Enterprise Software

Navigating the dysfunctional workplace

Although many people see the approaching holidays as a stage for family dysfunction, they don't seem to know that they may be dealing with dysfunction every day -- in the workplace.

Although many people see the approaching holidays as a stage for family dysfunction, they don't seem to know that they may be dealing with dysfunction every day -- in the workplace.

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As the holidays approach, the thoughts of many people turn to dread; dread at the specter of family get-togethers and all the dysfunction that they imply. But most of those people say, hey, I can put up with crazy Uncle Fred for one day, or I can withstand some parental brow-beating for a few hours.

What many people fail to realize is that the chances are good they're dealing with dysfunction every day in the workplace. Many people fail to realize the extent of the dysfunction or the havoc it can wreak because they also happen to be getting a paycheck.

Oh, but it's there.

The inferiority complexes that force meetings to drag on for days because the attendees think debating the issues makes them seem smarter? The decisions that never get made because no one wants to shoulder the burden of a possible mistake? On some days, you long for the stability of crazy Uncle Fred.

Steve Tobak over at BNET has compiled a list of the most common characteristics of a dysfunctional workplace. They'll have you nodding your head in agreement. Take a look at those and then post your own IT-specific dysfunctional trait in the discussion here.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

11 comments
prosenjit11
prosenjit11

This is interesting infact sometimes discussions are just excuses towards approaching a solution and one is expected to take on Conference Calls with no other way to explain to the other end what is happening. One such incident happened with me that inspite of my requesting to have a face to face discussion with the stakeholders the entire gist of the subject was postponed and things that could be sorted out in a day was prolonged and one day the BLAME WAS ON ME AND OF COURSE BEING ON THE FIRING LINE. IT SEEMS THAT DIRECTORS AND SR. MANAGERS AND ONLY THERE TO VIEW THINGS FROM THE TOP LEVEL AND WHEN IT COMES TO BLAME IT IS ONLY THE POOR MIDDLE LEVEL MANAGEMENT SUFFERING AND BUSTING OUT. HATS OFF!!! TO THE POLICY MAKERS

Tig2
Tig2

If I should have gone down the road of psychology or psychiatry rather than IT. It seems like that skill set would be handier at most of the places I've worked. If that copy of "Crazy Bosses" that you keep locked in your file drawer is pulled out and read more than any other book in your professional library, you may have a problem on your hands. I have worked for bosses that pegged the insecurity scale, refused to communicate anything at all and generally assumed that they should be able to de-rail projects at a whim. This results in a team that mostly spends their time ducking anything and everything and not getting tasks accomplished. Great way to work, right? Unfortunately, the only way I have found to change the situation was to change the scenery. As a consultant that wasn't so bad, but I know that for many people, consulting wasn't an option and they stayed on for other reasons. That can be soul destroying. Incidentally, Steve missed one. "Blamestorming". This is the process by which everyone gets together in a conference room and determines whose fault whatever the problem is. Protip- DO NOT miss that meeting! Edit: formatting

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

Do you find yourself constantly having to navigate around co-workers with "issues"? What's your experience?

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

My son has taken several psych classes and I learned a great deal along the way. Actually, I was totally captivated. I have not doubt that if every IT geek focused on that subject we would totally rule the world. It's so very cool.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

And there's so many of them, navigating around the wetodds is not worth the effort. Too bad for TR...

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I took several psych classes as electives while at University - 12 weeks work. Thought it may help with future computer work and interacting with users. Hey, I even done the same in Forensic Medicine - that one was just for fun.

santeewelding
santeewelding

"There's not just one driving the wrong way. There's hundreds of them."

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

If I had a chance to do it over, I would get into this field. There is so much potential.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Toni's got a legit topic going, and everyone can clearly see who's hijacking it. Brush your jacket off and step back up on the curb.

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

And it's name is santeewetoddid.

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