and has been a norm throughout her career. She does this through the decade and has seen a decent amount of students change for the better. In light of the statistical success, she finds little reason to change.

It is easy to cast judgement and blame onto a person for their behaviour. Yet it is neither helpful nor smart to do so. Constantly labelling an individual negatively may dampen their morale, and may thus impede their productivity in the office. For the more extreme (but common) cases, they may just retreat back into their cave and take the criticism you dish at them, but never change. To the untrained eye, Alexis’ has no reason to change her teaching methods. Being harsh has proven itself to be a worthy technique. Yet, there are several fallacies that fall into play. For instance, the past decade has (coincidentally) provided Alexis with students who respond well to candid remarks, but this may not hold as time progresses. Even then, there were still a decent amount of students who failed to respond to her technique. These entities could have benefitted from a change in technique, and being dealt with in their own required way.

There is importance in understanding the behavioural characteristics of these individuals as leaders in the workplace. Being able to rationalise their behaviour and how to work around it brings a world of a difference. Teachers are leaders to students, for they steer the misdirected back onto the correct path. The analogy of Alexis applies to individuals in every sector. Having the proper response techniques prevents some potentially important people to fall through the cracks and will ultimately improve productivity. Creating a group of people with different behavioural dynamics is also essential in creating a non-homogenous workplace, where only yes men exist. (Yes men do not push for productivity, but only affirm your ego.)

While feedback may be important, speaking your mind is not always the way to do so. Try tweaking your feedback mechanisms to fit the individual to get better results

2. Create different communication channels

Imagine getting shouted at during a meeting for a small blunder you made. You turn beetroot red, and you feel extremely embarrassed. Not exactly the best feeling. Now, what would you have preferred? For most, they would rather get their scoldings in a private conversation, away from prying eyes. Of course, there are some who wouldn’t mind a direct scolding but these people make up only a small percentage of the world’s population.

I remember reading an article where it spoke of a boss shouting at his staff for being late and using a handful of unnecessary (and distasteful) words. Let’s call the staff Lucas. Now, Lucas was a stellar individual and always got his work done and well. He never gave any problems to anyone and came to work on time. The day he came late was on the rare occasion when his child fell sick and he had to send him to the doctors before heading to work. So imagine then when he came to work, hoping to explain to his boss but only to be met with a litany of criticisms. Lucas tendered his resignation the next day. Now, of course the company can still function without Lucas, but just imagine the potential they lost out on just by not listening.

Companies in this day and age are focused only on results, and have no leeway for shortcomings. I’m not saying that we should be accepting of wrongful behaviour, but more so of trying to be understanding. There are many ways to deal with incorrect behaviours, but listening and observing helps you choose which one is most suitable.

Various communication channels have opened up in an age of technological advancements. Private conversations in the boss’ office have expanded into emails, where thoughts can be better developed and written to fit the individual’s feedback loop.

People development branches out into more than simple economic productivity but actually understanding how to get there in the first place. There are many people in the world who meet the same fate as Lucas. To make sure your company doesn’t lose out on stellar candidates like Lucas, try broadening your communication channels.

3. Keep an open mind

Being open to how people work eventually creates a more flexible and comfortable environment in the long-term. Constant interactions breeds better absorption of other behavioural traits and helps to empathise more. Having a first-hand experience also lets you better understand social cues.

Exposure to various people in the office helps create more opportunities to learn from the other behavioural traits and to better adapt to them. The maxim “practice makes perfect” is true in this aspect. In today’s VUCA world, it would make sense for us to not stagnate. We live in changing times, and behaviours follow suit. It would be wise for us to improve and adapt to the changing scenarios that surround us.

Try implementing a more social environment where people of different personalities can intermingle. Having opportunities of exposure allows for seamless transition into a state of adaptability.


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