I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to having encountered someone who truly seems to fit the saying “misery loves company.”
It is difficult enough if we have to handle customers or vendors with this type of syndrome, but what if it is a coworker or worse yet your boss?
Why is it that some people are only happy when they are miserable and making those with whom they come in contact with feel the same way?
Psychiatrist William Glasser, MD, president of the William Glasser Institute in Chatsworth, CA, and author of Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom (HarperCollins, 1999), states there are seven deadly habits of truly miserable people.
Miserable people use these habits to control the behavior of those they are around. What are these seven deadly habits? They are punishing, complaining, blaming, threatening, nagging, criticizing, and bribing.
Some of these are a bit familiar, I am sure you will agree. We all tend to use some of them every now and then. It is when these habits are what you are made of, and ones you use everyday on those you live, work and come in contact with that set you apart as a miserable person to be around.
Is it a power thing or is it how these people are genetically wired? I am not sure, but working with one can be more than difficult. They use the habits above to get people to do what they want instead of just asking. For example:
The office sales team did not meet their quota, instead of addressing the issues of why and what needs to take place in order for them to be successful next month the sales manager blames them for his boss being angry at him and threatens they all may lose their jobs if they do not reach their goal for the next month. Everyday he is breathing down their necks about how they had better perform and pointing out the mistakes they have made.
Is that an uplifting, motivating way to inspire the team? No, we know it is not, and further more by the manager’s behavior it will not make the team work harder. When people are treated this way, they resist what is demanded of them because of how we are genetically wired when we are being forced to do things. I guess our auto-resistance kicks in.
Miserable people can change, although it maybe hard, because most of them were raised by miserable people, and it would take a lot of effort and help. The attached link is to a good article to give more insight on why misery loves company. If we can understand this type of person better, we will be able to handle situations with them better and not let their misery rub off on us.