How to find and eliminate negative behaviours in a workplace
Rooting out corrosive behaviours is not simple, since they are often mutant excesses of laudable aspects of organisational life and group behaviour. Slowly these sabotaging behaviours become part of the working culture, and spotting them, much less extricating them, is not easy, according to Robert Galford, Bob Frish and Cary Greene in their book Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors That Undermine Your Workplace.
The nine particular forms of sabotaging behaviour dealt with by the authors are:
- Sabotage by obedience: following processes that are not working, instead of using personal judgment
- Sabotage by speech: speeches which deliberately or inadvertently lead teams away from good decisions
- Sabotage by committee: delegating work to a committee with no accountability and no deadline
- Sabotage by irrelevant issues: subverting a team’s agenda by introducing a burning issue or a side issue
- Sabotage by haggling: wasting energy arguing over minor issues rather than concentrating on the major task
- Sabotage by reopening decisions: trying to get a matter re-decided without bringing any new arguments to the table
- Sabotage by excessive caution: killing creativity by preventing people from taking any form of quick action
- Sabotage by is-it-really-our-call: failing to make decisions because of ambiguity in accountability
- Sabotage by CC: sending copies of emails that get overlooked because of their frequency
The book is based on an entertaining concept – the Simple Sabotage Field Manual published by the US Office of Strategic Services during the second world war – and it provides straightforward strategies for dealing with each of the types of intentional or inadvertent sabotage identified above.