7 habits of highly annoying people at work

Sep 16, 2009 by

Different personalities in the workplace are a given and you just need to learn to work with them. But regardless of personality, there are some things people do (yes, probably even me – though I’d like to think I don’t) that are just plain annoying and often create far more work and frustration than necessary. I generally try to keep things positive on this blog, but sometimes, you just gotta bitch.

I’m going to be as civil as possible in listing them here. Suffice it to say that you should try to avoid doing these things. Ever. (I should note that I’ve been collecting annoyances for this post for some time, so this isn’t necessary provoked by my current work situation.)

1)   Refusing to actually read emails – I’m a huge Twitter fan and I love the way that 140 characters forces you to get to the point quickly. However, that doesn’t mean that I ignore communications (i.e., emails) that have more than 140 characters. But apparently, some people do. It is endlessly annoying, not to mention time consuming when someone you work with doesn’t read your entire email and then responds to you with anywhere from 1 to 50 questions that were answered by your original email. Seriously people, just read the damn email.

2)   Holding a meeting without an agenda – I sometimes have 6 meetings a day. No, really. That is a huge amount of my professional time devoted to an activity that usually creates more, not less work for me. So if someone calls a meeting, they better damn well know what the thing is supposed to be about. An agenda sent out more than 10 minutes before hand is ideal, and I’ll take a quick verbal list in a pinch. But nothing? Unacceptable.

3)   Asking the same questions over and over again – When I promise, but don’t deliver to someone, I give them full permission to harass me about it. But when I answer an easy question or make it clear that a particular task is not my responsibility, we’re done. Asking again next week will not magically make the task mine or change the answer. If you can’t remember the answer, do what I do and write it down. It’s not that hard, trust me.

4)   Not taking care of something that is clearly one’s responsibility – I’m not into all kinds of hierarchy in the workplace, but I am into clearly defined roles and responsibilities; I have my job and you have yours. So when a task comes up that falls into your bailiwick, just do it! Or if I ask you to do it and you say yes, don’t punk out on it. It’s annoying and really unprofessional.

5)   Being indecisive – Personally and professionally, I really can’t stand indecisiveness. I admit and own this about myself. But this is still a legitimate complaint: referring back to number 4 – when a decision falls into your job roles and responsibilities, you need to make that decision. If you need to consult with supervisors and coworkers, so be it. But when the deadline comes, the decision needs to be made. When you hem and haw, you slow us all down.

6)   Refusing to think proactively – Look, I know how hard it can be to slow down and take a look at the big picture sometimes. You get so bogged down in the day to day, that you forget to look ahead. But as a professional doing almost any job, it’s necessary. This can be as simple as anticipating an upcoming newsletter and asking for copy a week in advance or as complex as developing a 5-year strategic plan. The point is you have to make time to think about this stuff and then bring your coworkers into the loop. When you wait until the last minute and then ask for that newsletter copy to be done today (or even worse, for a huge portion of the strategic plan), you are screwing up everyone else’s schedule and making it that much more difficult for them to think ahead.

7)   Not owning up to your mistakes and/or not fixing them – This should be obvious by now, but everyone makes mistakes (no matter how hard they try to avoid them). So just own up to it and then try to fix it. Don’t issue a litany of excuses and if you need help fixing it, ask. The more you put it off the bigger and nastier the mistake becomes and the harder it is to fix. And if fixing it requires some long hours, so be it. When you come through in the clutch, your coworkers will remember that.

Related Posts

Share This