We came up with 4 fictitious archetypes that encompass toxic habits in the office. Within these four profiles we find real bad practices.
If we stop and think about it, the animal world is not so different from the corporate world. It's described as an environment where only the strongest and fittest survive, where the big fish eat the little fish, and opportunities depend on our agility and survival instinct.
It's in the "corporate habitat" where we find an enormous diversity of creatures, all with great virtues that face the race for productivity and innovation while also holding some toxic habits and behaviors.
In this article, we will talk about some profiles that "inhabit" workspaces and can lead us to poor failure management and generate adverse environments for innovation.
To do so, we've come up with four fictional archetypes that encompass toxic habits in the office. Although they are satire, within these four profiles, we find actual bad practices that, to some extent, we may have applied in our professional lives, without even realizing it.
It’s important to point out that these profiles don't represent actual psychological archetypes. Great organizational cultures don't seek to mold or manipulate; but rather to manage with healthy dynamics that facilitate an appropriate way of working.
That said, we are ready to dive in!
This profile prowls the boardroom, looking for its next prey, and feeds on others' failures.
The "Fault Investigator" finds those responsible for every mistake and has the ability to avoid taking responsibility for their own when they occur.
Throughout our lives, we've been taught that failure and mistakes have a negative connotation and come with a rather high price to pay. That's why this profile is linked to toxic habits such as:
When there's a "Fault investigator" archetype in ourselves or within the team, it generates disproportionate consequences for failure. That is: we punish ourselves disproportionately, causing an atmosphere of fear and constant tension. This can lead to hiding mistakes and avoiding asking for help.
Although our more primitive side reacts to external threats with fear and caution, our rational brain resorts to other defense resources such as optimism.
While this is a handy tool in some cases, the "Excessive Optimist" takes it to another level. This profile inhabits all office spaces and uses their natural optimism skills to repress feelings and nuance unpleasant situations that should be addressed objectively.
An "Excessive optimist" profile in workspaces can lead to:
Optimism cannot be absent in our day-to-day. However, it does require to be balanced with objectivity and to look for the most realistic and readily-available solutions to any adversity.
In the unique ecosystem of work, it's common to find groupings that work as a team (or pack) for a common good. However, it's also common to encounter "Individualist" profiles.
Ignoring the need for mutual cooperation, these "lone wolves" decide to work on their own, interact only when necessary with the team (or less), and always keep their interests above others.
Thus it's not uncommon to find phenomena such as:
Naturally, these practices generate an environment of distrust, where new ideas are demerited and destroyed, and the exchange of knowledge decreases.
Our final profile is that of the "Evasive” person. Although it's related to the "Excessive Optimist," here avoidance tends to be more passive and inclined to low involvement and engagement.
The "Evasive" inhabits isolated spaces in the office, and when faced with situations of attention or failure, they flee to their work cubicle or bury their heads in the sand to go unnoticed.
Sometimes this profile generates a certain apathy for the work environment, and their avoidance leads to habits such as:
This constant avoidance at work may be a symptom of psychological danger or fearing the consequences of making a mistake or making a controversial or absurd opinion.
Beyond the profiles that may exist in the "work ecosystem," the important thing is to have a strong and transparent organizational culture that can manage people and have well-established processes to know how to react and act in the face of failures and crises.
At Fuckup Nights, we recognize the growing importance that the world of work gives to its culture, and that is why with programs such as The Failure Program, we seek to change the way in which the members of a company see and relate to concepts such as failure, innovation, and teamwork.
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