Do Your Co-Workers Annoy You?

Do Your Co-Workers Annoy You?

“Difficult People are the greatest teachers.” -Pema Chodron

Why do people behave the way they do? What can be done to help them improve?

These are two fundamental questions we must consider when we try to gain control of how we feel and how we interact with the people we are assigned to influence.

One of the things I love about well-crafted TV and movies is that they reveal our nature to us.  They strip away our façade and show us just how our dual nature causes us to do both good and bad things.  For example, Walter White (Breaking Bad) was a high school chemistry teacher who loved his family, but he was motivated to make money for his son’s disability, thus setting some horrific things in motion in the drug manufacture and trade.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is perhaps the most simplistic and obvious example of our dual nature.  

But, the most complex cinema character pales in comparison to the complexity of the people we deal with in our real lives.  That’s why managing people has received so much attention over the past 60 years.  And while we may never be able to arrive at the perfect solution for everyone, we can definitely begin a learning process about understanding the people we work with so as to improve workplace interactions.

Understanding your motivation is key….

We are all motivated (driven) to fulfill specific unconscious needs.  If these needs are met, we feel as though our environment, and the people around us, are cooperating and we feel satisfied and good, and our behavior reflects this.  We call this “Best Self.”  We may be more optimistic, more personable, more creative, perhaps friendlier and calmer. Sounds like a nice person to be around, doesn’t it?  On the other hand, if our needs are not met, for whatever reason, we move from Best Self to Shadow Self and our resulting behavior may appear condescending, judgmental, manipulative, harsh, aggressive, overly emotional, withdrawn, self-absorbed, procrastinating, indecisive, and on and on. 

Which of these fit you?

  1. Things must be perfect, correct, and right
  2. I must be needed and appreciated
  3. I must succeed and achieve
  4. I must be special and find meaning in life
  5. I must be knowledgeable and smart
  6. I must be safe and secure
  7. I must enjoy life and be happy
  8. I must be strong and self-reliant
  9. I must have peace and harmony

Research shows that we seek two of these more than others.  So, as you start to gain awareness around this issue of how that person at work is impacting your life, remember to pause, and consider that the issue is not what other people are doing to you. Rather, it is your own deep-seated belief that you must have this in order to be whole and fulfilled.  It is, without question, a fictional goal.  

Stay tuned for Part II as I cover in depth steps you can take to help yourself and others improve. Until then…..


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