[HBR] How to work with annoying people (and get results!)
Some of the people you work with annoy you, don’t they?
At least one person. At least sometimes. Right?
So what are you doing about them?
Maybe you’re hoping those annoying colleagues will change.
Sadly, real-life examples of annoying people becoming un-annoying are about as scarce as grass around a hog trough.
Maybe you’re trying to avoid them.
This may work on occasion. But what if they’re on your team? Or report to you? Or you report to them?
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review outlined an approach for dealing with coworkers that annoy you and working with them to deliver business results.
According to the article, it involves just two things: (1) becoming self-aware and (2) developing empathy. But this is easier said than done.
“Having self-awareness and a deep understanding of our own psychological makeup strengthens our capacity for empathy.” The first leads to the second.
You may be thinking: “Oh great -- so now it’s about me?” Well, at least you have control over you.
A huge component of self-awareness is realizing whose buttons are getting pushed. (Yours.)
Another is knowing who’s responsible for the reactions to the button-pushing. (You.)
You may not be able to change the people that annoy you. But you can improve your behaviors and lessen the impact those people have on you and your environment.
So, how aware of your buttons are you? And how much empathy do others experience from you?
To really know, you need an objective standard of measurement, such as 360-degree behavioral data.
The Teamalytics 360 Profile delivers a profound level of self-awareness. It also identifies the behavior patterns that communicate empathy (or not!) to those you work with or lead.
For example, the Criticality and Need to Nurture scales work in combination to measure how much you push others to get better while also providing encouragement, support, and care.
The Aggressiveness scale determines how hard you push back when others challenge you. Do people around you feel empathy from you? Or do you have to win every discussion?
The Deference scale measures how important it is to have your opinion win the day versus empathetically considering the views of others.
You may not be able to change or avoid the people that annoy you.
But you can improve your own behavior and lessen the negative impact of having your buttons pushed.
Imagine if you and each of your colleagues (including the annoying one!) had both self-awareness and a plan to avoid reacting to annoying behaviors.
You’d be a much more empathetic leader, and your team would deliver better business results.