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Workplace Annoyances: Bad Behavior in the Day to Day (Part 2)

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If you were exasperated by the behavior in Part 1 of this Blog, you know as well as I do that you can’t ignore it.  It’s not just going to go away.  To give you a bit of perspective on this, let me show you a few things you didn’t know about what Bad Behavior in the Workplace does to the everyday person and exactly how to thwart such negative reactions.

Their Bad Behavior, Limits Your Brain Capacity

I’m serious.  Your capacity to think is literally lessened.  In a recent study by University of Southern California researchers, the association we make between good and bad behavior was found as being an environmental trigger that your brain reacts to.  You see, humans engage our right ventral premotor cortex to “mimic” others when we see people we like or even people that look like us. But, when we view someone annoying or not particularly pleasing, then the process goes off-balance.  Your brain is literally scrambling, desperately trying to find the best way to find balance again.  So, think of this the next time you see “that” person and finally understand why you’re so completely thrown off by their presence.   

Techniques to Abridging the Gap Between “I Like You” and “I Loath You”:

First, quit avoiding the person who bugs you and, instead, spend more time with that person. Known as the “proxy-exposure effect”, there’s a psychological posture that says we develop a preference for things simply because of its familiarity. In other words, spending more time with the person you’ve taken issue with may actually make you feel better.

Now, think of at least one thing you admire about that person, even if it’s an ability to self-promote and even if you think the behavior is overblown.  The more and more you attempt to uncover something relatively positive, the faster you end up finding…. Something.  And, something is a start.

Next, the old adage of “you never know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes” may be a divine answer to your problem.  You never know what’s really going on behind the curtains. The person in question may be a big talker, over-boasting their capabilities or position because he or she actually has self-esteem problems. Before jumping to a conclusion, see if you can figure out what may be causing some of their off-putting behavior.

Now, before you lose it and stop trying altogether, try making a connection.  You can always choose to dwell on the behavior that has become the obvious trigger of such negative thoughts, or you can attempt to make a connection.  It can be as simple as “Hey, we probably caught each other on a bad day and I’d like to start over…” or “You know, I’m just not understanding this work assignment I’ve got.  Can you give me some of your thoughts?”  When you can make a connection and forget about the hierarchy, you stand a better chance of making a friend rather than an enemy.

Finally, when all else fails, be your best “you”.  A funny thing happens when we’re around people that turn us off.  From full on avoidance to outright exhibitions of anger and resentment, we do our worst when confronted with less than favorable behavior.  Of course, this doesn’t solve anything and, ultimately leads to an even more annoying situation. Make it a point to be polite to the person or offer to buy him or her a cup of coffee.  You’ll be amazed at how your outlook changes. 

It’s not about beating a dead horse.  It’s about knowing you tried your hardest not to write someone off and about always trying to be the best you for your fellow man.

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