The importance of self-management at work

Work It!

Carlotta Daniels-Randolph | 8/8/2016, 7:10 a.m.
It would probably not be difficult for many workers to recall an incident where they witnessed or may have been ...

It would probably not be difficult for many workers to recall an incident where they witnessed or may have been involved in some unfortunate form of inappropriate workplace behavior. Incidences of bickering, harassment, bullying, name calling and other inappropriate behavior reportedly takes place. For many years business owners, managers and supervisors have recounted their tales of woe to employment placement and human resources professionals of how they claim some employees behave at work when interacting with one another, with supervisors and sometimes with customers.

What’s behind all of the unruly behavior among adults in business or professional settings? Cases of harassment of various kinds have been reported for decades and the rude treatment of customers is not uncommon. However, now there are reports of some workers regularly “breaking the wall” between what goes on behind the scenes of an organization and what customers witness.

One example I heard recently was when two front desk service representatives at a hotel engaged in a screaming match laced with foul words in the presence of customers. Obviously a situation such as this should probably result in dismissals for both parties, but what issue was so bad that the adults in this situation could not put it aside or resolve it for their own sake if not for the good of the company? It seems some individuals are less able (or willing) to manage themselves, and why is this the case? It is a cause for great concern because the behavior seems to be increasing and those engaged in it cross all age, gender, racial and ethnic groups.

What is at the root of this lack of self-management or even the idea that one should be concerned with such things? Is it not valued because it suggests lack of freedom or authenticity--the belief that, “If I hold back how I feel then I am not being true to myself”, or “others will take advantage of me”?

Are more people suffering from chemical imbalances, emotional or neurological disorders that interfere with their ability to assess and control their behavior? Or, is it that more individuals have been negatively influenced or desensitized by the lack of self-control on daily display via media of all forms, coupled with limited, real human engagement due to over reliance on “connecting” via screens? The go-to phrase for many people to explain the behavior is “lack of home training”.

It will take research studies to quantify this behavior and look at the causes. Meanwhile people in the workplace and social settings in general should consider this a real problem. If you currently are or have been involved in situations of workplace discord then think of how and why you may be experiencing it or contributing to it. If the behavior is chronic then it poisons the environment for everyone –employees and customers alike. Most businesses cannot succeed for long with a persistently chaotic and unpleasant work environment where both the employees and customers suffer.

As worn and dated as the “Golden Rule” may seem to some, it has merit and should be utilized. Is it so difficult to treat people the way we want to treated? Too often some individuals treat people the way they expect to be treated or have been treated in the past.