I’ve managed a lot of people. I know first hand that anyone that distracts from driving your business goals is of concern. That’s why I started writing about Managing Annoying People. They certainly fall in that category. Lately, I’ve been dealing with a different breed; dysfunctional people who engage in circular thinking. This not only impedes moving the business forward, but makes you crazy!
Managing annoying people requires consistency and setting very clear boundaries. The technique is repeatedly enumerating priorities and the actions needed. Try it, it works. Managing dysfunctional people proves to be much more difficult. Their behavior is manipulative, cunning and baffling. Annoying people are usually consistent in how they annoy you, compared to those who are dysfunctional. The hallmark of the dysfunctional behavior is that it is confounding, you never know what they will do next.
Understanding the difference between dysfunctional and annoying behaviors can save you a lot of time vis-a-vis your management efforts and co-workers. I made a handy dandy chart so you can clearly see the subtle differences of the behaviors:
Notice I was careful not to say managing dysfunctional people. Often these type of personality traits are deeply inbred. Your best bet is to recognize the behavior, you will not change it. What you can do is stop the time drain by not reacting to their twisted reality.
They are competent but certainly not superstars. Often they believe that their work is superior and they have an inside track to information. Yet, because of their dysfunction, they do not see situations clearly. Use the facts and just the facts. Document their actions without labeling it negative or positive. For example: The report you sent was empty. Please populate and resend.
Dysfunctional people are quick to label and complain about everyone around them. It’s actually one of the surest signs of dysfunction – they label their own behavior by blaming it on others. They tell you that you are the one with the problem. When a co-worker starts saying, “you are manipulative and rude,” it’s a safe bet that they are really talking about themselves. The old saying holds true here: when I point one finger at you, there are three pointing back at me. (Pro Tip: Point now and look at the three pointing back at you.)
This is the crucial time drain. Because they do it all the time, I find myself listening, because it’s just easier. In the long run, this is a huge offense to the whole team. Once that language starts circulating it can spiral out of control. Statements like, “If Libby just did what she was supposed to,” or “if the central office followed orders” or “if the IT people fixed that program” are misdirected. They never believe that it is their responsibility to make things work. It’s hard for them to give and forgive a little. They think everything should work around them in a perfect world all the time. Isn’t that a lovely bubble.
When called out on their behavior dysfunctional people swing back. Often they exhibit aggressive behavior and usually do some bullying. Of course they don’t see it that way, they think they are protecting their bubble. But it is what it is. Label their behavior and let them know, you know what they are doing. Be clear and concise, “Louis, why are you being so aggressive?” No reason to get into it, the back and forth is not necessary.
Time is your most precious business commodity. Our effectiveness depends on our ability to closely manage those that steal our time. Once you know the difference between annoying and dysfunctional, you can choose how to spend your time, and who is worth your while and worthwhile to manage. This puts you in the driver seat. That’s the bubble you want to be in.
Good career advice and career guidance are like a good hairstyle. You want to know where to get it and how to keep it. The single most important career advice, after being competent which is a baseline “give-me” is don’t annoy your boss. If you learn the common mistakes most workers make, you can fix them and move up the corporate ladder. If you annoy your boss It all boils down to one solution. Honesty. It’s that simple, You can embellish, subtract and tone-it-down, albeit it all comes down to this. A good boss can smell the BS cubicles away. Fool them once, and there will not be a second time. Honesty about your abilities, efforts, and work status is key to building your reputation and a good relationship with your boss.
Follow the logical career advice of why honesty is truly the best policy. Or, if you must, follow the yellow brick road but, it’s the long way around. Learn this simple career advice and be honest with your boss:
The Boss will figure it out, before you do. Usually the boss has smarts even if you don’t see it. This means unless you get a crash course on whatever it is you are lacking, a good boss will figure out that you don’t know before you figure out how to know it.
If your Boss is fair and not a jerk, he or she will value the opportunity to show you their way, teach a new skill and mentor you. A good boss intuitively understands that employees value face time with them. Therefore, they want you to learn from them. They may not know you need the help. Ask for what you need.
This is a hard one for most. Keep your voice, your mannerisms and your tone calm, cool and collected. Don’t give long explanations. Just ask for what you need. For example: “Can you show me how you would like the pivot table?” If you ask, your boss will make the time to show you what you need or find someone else to help you.
