Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken
These are people who are always late to their own meetings or conference calls.
If you schedule a meeting or a conference call and then are late starting or joining it, you are just showing your colleagues how little you value their time and how important you think you are. Stop it.
What’s that, you have back-to-back-to-back meetings? Yeah, so do the rest of us.
2. The Ron “Set it, and forget it” Popeil
Email is not a workflow tool. A lot of business professionals get dozens or hundreds of emails a day. Most are just white noise, as the cc: field is now highly overused (see The Spammer).
Sending someone an email asking them to do something does not guarantee they will read or even see it. This is especially true when you bury your question or action item in an email with a subject line like: “FW: RE: TPS Report Formatting Issues Memo”. No one is going to look at that.
If you need an answer in real-time, use that magical black box on your desk and call the person.
3. The Spammer
Stop copying the whole company on your email threads.
It’s especially used by those who are incompetent or in over their head to loop as many people into a conversation and thus share the blame if something goes wrong. “But I copied you on the email thread and you didn’t object!!”
These people start an email by opening up the address book and selecting anyone and everyone who has ever had anything remotely to do with the email’s topic.
The Spammer is usually also guilty of inviting everyone and their brother to meetings, ensuring that it will be a waste of your time and most everyone else’s, but if you don’t join they will send an email saying:
Had to reschedule call due to non-participation by <fill in your name here>.
4. The Two Left Feet
This person ignores everyone else’s calendar availability when scheduling a meeting and steps all over your meetings.
We all know, of course, that their meeting/project is more important than everyone else’s. You will have to rearrange your schedule.
Sometimes they are really vindictive and schedule on top of your lunch.
5. The Monday Morning QB
The MMQB refuses to show up to all (or any) of the project planning phase meetings, but then shows up at the beginning of execution and starts poking holes in the plan and holding forth with reasons why it won’t work. The MMQB is not to be confused with The Naysayer.
6. The Naysayer
This annoyance is actually on every planning call, throwing up roadblocks and telling you that it can never be done. Never offering solutions and never taking any responsibility of tasks, they were probably placed on the team because they are “really sharp” or “an expert”.
This person is either afraid of confrontation or a psychopath, so they agree with the plan while everyone is together, but then ignore everything that was said and do what they feel like behind your back.
8. The Sidler
This one is probably all too well known in the corporate world today. These are people that show up in time to take credit and leave before blame is dished out.
Take Elaine’s advice and give yourself some kind of early warning system.
Scheduling a fake meeting just for them at the same time as the real meeting may just work.
9. The Devil’s Advocate
No matter what the topic, this person will always disagree and want to do the opposite. They love to argue with you just for the sport of it. One good thing about these people is that you can predict what they’ll say. If you need their agreement, just pitch the opposite and then capitulate.
10. The Doormat
This is someone, usually a manager or project lead, who cannot say ‘no’ to anyone. People pile on requirements and side-load projects with additional tasks that are totally extraneous to the original goal. The Doormat just adds it to the list and the project is doomed for failure. The term for this is “scope creep”, but it doesn’t happen without someone nodding their head in assent like a bobble-head doll.
If you recognize any of these habits, I commiserate with you.
If you don’t recognize any of them, then you are the annoying coworker.