The worst thing you can do in the workplace (or life)

Nov 14, 2011 by

No matter how great my job is or how awesome my coworkers and friends are, there is one thing that I can never seem to get away from: hypocrisy. And I hate it. Hate is a very strong word, but I use it intentionally in this context.

According to Google, hypocrisy means “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.” Synonyms include cant, dissimulation, double-dealing, insincerity. In other words: blowing off professional or moral standards in order to get what one wants.

Hypocrisy damages everyone it touches and hypocrites themselves are poisonous to an organization. I’ve seen hypocrites skirt – or completely ignore – employment law, bully people, practice nepotism and favoritism (basically other forms of hypocrisy), skip out on doing work assigned them, treat their coworkers like crap and much more.

What is the result of all this hypocrisy? It damages morale, trust and camaraderie and creates suspicion and a bunker mentality. All of this prevents your organization from achieving its mission and what’s the point of doing the work if you aren’t going to achieve anything by it?

So here’s my advice: avoid being a hypocrite. Avoid it like the plague. Do what you say you’ll do. Treat people fairly. Follow the letter and spirit of the law and of your employee manual. If you think someone is an asshole, just tell them – tactfully of course. Basically: don’t be that person. And if you see others doing it (especially if its senior management or your boss), get out of there as soon as possible. You’ll be doing yourself and probably lots of other a people a big favor.

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