Certain behaviors and actions can cause a negative work vibe and can make a difference in the company culture environment.
With a change in workplace settings, how we interact daily with others and our consideration to each other can signify the work vibe a team has. It can be easy to overlook small things like how we go about our day daily and treat our office space and those around us. Yet, the environment we build and not only create but let our team create helps to either support the company culture or bring it down.
What are some seemingly harmless things that can happen in the workplace?
It’s easy to see your work area as your own personal haven, a world that is separate from others, a few feet away or in a remote location. Problem is that whether you are interacting remotely or in your cubicle there are a few overlooked things that can irritate your team members.
Many leaders choose to classify this as common day-to-day minor stuff and take the do nothing route. As a leader, you may want to take a different approach and support your team in fostering a better work vibe environment.
The following 10 items are some ways your team may be fostering a negative work vibe and some ways to help address them.
1. Talking over people & interrupting.
You get excited or know what they are about to say so you finish the person’s sentence or better yet say the “OK, ok, I got it”. Not letting them finish their statement is inconsiderate. Or worse, walking away when they are still talking!
It is important to give the other person the opportunity to have their moment and state completely what they have to say. This let’s them know they are valued and what they say is significant.
Instead, let them finish their sentence and listen attentively. You’ll have your turn to respond. If your team member is continuously interrupting, keep right on talking. By keeping on talking you are causing them to stop talking so they can hear you finish.
If they interrupt during a meeting, let them know they can state their point once the person is done talking. Be sure to give them their moment once done and stay consistent on doing this and they will know they have to let others finish to state their points.
2. Endless complaining.
Have you had that team member that is always seemingly unhappy, angry and complaining constantly? They bring up negativity with everyone else – indicating there is a major problem. Sighing, whining, complaining 24/7… you get the picture. This creates a negative work vibe not just for the complainer but those around them as well.
If that is you, it may be time to discuss what the problem is and see how it can be addressed. Take note of what is the recurring issue and bring it to attention.
If it is your team member doing this, don’t feed on that negativity. As a leader it is ok to ask them what has them unhappy and how you can help. There may be issues that need to be addressed by the company and they may not have felt comfortable saying it.
3. Coming to work sick.
We all want to be the hero and come in sick when we shouldn’t. When someone is sick they are not working up to speed and productive. It can be disruptive to others and result in them working double. Worse, one person that is contagious can get everyone else sick. Don’t spread the germs and stay at home.
If you are the team leader, don’t make them work sick! It is not productive for them and their health and you are risking everyone else’s health for the sake of the bottom line.
4. Ignoring personal boundaries.
Emergency calls are one thing.. but personal calls (family, friends, bills, finances) are just that -personal. Also, clipping your nails, flossing, smelly lunch … you get the picture! If you do have a brick and mortar workplace, its not considerate of others when excessive time is taken doing some of these personal things.
Step outside if you need to take that call. Save the personal grooming for the rest room-or home. As a leader, if your team member is taking numerous personal calls or actions that are outside “work” boundaries, a personal conversation may be needed if they are being intrusive to others.
5. Disregarding email etiquette.
The empty subject line. Sending emails using slang or texting language. Misspelled words.
This has happened to all of us at one point or another. Now I’m not talking about the occasional joke or “LOL” between team members. This is the one that is always sending emails, without taking the time to spell check or care how it is written, using the email as their chat room.
Email etiquette is much more important nowadays with most of us using it as our primary form of communication.
Have email templates for business operations that your team can follow to help give them a guideline of what the expectations are when sending emails regarding work. It is up to you and your team to choose to have a laid back casual or formal way of emailing but keeping it consistent and professional across the whole team will eliminate any uncomfortable vibes the recipients of that email may feel.
6. Taking advantage of flexible perks.
It’s great when a company is flexible but when that person is always the last one to arrive & the first one to leave and they pick up your slack- its noticeable.
If you are the team leader keep it fair with everyone as is important to ensure that everyone feels valued and there is no preferential treatment. A sure-fire way to kill a positive culture environment is when one team member gets away with everything while others have to pick up the slack .
Treat everyone by the same rules. I can’t stress this one enough. You can have a fantastic environment with excellent perks but if you are visibly playing favorites this causes resentment and a negative vibe between you and that team members and among the team. Review your policies for each of them and see if they are unfairly benefiting one over another.
