Do You Know The Difference Between Behaving Badly and Lacking Self-Awareness?

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Are your team members coming to you with the same old complaints about a co-worker? You may be tempted to brush off these complaints as stemming from jealousy, especially if the person being criticized is a top performer. But top performers can have problems working with others. One of the top issues that team members and managers should address is self-awareness.

Self-Awareness Versus Behaving Badly

John Hall outlined the difference between lacking self-awareness and behaving badly in his recent Forbes column. Managers should understand this difference. An employee who claims they brought a client to the company, when they know that they didn’t, is behaving badly. An employee who denies they missed a deadline, when everyone else knows they did, is not self-aware.

Identifying Self-Awareness Issues

Managers who want to help employees with self-awareness issues must tread carefully. These employees also have trouble working with others. They’ve developed elaborate defense mechanisms. In many cases, these mechanisms are what’s keeping them from accepting the truth about themselves. For example, they tend to be defensive when you give them honest feedback. They also believe their work is better than it is.

How To Help

When you need to improve the working conditions in the office by talking to your abrasive employee, plan your strategy in advance. Keep in mind that you’re not going to be able to change many things about your employee. You also don’t have to leave them feeling that they’ve been attacked for who they are naturally.

Given those conditions, try to be specific. Pull the employee into a private space and let them know that their loud phone conversations full of graphic details about their night life makes it hard for co-workers to concentrate. If it’s appropriate, give the employee an example of how you had to change some of your behavior to improve the office environment for everyone else. When you keep the tone positive and update, your employee may change their behavior, and everyone will benefit.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.
Kathy Crosett

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