Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., a human resources expert, is addressing his questions as part of a series for USA TODAY. Taylor is president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest professional human resources society.
The questions are sent by the readers, and Taylor’s answers below have been edited for further extension and clarity.
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Question: There is a social butterfly in my team that everyone likes, but it seems that he spends more time distracting us than working. Something has to change, but I don’t want to get her in trouble. That I have to do? – Anonymous
Johnny C. Taylor Jr .: In the workplace, you will surely find people with different personalities, cultural backgrounds and ideas. And this is good!
The ideal workplace is diverse. It is where differences come together to create a unique and enriching work environment. Of course, personalities do not always mix perfectly. Sometimes there is dissonance when temperaments and communication styles collide.
You should start by making it clear to your co-worker that, although he has good intentions, he distracts others. Fortunately, you don’t need to say this out loud; You can point it out through the action. Try to refrain from asking unnecessary questions and offer only brief answers to your talk. This may mean that you are trying to be productive, sending a social signal to return to work.
Your co-worker could very well decode this message, correct his behavior and solve the problem.
However, be careful that she does not misunderstand this signal. By creating a perception that you are not willing to socialize, you run the risk of lowering your morale and inadvertently affecting your team’s ability to collaborate.
Another approach is to establish limits verbally. When the situation warrants it, communicate that you are busy and that you do not have time to talk. You can say something like “I’m sorry, I have a lot to do now, but we’ll catch up later.”
Again, this message could be enough. And you can always follow up with a suggestion to meet after work. There, they can enjoy each other’s company and build camaraderie without reducing the productivity of their equipment.
If both efforts fail, it will be time to take a more direct approach. It can be uncomfortable, but you should have a sincere conversation with your coworker about the problem you see.
Focus on your needs, not on what you are doing wrong. That way, she can see it as a request for a favor instead of a criticism of her. Remember: people love to help other people, but they hate feeling judged.
You could even acknowledge your discomfort in raising the issue, and then say that you have chosen to be transparent out of respect for it and, more importantly, because you really value your relationship. Emphasize that it is not a matter of good or evil, but of different styles, and this must be understood and accepted by both.
As a last course of action, talk to your supervisor, and don’t worry about “getting her in trouble.” Your supervisor must solve the problem in a way that makes your workplace work better for you, her and your team.
Q: Are leggings appropriate in the workplace? I think so, but some of my coworkers disagree. – Anonymous
Taylor: Leggings are undoubtedly fashionable today, so the question arises whether they are appropriate for the job. And the answer really depends on the particular culture of the workplace.
In more conservative industries, such as banking or law, employers can frown at leggings in any circumstance, especially if the position is customer oriented. “Formal business” dress codes generally do not include leggings.
On the other hand, more informal workplaces, such as those found in creative industries or new technology companies, are more likely to see leggings as appropriate attire.
The answer also depends on the employer’s brand, as well as the position of the employee. Some employers do not allow external employees, such as a receptionist, to wear shims, but they are more flexible with internal employees, such as IT. Similarly, a five-star grill may require waiters and waitresses to wear formal attire, while a neighborhood diner allows leggings.
The world of work is constantly changing. This includes how employees dress and the corresponding expectations of employers. Thanks to the increase in teleworking and the economy of concerts, the volume of work done outside the formal office environment is increasing. That trend may be behind the movement towards more casual dress in the workplace.
However, this does not necessarily apply to your workplace. If you are not sure of your organization’s dress code, the answer is probably in your employee handbook. It may contain a strict dress code or general guidelines to follow.
If the advice is not clear, ask the HR staff about how leggings are perceived in your place of business. You can gain valuable knowledge about the unwritten rules that guide your culture, at least when it comes to fashion.