7. Being nosy or a gossip.
Gossiping is fact of life, whether we like it or not. In a small workplace setting it can undermine the relationship that the team has with each other as it can eventually get back to that person.
This is not high school, gossiping is just unnecessary and becomes toxic at a certain point. Take them aside and let them know it is not tolerated in this work place if your team is involved in gossiping.
Not everyone has to be in on that conversation. If the question or conversation is not directed at a certain team member, it’s ok to ignore it and let them have a private conversation.
Respect goes a long way for everyone around.
8. Taking advantage of the dress code.
Yes, I’m going there. There are different rules to office casual and some companies are jeans and t-shirts while others have an office business casual guideline-or no code at all. If everyone else is following the dress code and one person is not, it can be irritating your team members.
Having your team follow office guidelines and this includes dress codes shows that it is an equal standard that everyone has to abide by. Make it clear what super casual, corporate, business casual is so there is no confusion. Be very clear of what is expected of them. You don’t want to be strict if the rules don’t make sense for your business but having a guideline everyone can follow and clearly understand is key.
9. Passing the buck.
This one can irritate team members quicker then anything else! If a team member doesn’t take responsibility for their share of the blame if something goes wrong, it shows a lack of respect to everyone else. Usually this person can be one that is quick to take credit when something goes right but deflects the negative stuff. Worse, if they unfairly delegate their responsibilities and take credit it’s a recipe for disaster = negative work vibe.
As a team leader, set boundaries with the team and be clear of who’s responsible for the share of work. Have a clear designation of what can be delegated and what cannot be. If there are issues with setting boundaries consider talking to your team member to understand what is the reason behind their behavior. Sometimes it can be they are overwhelmed or may lack knowledge in that area.
10. Being rude and domineering.
Have you ever overheard a team member be rude to someone else and done nothing? When people look the other way to this behavior because the person may be a great employee that delivers it is problematic. Being rude and domineering with others is a form of bullying and although they may not consciously intend to cause harm, its damaging to the team. This doesn’t just include talking like that to fellow team members. Once this kind of talk is accepted in the workplace it can happen with clients, vendors and others- making it worse. Talking to anyone like that is a BIG negative as they should be treated with respect at all times.
First, start by training your team leaders and team to be mindful of how they talk to each other and clients. It is important to set boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn’t and this starts with have clear guidelines, a written company culture and systems of operations for them to understand.
If there is already a problem, there are workshops available helping them identify this type of behavior and helping them learn how to be more empathic with each other. If you do have a team member exhibiting this behavior putting an immediate stop to it by addressing it with them is needed before it becomes more toxic.
It may vary based on the company setting and culture, but these things matter in a team.
Big or small irritations, they all have one thing in common, LACK of consideration of others.
If you fall in any of these categories, and be honest here- we have all fallen into one – (or two!)at a time, its time to be considerate of others. If you see someone from your team doing this continuously, see if it is causing an issue. It may just be developing animosity between them and the rest of the team.
When there is animosity and resentment it can lead to not just a negative work vibe but also a lack of productivity, burnout, no motivation and some looking to leave. Before you know it – a small problem become a BIG problem.
As a leader, start by getting feedback from your team to see if there is a negative work vibe.
First, let them know and feel assured that it’s ok to report any problems to help resolve the situation.
Some questions to ask are:
- Is there anything negative in our workplace that impacts your productivity?
- What do you find distracting and inconvenient in our workplace?
- Do you have any suggestions on how we can help?
The problem when it’s kept quiet it fosters a negative work vibe environment that makes it more tense for everyone. Once you know what is important to your team help develop a culture that is considerate of everyone.
When you do have to speak to someone privately to address the problem. set up a private meeting. Do not single anyone out as the complainer and advise them of what behavior you have observed. You may be surprised they may not have realized their behavior. Be sure to ask for their feedback and how you can support them.
The best way to inspire good considerate behavior in the workplace is by being a leader and exhibiting considerate behavior yourself towards everyone. This will result in a more positive work vibe.
Need help in addressing some of these problems in your team and support in leadership training? Contact me today to schedule a consultation.