To stay on good terms with your colleagues, stop complaining!

To stay on good terms with your colleagues stop complaining

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    Whatever our sector of activity, we all have a colleague who likes to complain about their overload of work. He often walks the corridors of the open space, telling anyone who will listen that he is “underwater”. An attitude that can be costly, according to a study published in the journal Personnel Psychology.

    The authors of this research arrived at this observation after conducting an experiment with 360 individuals. They gave them to read the statements of fictitious colleagues who were returning from a conference. The participants had to give them a rating based on the sympathy that these imaginary characters inspired in them or the professional skills that they attributed to them.

    The results show that volunteers judge harshly people who complain of being overwhelmed. In their eyes, a colleague who says he is “carried out” or “overbooked” is less friendly and competent than another who does not openly complain about the arduousness of his work.

    Furthermore, the researchers found that participants were less inclined to help a colleague who communicated their stress to them. “People cause harm to themselves by engaging in behavior that they think will make them shine in the eyes of their colleagues.“, explains Jessica Rodell, professor of management at the University of Georgia and lead author of the study, in a statement.

    Stress, a contagious emotion in business

    Because, in the office, it is often fashionable to say that we are swamped with files. The intensification of work rhythms pushes employees to develop protection mechanisms to decline any new professional solicitation, without coming across as a slacker in the eyes of their colleagues and superiors. One of them consists of make your stress visible by constantly complaining about his (over)workload. “We have all witnessed this type of behavior, and perhaps we have all engaged in it at one point or another in our careers“, underlines Jessica Rodell.

    Although this practice is widespread, it nevertheless remains harmful. Indeed, stress is contagious. All it takes is for a colleague to tell anyone who will listen that they are under pressure for their anxiety to reflect on the entire team. “When a person constantly talks about and brags about their stress, it creates the impression that it’s a good thing to be stressed. This trickles down to the colleague next to him. They end up feeling more stressed, which leads to greater burnout or disengagement from their work“, says Jessica Rodell.

    But then, should you silence your emotions at work? Not necessarily. It is completely healthy to talk about your feelings around you, as long as you don’t go overboard. If you feel that you have too much to do at work, don’t hesitate to talk to your manager. The latter will be able to give you advice on how to organize yourself better, or even relieve you of some of your tasks.

    If you feel stressed, isolate yourself and try mindfulness exercises. They will allow you to reconnect with the present moment and, therefore, to take a step back from the negative emotions that you feel rising within you. This will prevent you from taking your stress out on your colleagues.