Immaturity in the workplace, signs to look for

As long as we assume that all people are functioning at the same level behaviorally and emotionally in the workplace, we are sure to be surprised. Shocked when we meet a co-worker who responds to what we thought was a simple comment with an emotional outburst that resembles that of an eight-year-old rather than a thirty-year-old.

Although emotionally immature employees can be a cause of hardship at any level, according to Sherry Buffington, Ph.D., as they move through the organization, the bigger the problems. Should we be able to see an inappropriate emotional outburst coming? Are there signs that warn us about the level of emotional immaturity of various coworkers? Look at the following signs:


1. Inability to commit to workplace rules and co-workers. Any group of people who spend time together should be able to compromise on occasion. Not everyone can get away with every moment of the day.

2. Self-defense and excuses when faced with a reality at work. Part of the difficulty with dealing with self-defense and making excuses is that it can easily drift back to one of the original problems.

3. Avoidance of responsibility for work and / or interactions with other co-workers. The ability to say, “I was wrong and you were right.” it is an important mark of maturity. It also helps us stay within the reality of situations rather than trying to create a false scenario to protect ourselves from having to take responsibility for our work and actions.

4. Misuse or response to authority, which generates resentment from others. It is often the result of a false sense of entitlement. “I’m the boss and I don’t have to respect you.”

5. A tendency to revert to fighting rather than communication toward conflict resolution. The most common response when an emotionally immature worker feels challenged at work is often, “Yes, but …” And when the problem maker is verbally attacked without addressing the actual problem.

6. Complacency toward efforts to achieve quality work, which is another way of saying that they give the impression that they are lazy. But complacency is not the same as laziness. If the person is involved in the project, they can be energized to completion. The complacency is more the lack of concern for the result.

7. Try to hold others responsible for your own emotions. It is always someone else’s fault that the emotionally immature worker is having difficulty at work.

The good news is that anyone can mature emotionally at any age. The bad news is that the workplace is not the best place to help a person grow emotionally. Few managers want to be the “parents” of workers of emotional adolescence. Problems that can occur in the workplace, especially in the area of ‚Äč‚Äčinterpersonal relationships, can be very upsetting. Figuring out how to grow emotionally immature workers can be challenging for managers and co-workers to find solutions.

A manager can establish ways to hold his staff to account in the workplace. This must be done in a mature way. It doesn’t help when the manager is reacting to the same level of immaturity as the staff member. Confronting each incident of emotional immaturity with a silent and consistent response that requires the staff member to observe their own behavior and change to meet managers’ expectations is challenging.

Working with a partner in whom you have no authority can be more difficult. Your options are more limited in how to influence your coworker to grow emotionally. Sometimes the only options you have is to be as emotionally mature as possible, while trying to stay out of the line of fire of the emotionally immature coworker.

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Category: Business