In folklore and novels, vampires are blood-thirsty beings that suck the blood out of individuals and can eventually turn their victim into a vampire too. They come out at night and shun the daylight. My workplace vampires seem to suck the life out of the company they are working in. They may not be productive during the day but they seem to come alive when the work day is done!
Workplace vampires may not be easy to spot right away as they tend to wait until they are alone with another employee. They won’t show themselves to a group or a leader. They tend to pick on weaker employees, befriend them and then “stir the pot” by giving negative ideas or comments to the individual they think will support them.
Who are these “vampires”? They’re the employees who:
- Can always find things to complain about
- They exaggerate the seriousness of co-workers’ mistakes
- They love to spread gossip and start rumors that pit employees against each other
- They encourage others to talk behind co-workers’ backs, and
- Most importantly, they undermine supervisors’ authority with a never-ending flow of criticism that stays under-the-radar so it’s rarely recognized and corrected.
All of a sudden you may have comments given to you like – “The Employee Handbook says we should have a 15-minute break, twice a day and our department are only receiving one 10 minute break! This Company breaks the law!” Now, if your Handbook says you are to receive 2 – 15-minute breaks a day, you should, of course, provide it. However, if you are asking your staff to work through a break to finish an important project, let them know and ask them to work together to get it done. You may notice that tensions may be tight as the workplace vampire is spinning a tale about how hard you are working them without a time off! All done, of course, through the individual they are working on turning into a workplace vampire!
The problem is, the Vampire could be productive so you don’t notice the negativity because they are working hard and seemingly a good team player. It isn’t until you sense the tension or the whispers that you realize there is something going on that you need to find out about.
Remember, you need to value your culture and environment as much if not more than any one individual and that should be the same for organizations of all sizes. If you catch wind of negativity in the workplace, it is a difficult situation regardless if the individual is a strong or weak performer.
If you, as the owner of your Company, do not realize this Vampire is hard at work in your organization and confront them, it could have a very negative effect on your bottom line – that means MONEY!
Look for my new book, “Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies in Your Workplace? How to Turn Problem Workers Into Engaged Employees” for more on Vampires in your workplace – coming soon!