Whining, pouting, and temper tantrums are no longer confined to elementary school playgrounds or reality TV show reunions: Childish behavior is also prevalent in today’s workplace. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, three in four employees (77 percent) have witnessed some type of childish workplace behavior among their colleagues.
Top 10 Childish Behaviors In The Workplace
When asked which child-like behaviors they’ve witnessed colleagues displaying in the workplace, workers gave the following answers:
- Whine: 55 percent
- Pout over something that didn’t go his/her way: 46 percent
- Tattle on another co-worker: 44 percent
- Play a prank on another co-worker: 36 percent
- Make a face behind someone’s back: 35 percent
- Form a clique: 32 percent
- Start a rumor about a co-worker: 30 percent
- Storm out of the room: 29 percent
- Throw a tantrum: 27 percent
- Refuse to share resources with others: 23 percent
The national online surveys were conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll between May 14 and June 3, 2015, and included a representative sample of more than 3,000 full-time, U.S. workers and more than 2,000 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries and company sizes.
Real-Life Incidents Of Childishness At Work
Make no mistake: Childish behavior does not go unnoticed by management and higher ups. When asked to name specific immature or adolescent behaviors they have seen at work, employers reported the following observations of one or more employees:
- Company owner threw tantrums, yelled, and slammed doors when he didn’t get his way.
- Employee hid to get away from duties and work responsibility.
- Employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her in trouble.
- Employee ate other employees’ food from the company refrigerator.
- Employee blocked parking spots to prevent other employees from parking closer to the front door.
- Employee gossiped about all of his direct reports, then pretended to be their advocate.
- Employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content on her cell phone and showed it to her “clique.”
- Employee went to lunch and never came back.
Playing Around, Or Playing With Fire?
Displaying adolescent behavior in the workplace can take a toll on one’s professional brand. An earlier 2015 CareerBuilder survey among employers found that certain adolescent behaviors can have a negative impact on an employee’s chances of being promoted, including negativity, vulgar language, gossip, and sloppiness.
“Some degree of what we may consider ‘adolescent’ conduct can be harmless, enabling employees to let off some steam and even promote a sense of camaraderie in the office,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “But there’s a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behavior. Actions like spreading rumors, ‘tattling,’ and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment.”