You know the story. Green guy named Grinch hates Christmas and steals all the presents from the Whos in Whoville. Afterward, he sits comfortably perched above their town on the hill, waiting for them to be completely miserable because of his theft and ransacking of their homes, but instead he hears something unexpected. They sing. They sing loudly and beautifully with joy in the hearts and the feeling of true blessing in their souls. Turns out he couldn’t steal the true meaning of Christmas from them.
We all know a Grinch in the office. They are just miserable people. They complain frequently and whine with an ease that 2-year olds would envy. Yes, the Grinch in the office can create quite the disturbance in a meeting or attempt to derail any form of pleasure others take from the work they do.
How to spot the Grinch: (as if I need to tell you)
- Green with envy. Envy of the money others make, the hours they don’t have to put in, and the perks that they receive from the boss.
- Rarely smile or appreciate others. More than a bad day or situation that causes temporary sadness. A Grinch is someone in the office that refuses to say good morning or return a pleasant glance. Sharing appreciation for a strength, talent, or deliverable is allocated only in rare occasions when they decide it is “deserved” – although they have not shared what you could do to “deserve” those things.
- Try and steal your joy. A Grinch finds negative things in the best of circumstances at the office and seems to frequently create drama. Bonuses are handed out and the Grinch says, “Last year we got 5% more.”
- Never take responsibility. A Grinch in the office loves the blame game. Rather than take responsibility for their part in any situation at work that didn’t turn out ideally, the Grinch always finds a reason why it was someone’s fault for a failure.
How to deal with a Grinch at work
- Be a like the Whos in Whoville. One of the best ways to deal with the Grinch is to stay grounded in the vision of who you want to be, what you want to accomplish, and the long-term outcomes you are working for. Stay in the empowerment zone and coach yourself and others to perceive the Grinch as a challenge. There’s a Grinch in almost any situation at work or home, so why not challenge yourself and others to learn to better communicate and deal with them when they pop up?
- Spend some time with the Grinch. Discovering someone’s story can be enlightening and helpful to developing empathy. The reason you need empathy at work? Because with empathy you are going to build trust and communicate more effectively with the Grinch.
- Appreciate their strengths. The Grinch who stole Christmas from the Whos was pretty industrious and had one helluva drive. He had some fire in that engine and could stay focused on a course of action and deadline. Strengths, right? So maybe you can’t see your Grinch’s strengths right now. Become curious about what they may have been before. Before the world seemed to have beaten them down in some way.
- Make a shift. After you’ve done some heavy lifting to find ways to challenge yourself and your team to work with them to create better outcomes. Hopefully, the Grinch will start making a shift. Maybe the Grinch will return the “presents” they stole from others on the team by beginning to listen for ways to be a part of collaboration rather than creating obstacles. If not, find ways to minimize their impact on you and your team – especially your customers. One Grinch can steal lots of “presents” like customer loyalty, team member support, and organization momentum. Don’t wait too long to do what’s necessary to remove them entirely if possible and warranted.
It’s pretty easy to spot the Grinch at work when it’s someone else. It’s harder when it’s you. We’ve all been a Grinch a time or two. Commit this holiday season to smile a little more, recognize others for their contribution, and regardless of how this year has worked out revenue wise, demonstrate the type of deep appreciation and gratitude that makes your whole team want to sing.
Wishing each of you a joyful and blessed holiday season. You certainly inspire me to sing out loud to share the appreciation I have for allowing me to do the work that I love with some of the most generous, smart, courageous, and successful people I could imagine…yes, that’s you! Thank you!