Five Dysfunctional Office Syndrome That Costs Businesses Millions

Five Dysfunctional Office Syndrome That Costs Businesses Millions
Organisations urged to look out for five potentially “toxic” personality types Serious personality clashes in the workplace is costing organisations millions of pounds in lost productivity, low morale and poor staff retention, Talent Q has claimed. The people assessment company has coined the term “dysfunctional office syndrome” to describe situations where a blend of corrosive personalities is derailing a company’s chances of success. Occupational psychologist Richard MacKinnon says up to a fraction of the organisations he has worked with have shown signs of the syndrome. But he adds that many other companies now take active steps to prevent their business from being affected. “Every organisation knows that finding the right balance of skills and experience is key to success,” he says. “But it’s every bit as important that you get the right mix of personality types too.” “The best managers do this instinctively, by asking themselves whether a candidate ‘will fit in’ to the organisation. But for high level appointments, or where a team has a particular strategic importance, more companies are now using psychological profiling to add scientific rigour. “The impact of dysfunctional office syndrome cannot be underestimated. You can find a candidate with the best CV in the world, but if he or she has a personality like David Brent, then your business will suffer badly in the long run. Having a strong assessment process can prevent disaster.” According to Talent Q, there are five potentially ‘toxic’ personality types that organisations should be particularly wary of, as they can have a particularly harmful effect on the work environment if not managed appropriately. 1. The “Woody Allen” or paranoid personality. Constantly feeling “they’re all out to get me”, this employee will exhibit distrust and suspicion in the workplace. They can be very argumentative and quick to blame their colleagues for errors. Their dislike for ambiguity can lead to them taking a simplistic ‘black and white’ approach to decision-making, while also relying on broad stereotypes to categorise colleagues. These behaviours can obviously have an impact on team cohesion and workplace cooperation.
2. The “Rebel without a Cause” or anti-social personality. This employee will be identifiable by their complete and utter disregard for other people. Colleagues will regard them as thoughtless, callous, cocky and often bullying and aggressive. They believe that rules don’t apply to them, and frequently break laws and societal norms through their impulsive behaviour. This lack of planning and consideration for the consequences of their behaviour makes them appear reckless and volatile. They will shrug off personal responsibility both at work and in their private life. As a result, their career progression usually suffers, along with personal finances and relationships. They will usually come to your attention through your organisation’s disciplinary channels.
3. The “Drama Queen” or histrionic personality. This type is characterised by their high emotionality and desire to be the centre of attention at all times. They will exaggerate and elaborate stories in order to appear special. Nothing is ever straightforward with them. When in conversation, they will have very strong opinions on a range of subjects, but with little evidence to back up their claims. Their physical appearance is very important to them and they will frequently use this to gain colleagues’ attention – often through inappropriate workplace dress. Colleagues will view them as theatrical and emotional and soon tire of their stories and exaggerations. It can then be difficult to get anyone to work with them and their need for attention will not allow them to be productive working is isolation.
4. The Perfectionist or Obsessive-Compulsive Personality This employee is characterised by their emphasis on careful planning and order. Indeed, they may draw up incredibly detailed plans, meticulous in every aspect -except the plan is never implemented and the work never gets done. The obsessive employee is all about orderliness and perfectionism and this can often be at the expense of efficiency. They don’t know the meaning of “good enough” and constantly strive for perfection at work. This can lead to conflict with colleagues – they believe there is only one way to do anything, and it is their way. They tend to be unwilling to delegate as they don’t have faith in the abilities of others. They will therefore reject offers of assistance, missing deadlines in the process. Their focus on the minutiae of tasks and uncooperative nature make them a frustrating colleague to deal with and one who finds it difficult to conceive that there might just be a simpler, more efficient way to work.
5. “The Hermit” or avoidant personality You might never have met this employee, though they’ve worked for you for some time. They are socially inhibited and are viewed by others as shy and quiet. Organisationally, they prefer activities where they can work alone and avoid meeting new people. Group events fill them with fear. They can have low self-esteem and avoid new responsibilities and offers of promotion, just to avoid making mistakes. They can be extremely risk-averse and will provide you with multiple reasons why a new activity or change to working practices is inherently bad and sure to fail. They are also prone to seeing criticism where there is none and so need to be handled carefully and sensitively. Their ability to work well alone is tempered by their innate dislike of change.

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