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Dealing with poor ‘social hygiene’

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

Think that high achievers can get away with poor social skills? Ask Terrell Owens how that's working out for him. The NFL superstar, as you may know, got effectively fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, despite his many on-the-field gifts, for his equally ample off-the-field talent for hurting, annoying and irritating his teammates and co-workers.

The T.O. soap opera offers a "profitable lesson" to other employers, writes author and trainer Annemarie Kelly. "Rather than reward singular brilliance without relatable capability," enterprises should strive to "value emotionally intelligent employ­ees for the merit they bring to the whole work experience."

Meanwhile, author and consultant Karl Albrecht has a book out, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success, wherein he gives advice on how to clean up one's poor social hygiene. Such "toxic behaviors" include "social halitosis"—basically, being a bore, talking without listen­ing, and so on. Albrecht also calls out "social flatulence"—inconsiderate, crude, clueless behavior—and "social dandruff," behavior that selfishly imposes upon others.

Sound like anyone on your team? Dealing with such problems is never fun for managers, but unfortunately such behaviors often must be managed in the workplace. It's never a good idea to let any behavior slide that interferes with productivity or team morale.

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