Insecurity in The Workplace
Welcome back Savvytiers!
As promised - MORE on communication in the workplace!
It’s no secret that most of us (at some point) have fallen to the disillusionment of entrepreneurship in our respective field.
Often it leads to a lack of action (not taking necessary risk) or the opposite, over-enthusiasm (fake it til’ you make it). As a communication consultant for small businesses I discovered re-occurring behavioral traits in individuals that have a root of insecurity.
In the same way you end one relationship and fill it with another - entrepreneurship contains the equivalent of “baggage” in a new relationship. You must have seen an existing problem and therefore began a venture to propose the solution. Communication is a social art and running a business takes BOTH communication and social skill. It’s important to note that having an insecurity does NOT mean a person is overall insecure. It’s due to the subtlety of this issue that a root insecurity may sometimes be difficult to find.
Below is a detailed list with descriptions of individuals that may possess an insecurity, and practical ways to work these out for the betterment of the business. Brownie points for practical application!
Before I get to this list it’s important to understand and recognize how a single insecurity may impact your ability to run an effective business. A successful business is not solely a reflection of the profit margin and numbers. Rather, a successful business is one that is well-rounded with a solid team (productive / cohesion) as well as growth (community reach / profit income). A solid team without upward growth is merely a fellowship of people. Hence, the importance and desire to reach a balance of both team cohesion and profit.
• BRAGGER : This is the individual (boss / coworker) that continuously finds a way to celebrate their small wins at strange times and without provocation. Have you noticed the person that brags about family members, their child’s education, a new car or amazing opportunity? These conversations are generally accepted between close friends when the topic is aroused, however discussing these often between coworkers or at inopportune times may indicate a root insecurity. People with this type of insecurity find purpose and value in material wealth, self-life accomplishments, and the accomplishments of people close to them.
How this affects business: This causes a disconnect between leaders and employees, or between coworkers. It makes celebrating other’s wins difficult because the bragger feels a need “one-up” or brag in order to fulfill their need to feel valued or important.
How to manage it: With all of these it first takes acknowledgement of the issue. From here the individual should practice celebrating the wins of others (not friends or family) and also practice refraining from discussing their wins unless the topic of discussion is appropriate.
• BEATER : This individual is known the downplay another’s ability by way of bullying, intimidation, or emotional abuse. These are the individuals that feel empowered by elevating themselves above others and show this by nit-picking or being overly critical. Often this is a direct reflection of the beater’s lack of accomplishment or lack of confidence in their ability.
How this affects business: This is the toxic boss or toxic coworker situation and may lead to discord / resentment within the team. This causes high turnover, lower sales, and is the opposite of cohesion / profit needed for a successful business.
How to manage it: This is difficult but can be done with acknowledgment of the issue. From here the individual should practice complimenting and building positive work relationship. This can be done by acknowledging the strengths of team members or employees and offering to help in ways aligned with the person’s abilities.
• BENCHWARMER: This is the individual that constantly “goes with the flow” or let’s opportunities for career growth pass. This is also the individual that generally doesn’t discuss opinions about important subjects, or stays out of the spotlight despite the ability to perform.
How this affects business: The issue here is that a benchwarmer may be qualified and well liked but due to an insecurity let’s others achieve success instead. The benchwarmer may have valuable ideas and experience but hinders the team by remaining passive and quiet during important meetings or discussion. This generally comes from a lack of self confidence and can be fixed by making small goals to complete or keeping a record of accomplishments for a quick visual of the person’s ability.
How to manage it: This individual should practice offering their perspective in group settings, one-on-one, or anonymously. It’s helpful to share their thoughts and compliment the information with insight on why they believe their perspective is valuable.
For supplemental information please refer to the communication styles PDF here. Braggers and Beaters are aggressive communicators and Benchwarmers are passive. To maintain balance it’s important to strive for assertiveness which is a “healthy” mixture for productive communication in the workplace.