Editor’s Notes: Maren Hogan
Almost every office has people that can be a nightmare to work with, and yours is probably no different, coworkers that make you break into a cold sweat just thinking about them. Yet like a fear of the dark or the monster under your bed, shedding light on what scares us can lessen the fear, so here is some info about the scariest people to work with, hopefully learning about the problem can help you sleep at night. Readers beware, you’re in for a SCARE!
Almost every office has people that can be a nightmare to work with. Learn about the 6 worst ones: Click To Tweet
1: The Micromanager
Nothing is worse than being given a task or project from your boss or whoever is above you, and then having them ask you about it every few minutes, checking every single piece of progress you’ve made (or are willing to lie about). The constant pestering can make checking your Gmail or interoffice communication a heart racing experience. Are they going to ask me about those reports for the 20th time today? You think to yourself as you click to open your inbox. In fact, micromanaging is so hated that it’s been proven to lower productivity.
It’s important to remember when dealing with a micromanager that they just want to make sure that the task gets done in a timely fashion and that everything is correct. They most likely don’t realize what a crippling effect their obsessive actions have. While it’s impossible to change a micromanager, you can prove yourself by hitting every deadline, ensuring trust by handling tasks you say you’ll handle and avoiding mistakes in your work. Once you feel you’ve done all the above, then speak to your micromanager and show them you’ve proven consistent results and see if they won’t give you a break on the next project so you can try some of your own ideas.
2: The Crusher
While “The Crusher” would make a great title to a B grade horror film I am talking about something much, much scarier, someone that has an obsessive crush on you in the workplace. Workplaces are rather social places, whether your office just has a water cooler and some sad tables for lunch or if they have a wet bar and ping pong table, you are going to interact with your coworkers in one way or another. That can make crushes inevitable in some offices, both men and women are guilty of it now and again.
It’s when it gets in the way of work that it can become a problem. Workflow and productivity can take a real hit when you have to plan your route to and from the bathroom to be away from your stalker. Detaching the love-lorn leech can be very difficult but there are many handy guides for putting a stop to it before it goes too far. Dealing with the crush-prone employee can be delicate so make sure your entire office understands what is, and is not acceptable workplace talk or behavior. If necessary, write it into your employee handbook and require your employees to sign off.
3: The Talker
While less scary sounding than The Crusher, working with The Talker can be its own type of hell that can be difficult to escape from. While an overly friendly coworker that just wants to talk to you about the game or last night’s episode of Scandal doesn’t sound bad on paper it can make getting work done impossible. When you walk into the office and find the talker there you can get sucked in by simply saying hello, which spawns a conversation about the weekend or what you did last night, which expands to TV, which expands to movies, which expands to what kind of soda and candy you like, until it’s 12 pm and you’ve missed out on half the day! THAT is the horror of The Talker. Their words are the machete and your productivity is the sex-crazed teenager. In fact, over talkative co-workers are one of the top killers of productivity out there. When it comes to the Talker, try to always have a method of escape in the form a something important to do, or pretend to get a phone call, or jump out a window… whichever is easiest.
Over talkative co-workers are one of the top killers of productivity out there. Read more: Click To Tweet
Hopefully, your boss or manager has noticed the talker in your midst and will take steps to stem the verbal tide. If not, you may have to approach the boss yourself. Here are some ideas straight from Red Branch:
- Buy everyone some nice, cushy headphones and institute “radio silent” time. This is designed to respect everyone’s work and focus.
- Allow five-minute gab fests every hour or so and wrap them at the 10 min mark. Remind employees this adds up to a total of an hour and a half over the course of the day.
- Install and USE a company intranet. Let the communicators have their fun there.
- Have company walks. It’s better for employees, allows brain break time, and solves the issue of gabbing.
4: The Hanger-On
If you have a boss you have probably seen The Hanger-On, the person that is always there to agree with the boss and suck up as much as possible. They often times will be difficult to work with if you don’t like what the boss is doing and honestly, they might not care about you at all since you aren’t in charge. While this might not seem like the scariest thing out there, when you have to do the work of two people while Johnson is off kissing ass it can be a terrifying time. Really, there isn’t much to understand here, Hanger-Ons are about as complex as Scooby Doo villains, “If I kiss ass I don’t have to do work but still get rewards.” Really, the best approach is to deal with them upfront or tell the boss, they might get tired of it too.
If the hanger-on is impeding your ability to do work, then go around them. And if your career is stalling, figure out if you need to start kissing a little ass yourself. Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur!
5: The Over Worker
Everyone wants the company they work at to succeed, some just for the paycheck, but chances are you like your company enough to not want to see it burn to the ground. The Over Worker is really the logical conclusion of that hard worker mentality. This persona gives 150% on every task they ever do. If you ask them to write a one-page report, be prepared to read the great American novel on the subject of last month’s expenses. This person sounds more like the hero of a story rather than the monster, right? Well, to management, maybe, but for people that have to constantly match The Over Worker’s energy and enthusiasm it can be frustrating. Long hours and no breaks can make productivity take a nosedive. Any complaints about this to management or to The Over Worker themselves are usually met with the old, “You’re just worried they are making you look bad” fallacy. Honestly, the best way to handle these people is to just do you and let them do them. If you are worried about them edging out your job then don’t be, they’ll run themselves to death if they don’t learn to have a work life balance.
6. The UnderAchiever
Getting partnered with an underachiever is the worst. From elementary school to the modern workforce, these people have been sliding under the radar for so long, it’s comical. You know the type, they do the bare minimum and take all the credit. Underachievers count on not getting called out for their lazy behavior because, let’s face it, hardly anyone likes confrontation or a tattle-tale. Undermine your underachiever by making them responsible for one task start to finish and using project management software to track time. Perhaps you can find a reason for their lack of motivation and help them step up to the employee they were meant to be.