The boss has to see the forest and all the trees in that forest to keep the forest growing. Know the type of tree you are and where you fit into that forest. Make sure you keep your tree strong. If you don’t get this advice, email me. You need my help…..
This article in Glamour.com covers the 8 Worst MIstakes That Annoy your Boss More than Being Late. It’s a quick read and worth it.
Follow Tip #7 from yours truly: You say you understand – when you really don’t! It all boils down to simple honesty. What do you think?
Speaking about Managing Annoying People is so much more than talking. Don’t get me wrong, I like to talk. I live to talk. I enjoy managing. I relish managing annoying people. I exist to provide words of wisdom and new ways of looking at situations when you are stuck and not having fun, especially at work. And usually, it’s not what you expect, that gets you. I love to help you become a better you. More importantly I’ll help you have more fun at work while you increase your sphere of influences. That means your boss (even if you are the boss, your Board) and your direct reports, and their reports will value your thoughts, advice and direction.
Check my interview on @SarderTV. We talked about my book #ManagingAnnoyingPeople #AlignedWorkplace and much more bout how to stop annoying people from stealing our zen or how to find your zen…..watch it here Managing Annoying People on SarderTV.
Learning is Imperative
What is this book different from others?
And there’s more segments. See the rest of the series on SarderTV Managing Annoying People. Don’t fret, I’ll email them to you next week! Stay on the lookout.
And if you don’t know about SarderTV, you are missing out:
Headquartered in New York publishing exclusive high quality video content from Fortune 1000 Corporate Leaders, Best Selling Authors & Ivy League Professors. With a purpose to “Promote Learning”, the platform is based on the core values of Continuous Learning, Innovation & Performance.
Started by Russell Sarder (Author, Entrepreneur & CEO of Learning) in the fall of 2012, the platform has grown tremendously since then, with interviews from more than 170 thought leaders and a dedicated team of experienced & well-known journalists.
Thanks to the SarderTV team for featuring me. Special shoutout to Vanessa Tyler, Correspondent for her research and thoughtful questions.
Listening isn’t enough! Read the book or read my blog or call me. If it’s the middle of the night, wait till the am and call me and buy the book now at #Managing Annoying People on Amazon! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning is Imperative!
Mind Tools reaches 25,000,000 people via their site (mindtools,com) each year to learn management, leadership and personal excellence skills they need for a happy, successful career. Join them and listen to my interview!
Mind Tools happily shared the link to the entire 30-minute interview.
Thanks to Rachel Salaman at Mindtools for the thoughtful questions that tap into how you can manage those irritating day-to-day interactions. You can contact Rachel by clicking on Rachel Salaman.
A true honor to present “Managing Annoying People” at SLA in Phoniex Arizona. A group of dedicated passionate Information Professionals who manage up and down, sideways and have to manage their customers as well. Thanks to all who attended the session, shared your real workplace conundrums and found more Amazing, than Annoying!
Many have asked for the presentation – so here it is.
Keep in touch and share your stories and thoughts!
Hidden Gems are rare. If you know how to spot them, your team, your productivity and the productivity of your team will vastly improve. This article in Expeerter Magazine – tells you exactly how to spot them. A great tool for situations where legacy employees have dominated and its time to make a change. Promoting from within, let me restate that, the right promotion from within, will improve team morale, boost team engagement and well, make your life as a manager much smoother. On-boarding will take less time, you know the “hidden gem” fits the culture and all you have to worry about is helping your gem adjust to their new status and leadership role. Call me for help!
Thanks to Kate Rodriquez for a great interview and an easy read purposeful, and VERY relevant article.
It’s a teeny tiny country in the Middle East, that for the most part, nobody has heard of. And you need to go there ASAP. Seriously, read this article on Buzzfeed – reasons-oman-should-be-the-next-country-you-visit.
It’s an honor to have an article featured in this monthly magazine – promoting the importance of team engagement, cohesiveness, and trust.
We Mean Business – is Business Today’s tagline and its working. Business Today, is a highly circulated English language business magazine. Since it’s inception in 2001 it is growing tremendously. A monthly magazine that covers business news and features, personalities, debates of a wide array of topics, and business banter. Recognized all over Malaysia as the definitive business magazine that brings the business community closer and exposes them to the global competitive edge. Business Today caters to the increasingly important segment of the nation’s economy – the small- and medium-sized businesses around the country as the magazine that helps their business grow.
