Everyone has pet peeves, those little things that happen that aren't big enough to require much of your effort, but come up to annoy you again and again when you least expect it. It could be people leaving a mess in the office kitchen or constantly interrupting when you are on phone calls.
Whatever the annoyance, those little stings to your brain can make you less productive every time they occur, and eventually add up to big headaches.
I am one who refuses to suffer a constant annoyance. I tolerate an irritation about three to five times before I must take action. When something crosses the line into a pet peeve I approach it in one of two ways:
1. Address it. I usually address the annoyance directly with the person or people causing it. I confront them directly and in a kind manner about why I have a problem with the activity or behavior that is taking place. Most often they are simply unaware of the situation and are usually happy to accommodate if they don't have a vested stake in the issue. If they have a legitimate reason for doing what they do, I listen, evaluate and seek a compromise that works for both of us. The conversation may start uncomfortably but it usually works out pretty well.
2. Remove it. I eliminate the circumstances that are causing the problem in a creative and efficient way. I may have to fire a client, find a new vendor or even change my own personal patterns, but I know if I don't remove the irritation my productivity will suffer.
Here are additional insights on pet peeve removal from my Inc. colleagues.
3. Change the structure.
A friend often quotes this line to me: ". . . the breakdown in all human relations is unstated expectations." One of my pet peeves is directly related to this philosophy. I am absolutely fine when employees work from home, but for some reason it always drives me crazy when someone tells me at the very end of the day, usually on their way out, that they are going to work from home the next day. In order to correct this problem, I wrote a section in our handbook that covered the "rules" for working from home. As long as the employee is following those rules, they don't need to tell me their schedule and it never bothers me. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward
Want to read more from Eric? Click here.
4. Share your annoyance.
In his most recent book, New York Times bestselling author Adam Bryant, shares the story of an executive who wrote an official user manual outlining his quirks and preferences. Do you react strongly to missed deadlines? Do people tend to think you're angry or ignoring them, when indeed you are simply deep in thought? Such a manual would help employees understand these little nuances and save the emotional, time-sucking effort that goes into solving the mysteries of you. According to Bryant, CEOs find that sharing this information recognizes that we all have our idiosyncratic preferences and people work together more effectively and creatively when they understand them upfront. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist
Want to read more from Marla? Click here.
5. Chill or confront.
Pet peeves come in two flavors. In the first case, something may be bugging you, but that something really isn't really a big deal and you just need to chill. In that case, get over it, and the sooner the better. However, in some cases pet peeves are a real problem--they may be affecting your productivity and the productivity of your coworkers. In cases like that, you've got to take action. The best way to deal with a serious pet peeve, no matter what it is, is to hit it head on. When I used to work in an office situation, someone was opening our lunch bags kept in the office refrigerator and helping himself to our food. We set up an elaborate trap for the perpetrator, caught him in the act, then shamed him from messing with our lunches ever again. Peter Economy--The Management Guy
Want to read more from Peter? Click here.
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