Today’s workplace is fueled with political maneuvering, envy, and greed – with only an occasional touch of class. The days of doing the right thing have transitioned into survival of the fittest as employees have become more fearful for their future and thus are looking out for themselves, more than for the organization they serve. For many, the workplace has become a domain of frustration where very few have one another’s backs. Tired of the distrust and their toxic work environments, employees are eager for a fresh start.
Rather than finding ways to build camaraderie through
As fellow Forbes contributor Roger Dean Duncan points out, “The Gallup organization shows that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy up to $400 billion a year. The researchers calculate that nearly 25 million U.S. workers are actively disengaged, each year resulting in about 86 million days absent from work, less productivity, more stress, and poorer health for both themselves and for their organizations.”
Just think of how much more productive the workplace would be and business models would profitably flourish if employees felt valued, respected each other and enjoyed working with one another. Perhaps this is a function of poor leadership that finds itself insulting, rather than inspiring, its employees. Or maybe we are finally seeing the results of the old-school recruiting and interviewing best practices that many companies still use – enabling wrong hiring decisions – that in turn implode corporate cultures and employee morale.
One thing is certainly emerging: the workplace is becoming
Be on the lookout for the following six reasons that colleagues in the workplace don’t like you anymore – and course-correct quickly to get your workplace productivity and engagement back on track:
1. Threatened by Your Presence
Because employees have become less tolerant of others and more unsettled about their careers and what they can expect at work these days, they are also losing their confidence to speak-up and share their unique points of view along the way. As such, when your colleagues see that you possess the required executive presence to get noticed and/or to be heard, they become threatened and begin to feel that they are not valued enough.
If your colleagues believe that you are getting all of the attention, they can smile at you and act cordial – but the reality is that they probably dislike you. Especially if your colleagues believe that you are getting noticed and/or being invited to exclusive meetings at work for all the wrong reasons.
Colleagues that are threatened by your presence have their own issues to deal with and thus you may find it to be of benefit to have an open conversation about what you are sensing from your colleagues to diffuse the possibility they may attempt to damage your reputation. Don’t wait until it becomes a bigger issue, engage genuinely and move on. You need to be proactive about managing these issues and use it as an opportunity to showcase your leadership.
Whether you are selfish or perceived as selfish, your colleagues will begin to disengage. Because it has become the new normal to protect one’s domain to assure others don’t take all the credit, employees are not sharing the momentum of their success with others – as much as they should. As such, colleagues become extremely disconnected with those who are in it for themselves rather than for the betterment of the team.
Selfishness comes in many forms, whether it’s in your inability to pay attention to other’s points of view, listen to their ideas, or be considerate of their time. When it’s all about you and not about them, you will soon be disliked by others – and if you decide to reengage with them, it may take a while to earn their loyalty.
3. Politically Savvy/Unethical
Colleagues may respect your politically savvy ways, but when it crosses the line, becomes unethical, or begins to impact their ability to advance their own agendas – you may lose potential allies. We see this all the time at work when employees begin to “brown nose” their bosses and others in the chain of command – sticking their nose and hidden agendas where they don’t belong.
If you have some political maneuvering to do, be strategic and communicate your intentions with your colleagues – and don’t be so secretive about it. Believe me, your colleagues have probably been thinking about doing the same things that you plan on doing – but may not have the courage to act on it. Be transparent and earn respect from your colleagues rather than plotting a plan that is perceived as potentially damaging to them. So many relationships are lost when people simply don’t communicate. Since your colleagues will eventually find out anyway, share your intentions and use this as an opportunity to test your colleague relationships along the way.
4. Personality Conflicts
This one is pretty straightforward: based on your personality type alone, you will have colleagues that will like you and others that won’t. In a 60 Minutes interview with Alabama Football Coach, Nick Saban, he was quoted as saying, “Mediocre people don’t like high achievers and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.” This simple statement had a big impact on my perspective of people and explains why certain colleagues will never get along. As a high achiever myself, though my intentions and ethics are sound, the simple fact that I am a high achiever is what turns off those who accept mediocrity or are not overly ambitious.
I’ve learned this the hard way throughout my career. Regardless of how much you try to genuinely elevate one’s performance and/or have the desire to help them see the value of exceeding performance expectations, if they are not naturally wired to thrive, one’s efforts may be short-lived and unappreciated.
Personality conflicts also can lead to envy. People oftentimes are so shortsighted that they fail to see the opportunity in associating themselves with people that can help them learn and/or become better. Instead, they view this potential opportunity as a threat and default towards feeling bitter about the situation rather than seeing it as a chance to improve themselves. Unfortunately, many people are still looking for recognition (unsustainable short-term gain) rather than respect (sustainable long-term benefit).
In the end, I believe there are four types of people that we all deal with both in and outside of the workplace: Leaders, Lifters, Loafers and Leeches. Click here to learn more about these personality types and ask yourself which ones you seem to gravitate towards.
Being competitive is a strong quality to have, but it can unknowingly create disruption and potential tension with your colleagues if you are not managing your competitiveness rightly. You never know who you need in your corner to help advance your career and that of others. As such, don’t let your competitive spirit overly disrupt any relationship momentum with colleagues.
Don’t be bullish when being competitive. Be mindful of both the short- and long-term implications. Your competitiveness can turn against you with your colleagues, especially when you are considered for a promotion that they thought they were more qualified for and that you didn’t necessarily warrant (or perhaps didn’t even want).
Be mindful of the aforementioned first four points when thinking about how your competitive spirit is being perceived by others. In the end, you need to pick and choose your battles at work, and being strategic about how you go about this process will serve you well. Try to avoid battles to begin with – but if certain colleagues are disrupting your ability to unleash your passionate pursuits and most authentic competitive self, at least be mindful of the consequences. When dealing with people, you never know what you’re going to run into, so don’t play it too safe but always protect your reputation and be aware of the potential implications.
6. Differences Are Not Valued, Nor Understood
These days, the cultural demographic shift and the unconscious gender bias narrative in the workplace are playing a heightened role in the workplace. More employees are mindful about whether or not their colleagues are genuinely accepting of their differences. More importantly, they want to know if their colleagues believe that their differences translate into tangible benefits – that diversity of thought can bring better decision-making, ideation, growth, innovation, etc.
More than ever before, you must be aware of people’s differences and learn how to accept those differences and how they play into your success and ability to perform your work. This is the new normal and if you are not accepting of this fact, you may be blindsided by colleagues who will begin to dislike you (even those you would have never thought possible).
Try not to feel uncomfortable about cultural nuances that you don’t understand, nor gender differences that you can’t appreciate. In the end, business is about people intelligence and it is your responsibility to become more intelligent about others and to use this insight to advance your career and that of others.
When you coexist with others in a microenvironment like the workplace, there will always be some sort of conflict. Whether you’re part of a large Fortune 500 or a small start-up, you can’t always expect everyone to like you. But you can be more aware of the reasons why they don’t, and try not to antagonize them further. It’s up to you. The workplace can be a competitive battlefield of political backstabbers – or a place where colleagues always have each other’s backs. A mediocre wasteland of personality conflicts and perceived threats – or a high-achieving workplace where differences are valued and people are surrounded by those who want their success to continue.
Culled from Forbes