Geographically Oman holds a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan.
Why all this interest? I wrote a guest blog on building team trust. Important in all cultures, this quick read boils down the top managerial focus of building a cohesive, engaged team.
Tell us what you think of OMAN and when you will visit?
7 Proven Tactics in Managing Team Members is a good quick read with actionable advice.
There is lots of “noise” out there about what makes a good team. Experts agree that the advice given in Managing Annoying People: 7 Proven Tactics to Maximize Team Performance hits the high points. Its a quick read, with very common sense advice that you can follow. The ideas will make you think about your situation and spur new ways of acting in the workplace. You can impact team and individual relationship dynamics with a little focus and a toolbox full of tricks.
Every day is a new change to manage your team instead of them managing you!
Insightful article on how to GET THINGS DONE. Not just saying that because I am quoted – I’m quoted because I agree that managing process for your team is a cornerstone skill for leaders and managers. Setting the tone and process for your team is always a timely topic, whether tweaking an old project or starting on a new endeavor – timing and process is key to success.
Communicating with your team about the priorities is critical to organizational success and moving the work process forward. Aligned Workplace helps C-Suite Executives, Business Founders and Managers hone their messaging and align resources and tools to get things done. Being able to define the process to your team, breaking down the process and the hand-offs between departments/units/divisions is a key competency of good leaders. Make sure you know how to get things done.
Learn anything new? Let me know.
Trust is a cornerstone of business relationships between customers and suppliers and between bosses and subordinates. It’s even more complicated in day-to-day working relationships. Between roles, responsibilities, work product, team dynamics, it can get confusing. I like the age old rule of:
- Fool me once, shame on you.
- Fool me twice, shame on me.
Here are two clear signs that the boss-subordinate relationship is broken:
If your boss is sniping at you publicly or making an example of you in team meetings, this is a sure sign, something is up and you can’t trust in him or her right now. If it’s because your boss is annoyed with you, doesn’t really matter what you did or didn’t do, he won’t be your best ally right now, so don’t trust him (or her). Although some of the remarks and comments may be issues you have discussed in your evaluations or one-on-one meetings, if it’s happening publicly, even under the breath, first priority is to stop trusting and figure out a plan of action to address the situation.
Of course, your boss does not report to you and as such doesn’t need to check in and tell you what they are doing. However, as your superior in the organization, the boss is responsible for keeping you informed about policy, programs, changes in plans overall company strategy. If your boss stops telling you the why, behind assignments, plans, meetings and other office issues, it’s a clear signal, that may have nothing to do with you, although now has everything to do with you. Your manager’s key job is to provide staff the tools, resources and direction to staff so that they can perform their job. If your` boss stops providing these things. Stop trusting.
Read the full article with my quotes (slides 6 and 7) in Readers Digest- 9 Clear Signs You Can’t Trust Your Boss.
Have you ever been in a situation where you aren’t sure who to trust in the workplace?
It has been a real pleasure to work with Shift Management on presenting the Managing Annoying People Webinar and writing a guest blog on Powerful Engaged teams. You know I like to say, tend to your PETS (Powerful Engaged Teams) to drive success.
Maire Gervais, Ph.D, CEO of Shift Management says:
You need employees who can make good decisions, take initiative and show leadership. They have to be able to apply new ideas and technology while keeping up efficient and productive work. When people learn at work, they keep their thinking skills sharp. Shift Management provides the tools you need to succeed in workplace learning.
The 3 main points in the blog are:
As a leader and manager in your company, it’s your prime responsibility to provide the framework for staff to perform. Master these three management skills to cultivate high performing teams.
Tell me what you do to foster team performance. What would you like to stop doing and start doing?
Honored to be featured by Marty Zwilling on Startup Professionals, for Entrepreneurs Who are in a Hurry to Succeed. Go slow to go fast is sound advice. I am kindred spirit when it comes to start-ups. Having been a DoubleClicker and spent most of my career as a rain maker, I was always in startup mode. My DNA is hardwired to build a strong foundation for a scalable enterprise in a very short time with strict budget parameters. My personal mantra is taken from Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici (take the secret passage tour in Florence) known for unifying Italy. Cosimo’s words: “Go slow to go fast”. That means getting it right the first time.
Marty’s credentials: CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc.; Advisory Board Member for multiple startups; ATI Angels Selection Committee; Venture Mentor at ASU. Published on Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post. Feel free to follow Marty on Twitter StartupPro or Circle me on Google+.
