“Your behaviour really annoys me:” The three biggest workplace gripes

A recent SmartCompany survey was created to take a look at the major gripes that people have in the office. These are things that range from the seemingly insignificant to major inconveniences.

Regardless of the severity, these gripes have a negative effect on our ability to produce our best work, so they need to be addressed.

Team leaders have a role in creating a fun motivating workplace where open communication and agreed behaviours are discussed and agreed.

Let’s explore the top three gripes in the workplace as listed by SmartCompany readers:

  • Unproductive meetings
  • Colleagues that make too many personal calls/social media time
  • Constant complaining

1. Unproductive meetings

Everyone is busy … very busy. If someone told you to work harder you would probably be a little offended because you probably already feel as though you are working to your peak. So what happens when someone schedules a meeting and takes up an hour or two of your time for no clear benefit? You get annoyed. And rightly so! Nobody should be using up their own, or anyone else’s precious time with meetings that do not serve a clear purpose.

But what can you do? The first step is to ask if you are actually required to be there. If you can’t get out of a meeting that you expect to be a time waster, then you should take part as much as possible to keep people on track. Ask what the agenda will be, push for outcomes rather than discussion or set your own goals in terms of creating discussions that you will benefit from. And stick to the agreed time allocation for the meeting.

2. Personal time at work time

The real gripe here runs deeper than just being annoyed at people making personal calls and using Facebook. The real frustration comes when work is piling up and that person isn’t getting it done and isn’t being held accountable. You then have to power through your own work and possibly work that should have been done by other people who have time for personal distractions.

Fear not – hard work is hard to ignore, and managers tend to have a good idea of who is pulling their weight and who isn’t. On the other hand, if you start asking a manager to hold another team member accountable, it can reflect on you quite badly. Fairly or unfairly, if you begin to point the finger at others you can appear as a negative influence on the team.

The best thing to do is to speak to your manager about how work should be divided fairly in the office, and just to emphasise your role and current output in this area. Also get agreed guidelines for personal use of Facebook and personal calls. The amount of time spent on Facebook doesn’t always detract from workplace productivity. In fact, some argue and show evidence for higher rates of productivity from Facebook users!

3. Constant complaining

Complaining is a natural part of dealing with adversity, large or small. Constant complaining, however, is a terrible thing that drags down everyone in the office. If you fill the air with negativity then everyone else has to overcome your negative waves to return to a positive/productive mindset. That is an effort that doesn’t need to happen if the complaining isn’t there in the first place.

If you find yourself complaining too much then focus on what you can do to change the situation. If you are on the receiving end, make it clear that you don’t want to hear constant complaining, and for every complaint must come a suggestion for improvement. It will soon stop.

So many of these irritations can be addressed by being more aware of the effect we have on others, and by being clearer about what we expect others to do around us. By focusing on these two aspects of interpersonal communication we become much more effective. It starts with great team leader behaviours!

Eve Ash will be presenting two half day workshops at AIM in Melbourne THIS Thursday, November 15 on Creating a Motivating Culture and in two weeks on Thursday, November 29 on Presenting with Impact. There are still a few available places for Melbourne-based readers.

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