Visualize the people on your job. You recognize their faces. You know what time they arrive for their shift and whether they need coffee to get started or check their email as a first action item of the day. You know who tolerates each other, and who appear to genuinely work well together. Within that space, you have occasionally observed or overheard inappropriate communication or treatment between your colleagues. Maybe you intentionally intervened, or inserted yourself to diffuse the situation. Remember the meeting when a colleague berated another team member and how embarrassed you felt? The utter devastation on the face of the team member who was the target?
It is not uncommon to know an employees who suffers from workplace bullying or uncivility. As a result, they end up feeling depressed or resigning in the profession they have chosen.
The average working adult spends more than one third of their lives at work. Encountering workplace issues on a daily basis can be a major contribute to the stress levels in a worker. In an ideal world, every worker’s personalities, roles and expectations would work perfectly together. Ideal, but not realistic.
Different issues at workplace can cause undesirable psychological symptoms. A study revealed that perceived workplace stress, is linked with a higher occurrence of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Fortunately, there are many ways on how to deal with this situation. A worker who suffers discrimination, bullying or other work issues can discuss their challenges or stress with a skilled mental health professional to help them personally and professionally.
Other common workplace issues that any employees can experience include:
- interpersonal conflict
- poor job fit
- performance issues
- low job satisfaction and motivation
- communication problems
Frequently cited issues within the workplace are communication, harassment, bullying, gossip as well as motivation and morale issues. How they play out have a tendency to vary from place to place. Still, executives and managers in most situations have the opportunity to acknowledge the issue, and set the best course action to address issues. Taking a proactive position and enacting appropriate workplace policies to address the expected behaviors and potential consequences may be seen by workers as a positive step in the right direction. Additionally, observing the team dynamics and workplace behavior on a regular basis with periodic discussion and review will help to reduce unwanted behaviors in the working environment.
Communication between employee and management is very frequent one of the major reasons why workplace issues occur. Executive leadership and direct management can be as uncaring or cold-hearted if he/she is not open to listen or implement necessary solutions that would really make life more efficient or easier for workers. In turn, employees can lose their respect. Oftentimes, bitterness and resentment follow.
Workplace bullying, which frequently goes hand-in-hand with harassment is among the most dangerous workplace problems. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute 2003 Abusive Workplaces Survey, some of the most frequently cited tactics experienced by bullied targets include:
- falsely accused someone of “errors” not actually made
- stared, glared, was nonverbally intimidating and was clearly showing hostility
- discounted the person’s thoughts or feelings (“oh, that’s silly”) in meetings
- used the “silent treatment” to “ice out” & separate from others
- exhibited presumably uncontrollable mood swings in front of the group
Source: http://www.workplacebullying.org/top-25/ )
As a result of the behavior, the outcomes to the organization, teams and individual targets results in higher medical costs, dysfunctional teams, unhappy workers and dissatisfied customers.
Gossip is another very common problem that can harm relationships and reduce productivity of teams, people and worse, whole divisions. It is normal to become interested in the lives of your co-workers, but gossip rages on sensitive issues like potential workplace romance, appearance, communication style, cultural issues, etc. The result is increased atmosphere of workplace negativity.
Being dissatisfied with the work is also another issue which impacts the bottom-line of a business. It is no secret that a balanced life outside of work can improve morale. Employees who desire to make the best out of their working conditions can better navigate their career relationships and increase job satisfaction. When those steps do not generate an improvement in working relationships, many choose plan B – updating resumes and reigniting the job search. Taking back the power in your career can shift the focus from the difficult workplace situation to the actively improving the path to your next job.
Certainly, it is indeed difficult coping with frequent issues in a business environment. However, taking advantage of mentors, health care professionals, and proactively planning our workplace behavior strategies can help to successfully manage the situation and boost more your self-confidence in your workplace relationships.
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About Michel Hobson
Michel Hobson is a workplace training consultant, speaker and author. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Flipboard.
#Workplace Civility #Communication
(this blogpost was originally posted 3/24/16 on HobsonTraining.com; updated 8/11/2016)