One of the biggest things that professionals are often blinded by are actions that lead to workplace drama. Workplace drama is typically so heavily frowned upon by management that even a high-performers, who might be labeled as a “trouble-maker,” will often will be one of the first fired during downsizing or organizational realignment.
While I think you should try your best to avoid drama, it’s almost impossible to totally prevent it. Therefore, you must effectively manage your emotions and actions. Your ability to recognize and effectively navigate workplace drama is something that will add value to your career.
Here are 10 self-defeating workplace behaviors that can lead to drama, and actions you can take to combat these personality or interpersonal flaws.
Being bitter from an office romance that turned bad. Romancing in the office can be exciting and thrilling. However, more often than not, these fun experiences turn into nightmares. As a result, it makes the workplace very stressful and uncomfortable. And the worst part about this is that it can adversely impact your productivity. My best piece of advice is to simply stay away from office romances—especially when you both work directly in the same office or department.
Posting negative comments or photos on social media. Irresponsibly engaging on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms is perhaps the newest self-defeating behavior of the century. The scary part about these actions is that once you post it, it’s very difficult to claim, “I didn’t say or do that,” because somebody else probably took a screenshot of what you posted before you were able to delete it. Always remember the old saying, “Good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster.” Therefore, you must act responsibly by not posting or sharing anything on social media that you would regret getting back to your employer.
Being too self-centered and not a team player. Always focusing only on what’s important for your benefit is not good. Every so often, push your goals to the side and intentionally help someone else with their goals. Supporting others (even in the slightest way) will help you become known as a selfless and caring coworker.
Gossiping too much. While you may be popular among your colleagues because you have all the juicy information and stories, you are one of your boss’ biggest problems. Pay close attention to how many people come to you to either talk about someone or ask you for the inside scoop on something. If it’s often, then you’re gossiping too much. To improve this behavior, start sharing positive solutions instead of problems with everyone.
Holding grudges and back stabbing. At some point in your career, someone is probably going to do or say something that is offensive. Grudges often cause people to take revengeful actions that can come back to haunt them. Instead of holding grudges, you should forgive others so everyone can move forward. Release yourself from this stressor so you can prevent unnecessary encounters that increase the drama factor.
Being too competitive. Many popular TV shows like The Apprentice are all about competition. Some people carry this competitive disposition over into their profession thinking this will help them climb the ladder of success. However, while competition can be healthy and productive, too much of it can also be detrimental. Make sure you check your level of competitiveness to ensure that it’s not over the top. Most importantly, you never want to be so competitive to where you sabotage someone else’s career for your sake of advancement.
Being cocky. Although you may know your stuff, being arrogant about your skills and accomplishments will have you stuck on an island alone. Consequently, some people will have no desire to work or associate themselves with you. It’s OK for you to display confidence, but do it within reason.
Blaming others for your mistakes. No one is perfect and at some point everyone makes mistakes. However, it’s very important that you own up to your mistakes. Blaming others will only create tension and diminish credibility. Accept accountability for it so you can grow and move on from that experience.
Harboring a negative attitude. Negative people toxic and are often some of the most unfulfilled people at work due to their outlook on the work environment. They tend to stay stuck in the past and unwilling to change their mindset. If you are always negative, chances are that you will attract a lot of negative results. But when you shift to adopting a positive attitude, you will have a better chance at advancing and experiencing lower levels of stress.
Never giving others credit. Oftentimes, accomplishments are achieved with a team or supporting cast. Therefore, individuals who always bask in the glory without giving proper credit are often frowned upon. To avoid this, the next time you achieve a goal, thank those who helped make it happen. Giving praise will help you stand out as an appreciative team player.
What is one of the top self-defeating behaviors you’ve experienced in the office? Comment below or #Soundoff and follow Antoine Moss on Twitter @2PositiveTweets.
Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.