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Gordon coined the term “drainer” to describe “people who suck the life and energy right out of you.” Here are his top 12 draining behaviors, with tips for how to change for the better:
1. The energy vampire. Gordon calls people who are never happy, rarely supportive and constantly nay-saying suggestions “energy vampires.”
What to do: Respond constructively when someone offers an idea. Even if you think suggestions are off the mark, hear them out. Let employees and co-workers know that when they bring ideas, they’ll be received with respect. Insist that others do the same. Negativity squelches creativity and initiative, but an encouraging attitude keeps creative juices flowing.
2. The out-of-control complain train. It’s a well-known phenomenon: One person’s complaint resonates with someone else, who adds grievances, prompting another to throw in her two negative cents and so on. Soon everyone is complaining, and any work that gets done is marred by a bad attitude.
What to do: Push for solutions. If a conversation heads for Complaint Central, ask the complainers how they would improve things. Turn employees from problem-sharers to problem-solvers.
3. The vicious voicemail (or e-mail). These critiques often seem more vehement than they actually are. Any communication sent electronically can last forever, a constant reminder of supposed shortcomings.
What to do: If you need to talk through a conflict, do it in person if at all possible. You’ll be able to ensure your words and tone aren’t misinterpreted, and you’ll be able to immediately have a constructive dialogue. By talking about ways to improve, you can end the conversation on a positive and encouraging note.
4. The loaded Monday morning inbox. If you’re getting a jumpstart on the workweek, it can be tempting to dish out details and to-dos as you think of them. But coming in to a mountain of e-mail on...