Poll: Negative people make the worst co-workers
- People with negative attitudes topped the list of least desirable co-workers, according to a new Comparably survey. Of the 20,000 respondents polled, 28% chose "negative personality" as their least tolerable trait in a co-worker. Other undesirable characteristics were "poor work ethic," "entitled or arrogant," "takes credit for others' work," and "disorganized and late."
- Respondents older than 50 and those in IT departments selected "poor work ethic" as the least desirable characteristic, while "negative personality" came in second for both groups. Men and women shared the same opinions, with just a few point differences. When the responses were organized by ethnicity, "negative personality" was the top choice among all groups.
- Younger employees, ages 18 to 25, were the most likely to quit their job because of a co-worker (38%). This sentiment declined with age, falling to 34% among respondents ages 51 to 55. Women were somewhat more likely than men to quit because of a coworker.
Negative attitudes should send up a "red flag" for employers; they can deflate morale and drag down productivity. And worse, they can spread among other workers or cause employers to lose valuable talent. Employers must remember that bad bosses can harbor negative attitudes and create a toxic work environment that can generate lawsuits.
By focusing on the characteristics that employees find the least desirable in co-workers, the Comparably poll gives employers a look into the interpersonal problems that can harm team-based workplaces. HR can use the results to address how employers can build more cohesive and productive teams, where training to improve behavior and performance might be needed, and how to rebuild company cultures that become associated with undesirable characteristics.