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Not a ‘Morning Person’?

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Not a ‘Morning Person’?

Everyone deserves to be able to go to work and not feel intimidated or like they are constantly on the receiving end of someone else’s bad mood. I always thought it was an exaggeration when I would occasionally come across someone who said they had a terrible boss.  Probably because I had only ever worked with people who were pretty good. That was, until I started a consulting role in a company where the person I was reporting to could be described as nothing short of a tyrant. This person (who will not be named for obvious reasons) literally bangs on their desk with a fist and throws their phone down on the table when reading an email that isn’t pleasing, often several times a day. Heading to the office in the morning fills you with dread because you simply don’t know what sort of scenario you will be walking in to for the day.

Often when a person is behaving badly, they will find ways to justify it, or not even believe they’re doing anything wrong. Herein lies the problem. How do you make someone realise (or accept) that they are making others feel uncomfortable in the workplace? Below are 10 ideas for you to think about if you’re dreading a certain someone at work.

  1. Leave the room and give the person time to cool off if they are behaving unprofessionally. This will hopefully let them know their actions are impacting others negatively.
  2. Put your earphones in. This one sends a pretty clear message.
  3. Ask them if they’re ok. This will draw their attention to their own behaviour. It can be a bit dangerous however, so be careful here. A friend of mine once said to a colleague who was ranting excessively in a meeting ‘gee your face is pretty red, you seem very angry’. Interestingly, this comment diffused their colleague’s outburst and they had no choice but to calm down. Calling their behaviour, if done the right way, can work with some people.
  4. Book a meeting with them and have a chat about it. This one is hard because it is confrontational and some people run a mile from situations like this. Other people enjoy a confrontation. There is a middle ground. You can get your point across without being like a raging bull, and you also don’t need to sit meekly in the corner. Keep the emotion out, just discuss the facts.
  5. If a face-to-face is not your thing, try constructing a professional email which outlines the behaviour and send it to the culprit and/or their manager, or even HR. Ensure you don’t get personal here, stick to the facts. When a person’s behaviour is consistently inappropriate, chances are you won’t be the first (or the last) to bring it up.
  6. Arrange a session in your next ‘team-building’ day which covers appropriate workplace behaviour and how to treat others with respect. There are lots of games and exercises that can be useful for things like this. We once ran a session like this at a place I used to work, and the person who needed to attend the most didn’t show up because they felt it wasn’t relevant for them. Make sure it’s compulsory attendance!
  7. Ask HR for a 360-degree review process to be instated. If you haven’t already seen the process, you can find some more information here 360-Degree Feedback. Basically, 360-degree feedback is anonymous and confidential and allows employees to give honest feedback about their management and peers.
  8. Buy them the book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ for Christmas. It’s an excellent book and well worth a read for anyone, regardless of their/your strengths and weaknesses.
  9. Work remotely. Find sanctuary in not having to be around this person all the time. This might not be possible for all positions but it can work for others. Even one day a week working from a different location can potentially give you some relief. Is it any wonder so many people are exercising their preference to work in their own space, away from all the white noise that is present in busy offices? Forbes even did a survey on why people enjoy working from home. The results are here – Why We Like Working from Home Survey
  10. Ever heard the saying ‘water off a duck’s back’? Some people find it easier than others but it is a real skill to not let the behaviours of others affect us. Of course, this may not be particularly easy if the anger or poor behaviour is directed straight at you. But notice how some people simply don’t get involved in drama and other people’s nonsense? It can be a really powerful thing to do if you can keep yourself from getting caught up. Think of this scenario – if someone throws a ball at you, you have a choice to step aside and let it go through to the keeper, or to catch it and throw it back. The choice really is yours so think about how you want to behave yourself in these situations.

And ultimately, be completely honest with yourself and think about whether you might display some of these behaviours at times. If not, good for you. If there are times when you feel like you’re not completely in control of your behaviour at work or home, be brave enough to consider it a bit more and find ways to do things differently.

Nobody cares if you’re a ‘morning person; or if you ‘need coffee to function’. Just be nice to people. Even if it’s hard. You have no right to be rude. And if all else fails, leave a copy of this article somewhere your colleague can see it! And if you notice a copy lying around somewhere near you, you’ve got a problem buddy.

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