What you can learn from a colleague who sets a bad example

A career idol can teach you a lot about what you should do to succeed, but what about behaviours that might thwart your efforts to get ahead?

To learn these things, you need to find a person in the office who annoys, avoids, or shuns others on a regular basis and whose name is often accompanied by an eye roll or smirk. In other words, you should seek out a colleague who is the opposite of your role model.

Why? Reverse role models as well as positive ones serve a purpose in your quest to succeed. They provide living examples of what not to do if you want to get ahead, information that can be just as valuable for your career in the long run.

Following are three personality types commonly found in the office and what you can learn from them:

1. The egotist

This type of colleague thinks his or her own work is the first and only priority and leaves others to fend for themselves. This person also rarely volunteers to take on new projects when an opportunity presents itself.

Why you should do the opposite
Offering to assist people when they’re struggling to meet deadlines is a great way to connect with your coworkers and learn new skills in the process. They’ll also be more likely to help you out if the need arises.

2. The lone ranger

This is the office introvert who never participates in celebrations or social gatherings and only mingles with colleagues for work-related issues.

Why you should do the opposite
Interacting socially at the office can help you meet key decision makers and increase your visibility within the company.

3.The know-it-all

This is the coworker who professes to know everything there is to know about a particular subject and offers unsolicited advice on a regular basis. Most often, he or she is unwilling to concede or consider another person’s input or point of view.

Why you should do the opposite
No matter how knowledgeable about a particular topic you are, limit your outpourings of advice to times when you’re asked for your expertise. And pause to consider someone else’s ideas before offering your opinion. You’ll avoid being regarded as a know-it-all, and your own work can benefit by what you learn from others.

In their own way, colleagues with irksome personality traits have lessons to impart. Coworkers who set bad examples can teach you a lot about how to pattern your own behaviour at work.

Tags: Mentoring

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