In Marty’s own words:
We have all had to work with annoying team members in business. If you are not their manager, it’s tempting to just walk away, tune them out, or react sharply, but these reactions are not appropriate for managers, and are equally ineffective for peers and team mates. Remember that annoying doesn’t mean non-productive – these may be top performers, with critical business skills.
The good news is that you can learn to deal with well-meaning peers and people you manage, by employing a set of proven tactics, as outlined in a new book, “Managing Annoying People,” from veteran business leader and workplace consultant Ilene Marcus. As a long-time business adviser, I fully support her key pragmatic relationship strategies, which I paraphrase here as follows:
Based on Marty’s comments, can you share your start-up challenges that you can’t afford to get wrong?
My guest post in Excellence Essentials, presented by HR.Com, gives you the road map to the 5 key signs that your team is zapping your energy. Day in and day out in my work with executives, teams and random managers, these telltale signs signal that the boss-team relationship is broken:
1- Your Ideas are not Evolving
Doesn’t matter how you present it, you team does not take the ball and run with it.
2- Team Meetings are Productive but Excruciating
Really another team meeting already, the pain, the pain.
3-You’re Babysitting Your Direct Reports
You’re the adult and everyone else acts like children always asking you for permission, direction and resources. Decisions are not made if you don’t take on the responsibility.
4- 1-on-1 Meetings Are Eating Up Your Calendar
Everyday it seems like the only meetings on my calendar are with my staff. over and over again. .
5- Your Team Agenda is Eclipsing Your Priorities
Its all about their workload and scheduling, why are my priorities as the boss, not getting done?
Tell me if your team is annoying you. If so, give details!
If you constantly say “yes” to your team, you may be a “doormat boss.” This is about your behavior as a boss and not the annoying staff that keep asking you questions. Break through this workplace dynamic and increase your sphere of influence with these three strategies (read the full Fast Company article with my quotes):
Step 1 – Look Through Subordinates Eyes
The key to overcoming this habit is for the pleaser to become aware of the impact this behavior has on others – do a 180 degree turn and look at it through the subordinate’s eyes. At first they may like it and it makes them feel good – eventually, the manager becomes a rubber stamp and is not respected; as the employee learns that this person says “yes” to everyone and that their need or request is not truly evaluated, therefore “yes” is not meaningful. If a boss says “yes” to everyone, the value of “yes” diminishes and so does that bosses sphere of influence. Think about Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty – if everyone wins the lottery ticket and gets what they want, it’s pretty worthless.
Step 2 – Being Liked Does Not Always Produce Results
In my first job as manager I wanted everyone to like me and want to work for me (mind you I was managing about 10,000 people). I quickly found that my employees liking me did not produce results. Producing results and making sure employees meet their work contract is a key management function. I’m not saying you can’t be kind. What I am saying is that you must look honestly at your own behavior, if the results are lagging and you as manager are stepped on by your employees because you are people pleasing, it will impact productivity. A lot of people count on you at your workplace; if you are too busy people pleasing and by definition that means, taking on more of the work, letting things slide, and letting your team manage you, everyone’s results are compromised.
Step 3 – “No” Is A Complete Sentence
Let’s be clear about the power dynamic in the boss-subordinate playing field. One player is the boss, and one is not. Whoever said in the sandbox, “you’re not the boss of me,” was dead wrong when it comes to workplace structure. Practice saying “no” and say it as often as necessary.
If you have doormat tendencies, be honest with yourself about why you are trying to please others. Make a conscious choice to think about the request before responding. Practice saying “no.”
To read the Fast Company article on this topic click here,
Have you ever had a doormat boss? Tell us in comments what they did that annoyed you.
And if you need to learn how to say NO – you’ll enjoy my book!
What do you think? How many times a day do I get asked that question? I will tell you what I think. It’s a good place to start a conversation and get valuable input. Leaders must be aware not to fall down the rabbit hole and get stuck. All too often customers, employees, and CEOs use this conversation as a delay to making a decision. Time consuming and circular, these conversations morph into what/if. What/if this happens, what/if it doesn’t? What the Hay? When someone is in what/if mode, it’s a good indication they are delaying a decision. Instead use the hard data to frame choices and then narrow down the “what do you think?” to actions, competencies and scenarios. What/if you did this? What do you think?