You know them — really rotten co-workers. It’s unclear clear how they’ve progressed as far as they have, but they’re here. They may be the person who sits in the cubicle next to you. (Yes, that close.) They may serve on a team with you. Unfortunately, they just may be your boss. During the course of your work and career, it’s likely you’ll meet more than one of these individuals — some of us sooner, rather than later. I’m sorry.
They don’t fully cross the line professionally (or legally). But, they are awful…rotten to the core. You know this. Somehow they have managed to miss every message concerning a healthy culture and camaraderie in the workplace. The worst part? They couldn’t care less. Getting ahead is all that matters.
I know — you sometimes fantasize about getting even. You might replace their Power Point presentation with something ridiculously embarrassing, or offer the wrong start time for an important meeting. But you know that deep in our heart, your daydreaming is just that…daydreaming. Because, you are not that person. (Their comeuppance will arrive, rest assured.)
The best thing you can do is to inoculate yourself against “rotten” — and never, ever fall into that category.
Some ideas for that:
- Lend a helping hand. Have you noticed that someone appears stressed or uncharacteristically frazzled? Step in and offer to help. We all have 5 minutes to help someone prepare for a presentation or sort through ideas. Step up. Rotten co-workers turn a blind eye to others in distress.
- Be the link. We all want to be a success — but it’s not a “zero sum” game. Rotten co-workers wouldn’t think to help anyone, but themselves, to move forward. Do you know someone that would be a great link for one of your colleagues? Make that introduction. It’s fuel for the “workplace soul”.
- Be transparent. We’ve all met that person who presents as one person — but is really another. Be upfront with your needs and motives. It just doesn’t pay in the longer term to be deceitful.
- Don’t be that jerk. Leaders remain our co-workers. However, sometimes that undeniable fact is ignored. If you hold a leadership position, don’t “lord” position power or the hierarchy over others. If you land a great promotion, keep this in mind. It’s gross. Really.
- Be someone’s champion. Changing attitudes and powering real change is difficult. If you see someone you really “has something”, join the crusade. Help them develop their idea and take it to the next level. Everyone wins.
- Above all — value the contribution of others. You know that guy who changed your slide without telling you? He missed the orientation memo concerning respecting the work of others. That kind of behavior is a no – no, if you want to stay out of “rotten” territory.
Have a rotten co-worker? Share your story here.
Photo Credit: Dailymobile.net
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and workplace strategist . She also writes at Linkedin.