No matter what organization you work for, in whatever industry or location it might be, there's always "that" guy or "that" gal who constantly undermines the good things you're doing. Sometimes this behavior is intentional--such as when a disgruntled employee decides to try to get back at his or her employer through sabotage--but usually it's the result of well-meaning people who aren't trying to cause harm.

However, harm is exactly what results from this inadvertent sabotage.

In their book Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace, the authors describe 8 specific behaviors that you should be alert to--and dismantle whenever you find them. According to the authors, "On the surface, these behaviors may seem perfectly innocent--even constructive. But left unchecked, these behaviors disrupt an organization's decision-making processes, decrease the efficacy of meetings and procedures, breed frustration and resentment among colleagues, and slow down productivity and innovation."

Do you recognize any of these sabotage behaviors in your organization? If so, you have the ability to do something about it.

1. Sabotage by obedience

Doing everything through "channels," and never permitting shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

2. Sabotage by speech

Making "speeches," talking as frequently as possible and at great length, and illustrating "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.

3. Sabotage by committee

Whenever possible, referring all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Also, making the committees as large as possible--never less than five people--which further sabotages the decision-making process.

4. Sabotage by irrelevant issues

Bringing up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

5. Sabotage by haggling

Haggling over the precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

6. Sabotage by reopening decisions

Referring back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

7. Sabotage by excessive caution

Advocating "caution." Urging fellow employees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

8. Sabotage by is-it-really-our-call?

Worrying about the propriety of any decision--raising the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group, or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Published on: Oct 16, 2015