Managers spend a lot of time dealing with difficult people—and then sharing stories with each other about those difficult people. On About.com, HR "guide" Susan Heathfield recently polled her readers asking, "What co-worker behavior drives you crazy?" Top responses included (in descending order):
- Constant complaining, moaning and groaning and negativity
- Constant chatter about personal issues and non-work-related topics
- Laziness—people who seem to be hardly working even when they show up
- Not showing up, thus dumping work on other team members.
It's interesting that, compared with more concrete examples of bad behavior like missing deadlines or slacking off, the attitude factor was far more important to Heathfield's readers. We suspect that has to do with frustration; when a co-worker is screwing up or not getting work done, there are usually consequences. But negative, whiny co-workers can get away with their bad attitudes for years without any recourse for their suffering colleagues. It's the unfairness, rather than the concrete impact, that really gets under people's skin.