Everyone complains at work: a late reply, a higher work load than usual, a colleague that talks too loud on the phone. This is normal, but if repeated and combined with other behaviours this attitude can become detrimental not only to oneself, but to an entire team.

This is what Lorenzo Cavalieri defined as “childish mentality” in a Il Sole 24 Ore editorial: a set of modus operandi that can slow down the productivity of an entire company if perpetuated by several workers.

In some ways we can consider this mindset as the evolution of the working environment over the last few decades. Business functions have become more and more specific and the tasks related to them more and more repetitive, especially in sectors where hierarchy still plays a major role.

However, today’s working world has taken a new direction: the skills of the individual must be fully exploited and everyone must do their best for the team, without ifs and buts. The excuses of the past can no longer exist and every employee must ‘grow’ to meet the challenges imposed by the market.

How? By trying to avoid any kind of ‘child mentality’ and learning to deal with any shortcomings of others with maturity. Here are some examples of childish behaviour to watch out for and some tips to improve them.

1.    Blaming a lack of competence

“”I’m not capable”, “No one taught me that”.

We all have different skills, but there is always time to learn something new, especially at a time when everyone is replaceable. “Tell me what to do” must become “teach me how to do it”, thus triggering a continuous exchange of competences.

2.    Passing the buck

Slow internet connection, late information, urgent matters constantly overlapping: mistakes can happen, but they cannot always be blamed on others. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions is essential.

3.    Take offence and stop interacting

Sometimes in order to avoid conflict, people close themselves off (perhaps sulking) and wait for someone else to apologise. Wrong! The other person may not have noticed the arrogant attitude you are blaming them for or you may be in the wrong. In these cases the right solution is always to clarify in a calm and rational manner.

4.    Create “exclusive” groups

When you spend many hours together, it’s normal to bond more with one colleague than with another. However, this should not trigger a divisive behaviour that leads to the exclusion of some team members from social moments. Small groups also tend to engage in gossip, especially outside of work, which should always be avoided.

5.    Self-centredness

“This is mine, this is yours” “That’s not my role, speak to the appropriate person” “What do you need this information for?”. These phrases and many others have one thing in common: self-centredness. This is perhaps one of the most negative behaviours on the whole list, because it can include all of the above mentioned ones.

In this case, the only solution is to try to have more empathy towards colleagues, putting aside the fear of being outclassed by others.

6.    Constantly complaining

Last but not least, the point we started this article with: complaining. No one likes someone who complains all the time, because it spoils the mood and distracts everyone from their tasks.

We can all be guilty of at least one of these behaviours, but this should not frighten us: there is always time to improve and make our work truly indispensable.

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