For some reason, I like to give names to my thoughts. I like to classify them and give them structure. I also like typologies. Especially when it comes to people. I guess the roots of it are in my formal education that was very much about history and theory and surprise, surprise: about many classifications, names and structures.
One would say that people should not be classified and that every individual is different. Of course, that’s true, but I have realized that you can simply find certain typology of characters in every working environment and in 90% of the cases their behavior will be 100% consistent to the type of the character they belong to. Of course, psychology as science is dedicating a lot of effort and studies to this topic but I’m not talking about scientific classifications and theories here.
Recently my therapist called me a human soul expert. But I would say that I’m (or trying to be) more of a human behavior expert. And I will write in this blog about destructive behavior of people in the working environment.
A number of years ago a new colleague joined the company. She looked composed, polite, experienced and friendly. But pretty soon it became clear that she is a very destructive person. In order to create some value, to make something good, she had to de-construct and destroy many things (and people) around her. She was capable of creating very good things, but unfortunately, the price for everyone around her was always too high. When you combine this with an insatiable ambition detected quite late in life and some personal demons (read about demons in my previous post) you get someone who should be neutralized from the team as soon as possible.
You can call me judgmental or label me in any similar way, but simply put – destructive people do not change and they destroy everything they touch. Later, based on their capabilities, skills and knowledge, they can create something new, but in most cases after they destroy they just continue to destroy further.
How do you recognize this type of person?
- Too much criticism about work that someone did before them on the same or similar job
- Looking for associates who will support only their way of thinking. Usually very young people who would become loyal to a destructive approach due to their lack of experience and because they are scared
- Constant pushing towards new, new, new projects… In order not to be forced to actually analyze the success of what came previously and the fact that maybe some things were just decomposed and never put together again
- Fake interest in people who are usually perceived only as a tool
- Hiding the lack of knowledge with an aggressive approach in communication
This type of person exists in two versions: an ambitious one with high energy and drive that is proactively chasing opportunities to destroy someone or something, and other, luckily, more frequent version of passive, negative but not as dangerous person who is not as malicious for the system.
Quite soon after this lady joined the team I left the company. Got some more interesting offers. So I was not aware of the future developments. But recently I met another colleague who continued to work with her for 5 more years. And I was curious to find out if she changed at all. I was thinking that maybe after a while people become tired of destroying. But unfortunately, that was not the case. She became even more destructive, more powerful and she crashed the whole business down not taking any prisoners while doing it. Many people were left devastated both personally and professionally after this “adventure”.
My question was raised – I must admit – only in order to confirm my thoughts about this. I was expecting this kind of development and I was not surprised with the answer at all. Because, these types of people do not change. They can change temporarily, only if they are forced to change by someone who is stronger. And even then, they will find their way to be destructive in the background.
So what might be solution?
One option is to leave. If you don’t feel strong enough. Or you have different priorities. And this is fully legitimate solution.
But, if you can’t leave…
Well this is the case where the solution is quite clear but the execution of the solution is not always easy. This type of character should be immediately destroyed and kicked out from the organization. Don’t be fooled by potential capabilities that this type of person can present and results that might look good at some points. The end result is going to be a wasteland. This is one of the rare situations where I justify a dirty game in order to fix the issue as soon as possible. Use the same or similar tools to fight back. Be smart and not too emotional. Look at this as a pre-condition to start building a normal and healthy organization – which, at the end of the day, should be the goal for all of us, in the same way we are responsible for building healthy and responsible society.
Cheers for fighting back! Yes, it’s tough but someone has to do it. I still believe that.