Dysfunctional Attitudes in the Workplace

Some people just don't play or work well with others.
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Managers that don't take action to address dysfunctional attitudes at work might find themselves without a staff. People at work with bad or negative attitudes take a toll on the rest of their co-workers because negativity spreads. When left to poison the environment, dysfunctional attitudes can cause good employees to jump ship. While everyone can have a bad day occasionally, dysfunctional attitudes are usually attached to problem personality types, easy to spot in most situations when you pay attention.


    Some people are just angry at everything. No matter how you approach them, passive-aggressive people often respond defensively or with thinly veiled hostility. They can be sullen, argumentative or stubborn. They procrastinate over task completion, speak sarcastically and ambiguously, or use cryptic speech. After a conversation with this person, you might walk away feeling as if you did something wrong when all you did was ask a question. Anybody gets angry over issues that arise at work periodically, but when a person's attitude is underscored by passive-aggressiveness most of the time, there's an underlying problem, which might require professional help.

Negativity and Complaining

    No matter how positive an announcement or situation at work, the complainers always find something wrong. Even when everyone receives a bonus, you'll find the complainer making noise about the size of his bonus. Some people aren't happy unless they're finding something wrong at work. Complaining aloud helps these people feel justified in their screwed-up version of the world: everything and everyone is broken except for them.

Lazy and Loafing

    When you stop to take your break for a moment, you'll find the person with a lazy attitude -- the loafer -- already in the break room. He'll still be there when you leave. The next time you go in there for a quick cup of coffee, he'll still be there. If he's not there, he's busy chatting up a co-worker at his workstation. These people have a dysfunctional approach to work – they act as if they are allergic to it. When left to their own devices, their loafing ways and lazy attitude can disrupt the work efforts of everyone in the office.

Entitled Attitude

    Another dysfunctional attitude is found in the person who believes she is entitled to the best of everything at work. This type of attitude is displayed when the person believes she doesn't have to earn a raise or put in the extra hours needed to complete a project. She's not a team player, being above the rest of the "common" folk, and she shuns those who are. She's also the one who believes that she is already all she needs to be, so she makes no effort to pursue personal or professional development.

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