What’s wrong with us?
Before we can talk about fixing faulty behavior, we must identify the most common faults. I hasten to add that these are a very specific breed of flaws.
They are not flaws of skill. I can’t fix that. If this was a baseball team and I was a coach, I’m not the guy to teach you how to hit a hanging curve ball. That’s the hitting instructor’s job. I’m the coach who teaches you how to get along with your teammates – how to play nice rather than how to play baseball. Nor are they flaws in intelligence. It’s too late for me to make you smarter. If that’s the issue, the causative events probably occurred somewhere between birth and the time you left college. I wasn’t around. And I couldn’t have helped anyway. Nor are they flaws of unchangeable personality. We’re not attempting psychiatry here, and we can’t deliver vital pharmacological medication via a book. Consult an M.D.
What we’re dealing with here are challenges in interpersonal behavior, often leadership behavior. They are the egregious everyday annoyances that make your workplace substantially more noxious than it needs to be. They don’t happen in a vacuum. They are transactional flaws performed by one person against others. They are:
Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when its totally beside the point.
Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion
Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them
Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty
Starting with “No”, “But” or “However”. The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone “I’m right, you’re wrong”
Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are
Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool
Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work“. The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked
Withholding Information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others
Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward
Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success
Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it
Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else
Playing favourites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly
Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others
Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues
Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners
Punishing the messenger: The misguided eed to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us
Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves
An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are