susandusterhoft | , , , , , , , , , , , ,| By
Those are hardly inspirational words, but they inspired this post.
Recently, I concluded a workplace investigation that despite all the discriminatory allegations, counter claims, and retaliation complaints thrown around, what it boiled down to was there was a lot of hatefulness (feelings) and oodles of unprofessionalism (behavior).
They have no place in a workplace yet they are everywhere!
Whether they are blatantly standing in the hallways or silently lurking in the break rooms, hatefulness and unprofessionalism are there. Whether we wear them as royal garments or protective armor, we often sport our unique fashions of hatefulness and unprofessionalism. Whether they are in the spotlights or simply clandestine whispers in the ear of employees, hatefulness and unprofessionalism make their way into our communication, our interaction with others and our work.
I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t hated. I’ve hated a boss, I’ve hated a coworker, I’ve even hated some customers. But here’s the thing, I rarely allowed my feelings to affect my behavior.
- My mother taught me not to.
- My boss gave me clear expectations about my behavior.
- I did not want to get in trouble.
- I wanted to be perceived as professional.
- I was confident enough in my own skin to take the higher ground.
Does it really matter?
Why make it so damned complicated? Isn’t it enough that I simply didn’t allow my feelings to affect my behavior?
We do not have the right to behave unprofessionally simply because we don’t like, STRONGLY dislike, or hate another human being.
While at work, we are expected to effectively and consistently communicate with our customers, colleagues, bosses and anyone else who is involved in our work.
While at work, we are expected to work WITH others. Whether it be on a project, activity, or simply within a close physical proximity, our efficient and productive interaction with others is required.
While at work, we are should focus our minds, bodies and efforts on work. We wouldn’t spend 1/4 of our time conducting personal business from the break room or spend 1/2 of our time practicing for our next music audition while at work, so why would we spend a preponderance of our time perseverating about how much we don’t like someone? Why would we spend hours thinking about how we can get someone else in trouble or encouraging or persuading others to turn against someone? It’s ludicrous – we have no right to waste our employer’s resources!
While at work, we must comply with our employer’s rules and policies. Whether we like it or not, we are bound by a duty of loyalty to our employer. Don’t want to be bound? No problem…resign! Yes, it’s that simple! Most companies have a rule, policy or standard for work behavior and therefore, we must comply with it! (And don’t try pointing your finger at the other guy. Clean out your own closet before you start cleaning out his!)
What it comes down to is this: while at work, we are paid to work.
- If we are spending time talking about but not talking with the person we hate, we are not earning our keep.
- If we are spending time avoiding, interfering or otherwise sabotaging the person we hate, we are proving ourselves UNworthy of continued employment.
- If we are spending energy identifying workarounds, switching shifts or projects to avoid the person, requiring others to “mediate” or “referee” our interactions with those we hate, we are proving we aren’t mature enough to handle our jobs.
- If we decide that our ego and pride give us freedom to break the rules and otherwise ignore our duty of loyalty to our employer, we should be prepared for our employer to severe the relationship.