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Junior High at Work

Many Executives and Managers are surprised when they discover that there is a lack of professional maturity in the ranks. Often not just astonished but also unprepared for this increasing trend,  I am frequently contacted and asked to work with the employee in question (at all organizational levels and in a wide variety of industries) and then help the boss develop a new set of performance management skills to support the efforts and success of the employee in question.

This potential combination of emotional, intellectual (and chronological) immaturity can be troubling but when you add the implications it has for coworkers and bosses, it turns the workplace into a real living nightmare.

While I may affectionately refer to this as ‘junior high behavior,’ the truth is that I didn’t really love (or do well) with many of the emotional aspects of junior high. Here are the signs that you can be on the lookout for:

  • If you work with someone who can only focus on themselves at work, what they’ve gained or lost, their own troubles or view of things, they are highly self-centered. Unable to accept defeat gracefully, they seem unable to move on or participate unless things change to their liking. They may not see themselves in a realistic light and improvement feedback falls on deaf ears.
  • If you work with someone who is unpredictable and displays erratic emotions,  it can feel like you are walking in a minefield when you are with them. Engaging one minute and angry the next, it’s unclear as to what might set them off.  They can be jealous of others, unforgiving, and don’t take improvement feedback well.
  • If you work with someone who can’t make even the most simple decision without checking with you or others and can’t stick to their guns after making a choice, they are overly dependent. Lacking confidence after a reasonable amount of time and experience, there appears to be a lack of self-reliance and they are unable to stand on their own,
  • If you work with someone who is a bottomless pit for attention they will expect endless attention and constantly search for compliments, affirmation, and ‘air-time.’ These folks can’t wait for rewards and often exhibit poor impulse control.

Bottom line: this is not a phase and people will not get the ‘hint’ or change because you tell them to; it requires a deft management strategy, attention, and skill. Don’t hide out from Professional Immaturity – Junior High was hard enough the first time around

Bottom line: this is not a phase and people will not get the ‘hint’ or change because you tell them to; it requires a deft management strategy, attention, and skill. Don’t hide out from Professional Immaturity – Junior High was hard enough the first time around!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 9:15 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.