Are you the co-worker that drives everyone else crazy?
It's possible. A recent study, conducted by Olivet Nazarene University, asked 2,000 American workers if they've ever found themselves annoyed by another co-worker, and (yep, you guessed right) 100 percent of respondents said yes.
What's even more shocking is that 73 percent said they've been confronted by another co-worker about their own annoying behaviors. If you identify with any of the most annoying co-worker habits below, you might just be that one unbearable person in your office.
Forty-nine percent of respondents said they are most annoyed by co-workers who feel the need to announce each and every one of their thoughts, especially the negative ones.
Not sure if this is you? Consider how much you share at work each day. Do you speak your mind on every subject? Do you see yourself as a pessimist when it comes to work-related matters? Do you always feel the need to one-up everyone's story? Do you often announce your emotions or complaints? Doing any (or all) of these things can be self-sabotaging to your reputation.
Thirty-two percent said they have at least one co-worker who loves to gossip and bully others. This is the person who loves to talk about other people the moment they are out of earshot. They also find pleasure in saying things that are meant to confuse or hurt others.
If you find yourself constantly thinking about how other co-workers fall short as human beings, this is probably you. The next time you feel another co-worker has done something wrong (or simply something that bugged you), think about how you would benefit from confronting them or gossiping about them to someone else in the office. Of course, if it's a serious matter that calls for attention, it's best to politely talk to them or consult a direct supervisor.
Twelve percent said they've been bother by a peer who has poor bathroom or eating habits.
Are you a loud eater who often brings pungent foods to the office? You might fall under this category if you find co-workers trying to avoid having lunch with you. And if you happen to be the in restroom with someone else, and you leave before washing your hands, that other person will take note. People pay attention to personal hygiene, and if yours is not up to par, it could put a dent on your reputation.
Six percent said their most annoying co-workers are the ones who write rude or ill-constructed emails. They are also typically known to be dominating or disruptive in meetings.
Do co-workers avoid communicating with you online? Do they stop talking and look away when you speak in meetings? Or do the classic eye roll? These are all warning signs that your communication skills are causing you to lose respect in the office.
Being more self-aware is the first step to improving your situation. In my experience as an HR executive, the majority of "annoying" employees are completely unaware of their actions. So if you were able to admit to any of the habits above, you're headed one step toward the right direction.
Start by looking for and observing the nonverbal clues your co-workers might be giving. Once you realize that your peers are turned off by your habits, it will be easier to identify and get rid of them. If you find yourself struggling, a great book to read is "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. In it, he explains practical ways to eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones.
Let's call her Jane. A few months into her new job, Jane got the sense that people on her team did not enjoy working with her. Jane is a talker, but her constant oversharing led teammates to question her professionalism in the workplace.
Jane came to this conclusion one day after she caught herself venting to another co-worker about problems in her personal life. Jane had noticed that the co-worker was making uncomfortable facial expressions and awkward body gestures during their conversation.
Believe it or not, Jane is actually very good at her job, but she was lacking in the social coping and interpersonal skills department. Jane thought that by sharing her personal problems, she could more easily bond with her peers. In reality, it was only alienating her.
My advice to Jane? Tally up how many times in a day she shares non-related work information, while also keeping track of how much her peers shared in return.
Being more mindful and calculative of these things will help her realize and accept that she shares too much, and too frequently. The goal is to identify and accept your negative behaviors. You can't develop good habits if you don't know your bad ones.
Once Jane is aware of her annoying habits, she can start to shift her communication style and engage with her co-workers in a more professional way.
Nobody's perfect. But having been a career coach for several years, I've seen plenty of talented people have their careers plateau due to having a bad reputation in the office.
In order to climb the ladder, you need to demonstrate that you can get things done, and that you can work with virtually anyone to make it happen. Being respected for the quality of your work and liked by your peers is the winning combination for professional success.
J.T. O'Donnell is the founder and CEO of Work It Daily, an online platform dedicated to helping people solve their biggest career problems. She has more than 15 years of experience in HR, recruiting and career coaching. Follow her on Twitter @jtodonnell.
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