Saturday, 5 April 2014

Emotional Vampires at Work

Finished April 5
Emotional Vampires at Work: Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers Who Drain You Dry by Albert J Bernstein

This self-help book takes a look at personalities, behaviours, and culture in the workplace. Rather than look at why people behave the way they do, this book emphasizes how to recognize certain behaviours as potential problems for you at work, and offers ways to deal with these behaviours.
First, the author offers a quiz that helps you to identify your own behavioural tendencies so that you know your weak points and can modify your reaction to others' behaviour to allow for these, or at least think about them before you act. The author encourages slow thinking, rather than the fast thinking that is more reactive in nature. By taking the time to look at a situation, think about who certain actions benefits, why someone is telling you something, and what your options are, you can act smarter and more productively.
He categorizes five types of emotional vampires. These are more extreme than difficult people, often because they have strong personalities that can draw you in. These five types are Antisocials, Histrionics, Narcissists, Obsessive-Compulsives, and Paranoids. He acknowledges that many people may show some aspects of these behaviours, including yourself, but the key is that most of us recognize those behaviours in our selves, and thus have a level of self-awareness that protects us from acting to an extreme. The emotional vampires do not. They have several aspects of one of these types of behaviours, but don't seem themselves in these descriptions, and react badly if you try to show them how they do. For each of these types, the author describes traits, shows how these might manifest themselves in different general senses, and talks about strategies to still have a productive workplace while dealing with these people. He also talks about how an organizational culture can take on these traits if the people at the top are emotional vampires.
All readers will recognize some people they have worked with at some point in their lives, or that they know in their personal lives. They key to dealing with these people is not to take things personally, but think with care about who benefits from their actions, protect yourself, and leave the organization if necessary.
An interesting read.

1 comment:

  1. I have worked with the Paranoid types and the Histrionics and they are just about the WORST.