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Coach Kim: Are you the annoying co-worker in your office?

By Kim Giles, Contributor | Posted - Jun. 15, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Along with being a life coach, I also provide people skills training to companies and organizations. I have been thinking lately about some of the bad workplace behaviors that can annoy co-workers, ruin the atmosphere at work, or even sabotage your career.

Here are 10 common annoying workplace behaviors to watch for:

1. Do you have trouble accepting feedback?

In the workplace, it is critical that you are open to any and all feedback that could help you learn and grow. Feedback cannot diminish your value as a person (because nothing can). You are the same you with the same value as every other person, no matter what feedback you get. Great employees accept constructive feedback and even ask for it. Being confident enough to receive good feedback can even launch you forward.

2. Do you complain about the company or organization?

Do you have a tendency to focus on what’s wrong in everything around you? If you aren’t happy with yourself, you might tend to focus on the bad in others to distract yourself from your own faults or misfortunes. If you don’t feel safe in the world, you will also be on watch for anything that doesn’t seem right. If this sounds like you, get some help to work on your self-esteem and your sense of security in the world. Then fight the urge to verbalize everything you think. Try talking less, listening more and focusing on the positive.

3. Do you hesitate to speak up and take risks?

Both a fear of failure and a fear of loss can cause you to keep your ideas to yourself and just do the minimum to stay under the radar. This tactic might feel safe, but it won’t open doors for you. Also watch for feeling entitled to promotions just because you’ve been there awhile. Promotions are given to those who take initiative, stretch out of their comfort zone, and go above and beyond the call of duty.

4. Do you lack confidence?

If you don’t believe in yourself and are afraid you don’t cut it, others will pick up on this and won’t believe in you either. If you can tell this is your challenge, seek out some professional help to change the way you determine your own value.

5. Are you overly dramatic, emotional or unprofessional at work?

If your insecurities cause tears, breakdowns, yelling or other emotional scenes at work, this can also hold you back. This behavior is unprofessional and makes people lose respect for you. If you bring your personal problems to work, you may need to get some professional help to work on this. Don’t expect your co-workers to be your therapists.

6. Do you struggle to get along with other co-workers?

Your ability to create good relationships is what drives your value at work. If you create people problems or always end up in the middle of them, this diminishes your value to your employer. If you lack people skills, I suggest you seek out some training to improve them. Improve your communication skills and learn how to handle tough conversations with kindness. A good life coach or counselor could help you.

7. Are you late or undependable?

If you are always running behind, your co-workers could start to see you as irresponsible and someone they cannot count on. If you struggle with this, set your watch, phone and other clocks ahead of the actual time and be committed to becoming punctual.

8. Do you get bothered or offended too easily?

If you are on the lookout for mistreatment, even at a subconscious level, you will find it. We always find what we are looking for. Great employees have thick skin and can let a lot of small offenses and irritations go. They learn to not take things personally and understand that most of other people’s behavior is about their own fears and not about you.

9. Do you take credit for other people’s work, or are you a know-it-all?

Be someone who is quick to give credit where it is due, show gratitude, and let other people shine. Employees who don’t need the spotlight and can encourage others are more likely to be promoted. Watch yourself for being a know-it-all and talking too much. Don’t dominate conversations or always "one-up" another person’s story or comment. These behaviors can drive co-workers crazy. Make sure this isn’t you.

10. Do you create more problems than you solve?

If you create more problems than you solve, your days as an employee at your company could be numbered. Your employer can’t afford to keep you on staff if your drama affects productivity. If you want to rise through the ranks, focus on what you are giving and contributing to productivity on a daily basis. Be a problem solver, not a problem creator.

A few other really annoying behaviors include spending work time on your cellphone, calling for pointless meetings, eating smelly food at your desk, stealing food that doesn’t belong to you from the office fridge, being messy, or trying to sell co-workers your latest MLM products. These are annoying behaviors you definitely want to avoid.

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If you can see any of these behaviors in yourself, I strongly encourage you to change them. If you have to deal with annoying coworkers who are behaving badly, here are a few suggestions.

  • Ignore them as much as possible. Stay away from people who gossip or have a negative attitude at work. The less attention you give these people, the better.
  • Have a mutually validating conversation. If you can come from a place of caring (without judgment), you might be able to help them see their inappropriate behavior without creating more drama in the process.
  • If you are confronted by an angry or upset co-worker, ask for some time to process their complaint before responding. This will prevent you from reacting and saying things you may regret. It will also give you time to step back and see the person and their situation accurately. Remember that most anger stems from fear (of failure and loss). Also, remember that this person cannot actually hurt or diminish you because your value is infinite and absolute.
  • Don’t worry about people who talk behind your back. They are behind you for a reason. In the end, they usually just sabotage themselves while those who are focused on adding value always rise to the top.

You can do this.

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