Red Ink Behaviors – The Curse of the Workplace



Picture this – Brenda has been late for her shift at least once a week for the past six months; Patricia knows just about everything about a patient’s family that anyone could imagine and she gleans the information in chatty phone calls with them; Dennis doesn’t respond to any issue until it moves into chaos; Caroline consistently withholds information from her coworkers; Martha is cryptic in her communications, leaving her coworkers and managers to “guess” what she really means; Tom waits to the last minute to do any project then gets others to drop whatever they are doing to assist him; and Bertha is just cynical about every new idea that is presented at a staff meeting. Does any of this sound familiar? Welcome to Red Ink Behavior.

What are Red Ink Behaviors? Simply this-the working manners, habits and styles that can directly and negatively impact the bottom line of a unit, department, the entire organization. Sometimes these behaviors are unconscious-people are truly not aware of what they are doing and what the impact is on others, their department and the organization. Most times, though, the creator is aware of the behaviors that irritate others and how they disrupt the ‘normal’ flow of the workplace. In either case, productivity suffers. With it, money is lost. It takes more time to complete tasks, meaning overtime or even the hiring of additional personnel.

In some workplaces, the Domino Factor is a key contributor to Red Ink Behavior. The 20 unit: domino qq pkv surfaces when issues aren’t confronted directly and employees chat them up, dissect it-sometimes ad nausea-until everyone gets caught up in the latest escapades of a coworker or manager. That “caught up” impacts productivity . . . when productivity is reduced, the P & L is hit.

Most organizations are not aware of the cost. The answer is simple-money, usually lots of it. And it is money that most businesses are in search of today. Can a manager do a reasonable guesstimate of what bad behaviors cost? A manager must. And as an employee, it’s a smart thing to do as well. Do a guesstimate-how much money is kissed off when coworkers and managers don’t do what they are supposed to, including slacking off?

Toxic Workplace Syndrome Are there telltale signs of disruptive and unproductive behavior? Yes, complaints are usually at the top of the list. Managers and employees complain and grumble about staff and coworkers. It’s not uncommon to hear employees have quit and gone to work somewhere else. The primary reason? Their workplace environment is the pits-it’s toxic. Poor and abrasive managers or bullying and non-collaborative coworkers are also at the top of the list. I call it the Toxic Workplace Syndrome, a chronic disorder that costs money-overtime; using temps, replacement costs including signing bonuses, orientation, possible moving reimbursements, etc. My studies for several of my business books have shown that almost half of all surveyed in the past five years have left their employment due to abusive and subversive behaviors.

Is Red Ink Behavior in Your Midst? Whether an owner, manager or employee, probe a bit. Is your workplace toxic? Is it a practitioner or tolerant of Red Ink Behavior? Ask,

1. If there is overtime, is it excessive and why is it needed?
2. Is productivity lower in your department or office than in others that are similar?
3. Is work just not getting done?
4. Are you getting complaints or hearing others continually complain about others?
5. Is the Domino Factor in play?
6. Is there someone who everyone avoids dealing with?
7. Are deadlines repeatedly missed?
8. Is absenteeism high? 9. Is there a high level of tardiness (coming to work as well as returning from breaks)? 10. Do people ask to transfer to another department or quit-and tell the exit interviewer the reason they are leaving is for a “better” opportunity or being closer to home?
11. Do you feel that your workplace is the pits?

Few are thrilled with an organization that is riddled with individuals who practice the art of Red Ink Behaviors. For many, going to work is not a joy; it’s the pits. The sooner Red Ink Behaviors are recognized, the ones who create them are confronted and dealt with, the workplace can detox itself. If not, good employees leave, marginal ones remain. There’s far less hassel selling shoes at Nordstrom’s than dealing with ongoing rotten behavior . . . be it generated from a manager or a coworker!

Businesses-small and large-should create work boundaries-what is acceptable and what is not. It doesn’t matter if you are in management or employed as staff. Who wants to pick up someone else’s work because they are slackers, consistently late or just not following through-the Red Ink Behavior creators? And who wants to spend their time monitering those who are routinely late or not doing their work or share of it (and often coming up with a variety of reasons why it wasn’t or can’t be done)? The real choice should be to keep the keepers and lose the losers. The end result is a healthier workplace . . . a win-win for all.

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