Eight ways to be a bad colleague

Many of us have a colleague with a few issues.  If you don’t,  then maybe you are that person.  Here is a list of behaviors that may not endear you to your colleagues.

  1. Talking unfavorably about someone behind his or her back
    • Everything you do in the dark eventually comes to the light.
    • Tip – Avoid all conversations about other co-workers unless it is about the great work they are doing.
  2. Committing or allowing insensitive behavior
    • Do you stand around and listen to racist or sexist jokes?  Do you confront the co-worker that has verbalized them?  These dynamics can lead to an uncomfortable and volatile work environment.  Words are never “just words.”
    • Tip – Confront the behavior, preferably with other colleagues.
  3. Taking credit for an idea that is not yours
    • This can cause resentment and disdain by other co-workers.  If your field is small it could even affect your career.
    • Tip – Give credit where credit is due.  Cheating is a hard habit to quit.
  4. Constantly being negative and spreading the negativity
    • Eventually you will find yourself alone and becoming more negative and angry because no one wants to work with you.
    • Tip – Create a list of things that you love about your job and keep it in a visible location.  Revisit this list as often as needed.  Talk to a counselor; some employers provide them free of charge.
  5. Forming a clique
    • This is not grade school.  Build positive relationships with your co-workers; it makes your job easier.  Be open and inclusive to all of your colleagues—unless it’s the negative person.
    • Tip – Sit by different colleagues during meetings.  Have lunch with a variety of people.
  6. Letting someone walk into a bathroom where you just released a monster.
    • Having a shared restroom at work can create uncomfortable situations.   If someone is headed to the restroom directly after you, please let them know if the smell in the bathroom is going to make them pass out.
    • Tip – Bring air freshener or matches to work. If possible, tell the next colleague politely that they may want to use the restroom on another floor.
  7. Having bad hygiene
    • Are you a very positive person?  Do you produce great work?  Does everyone like you?  So why aren’t people sitting next to you in meetings?
    • Tip – Bring toiletries to work.  Items like a toothbrush, deodorant, and feminine products are helpful.
  8. Getting to know one colleague through another colleague
    • There is nothing wrong with gathering “intel;” especially if you are new to the department or organization.  However, your main source of information should come from the colleague that you want to get to know.  One person’s perceptions and experiences are not yours.  Going through another source is like tasting an apple to determine what an orange might taste like.
    • Tip – Set up a lunch meeting or coffee time with colleagues.  They will appreciate the time and you will have firsthand knowledge of the individual.
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