Seven things people do that stuff up relationships at work

The one thing that all companies have in common is relationships, external and internal. No company is truly successful while stuff-ups of the following kind are occurring.

Looking and behaving like a victim

Unless you’ve resorted to plastic surgery or Botox, our faces eventually reflect our personalities and can be a huge giveaway, particularly if a person is habitually resorting to the same behaviour. You probably know someone who wears the guise of victimhood. Their cringing posture, their whingey voice, sad sack mannerisms or big mournful eyes all yell out “kick me!”

Well, you wouldn’t do that to a dog, so we shouldn’t to people either. Make time to find out what’s stressing this person, and unobtrusively help them to gain or regain confidence. It’s not always unfortunate personality traits that cause them to be this way; sometimes, life has dealt them a very bad hand. No one deserves to remain in a rut. 

Criticising and mimicking others


Children often mimic others, as a way to learn, but at work it’s best to avoid this crude form of characterising your fellow workers.  Being critical has its place – when it involves an analysis of merit that is based on sound knowledge of an area – but it can also be destructive. Ask the critic to find a more constructive way to progress matters than simply shredding. Mimicking and criticising people behind their backs, and gossiping about others, leads to a toxic undesirable culture. And if people find out what is being said about them it can lead to loss of confidence, depression and despair. If you give critical feedback, or want to show/explain how a person behaves, do it professionally.

Blaming others as soon as something goes wrong


Some sneaky types specialise in blaming others. They are quick to point the finger and convincingly protest that others are to blame. Be aware of these “operators” and keep tabs on what really is going on. Sometimes the person who made the stuff-up is not actually the true cause of the problem. And as with all mistakes, be open to why and what can be shared and learned rather than get mileage out of who made the mistake. I always feel pleased to hear people carefully analysing problems and assessing their own responsibility in the issues.

Avoiding helping or doing any extra


Some loud mouths are very good at throwing weight around, directing others and big noting but are strangely absent and never work back when a big job is on or when extra help is needed. Do these people possess an overly developed sense of their merits and worth, and an under-developed sense of their role in a team, or are they blinded by their “me” world? 

Making mistakes and not caring


If this is you – what is going on? Are you bored, in the wrong job, going through a crisis? Get help. If it is someone in your team, you’ve either hired the wrong person or something else is badly wrong. Make time to speak with this person to learn what’s going on. They may be allergic to their co-workers or dealing with an emotional impasse of some kind. See to it they get help and explain that you and the team cannot afford this kind of problem in future. Don’t make the mistake of not attending to this problem, yourself!

Making pathetic excuses


Sometimes we deny our procrastination, poor work or inability to get something done on time. Or we make a mistake or don’t face up to a tough task ahead. So we make excuses to ourselves then excuses to others rather then being direct. And of course it’s invariably a pathetic excuse. Own up to what’s been done and promise to remedy matters as quickly as possible. If you fix your underlying issues, you won’t need to make excuses for poor work or lateness.

Making a judgmental comment with no factual basis


Life is all about gaining knowledge as we mature and shifting from ignorance to wisdom. Sadly some people don’t shift. They are those who luxuriate in passing judgment. It’s very easy to do, especially without any facts. Before you know it, others are wading in. Sometimes it’s best to just shut up, even if you think you know what’s going on. There’s already enough people out there, passing ill-informed judgment and causing quite a lot of damage. Why should you join the crowd? In fact take the opportunity to build knowledge and expertise … then come back to a better position and gain respect not disdain.


Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs  Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace. See the rest of Eve’s blogs here


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments