It pays to sweat the small stuff. Lacking attention to detail and presenting sloppy work topped the list of office behaviors that annoy chief financial officers, a recent Accountemps survey shows. That’s what most peeved 41% of the CFOs interviewed said about their co-workers. Gossiping or engaging in office politics ran a distant second, cited by 23% of the respondents.
“Which one of the following co-worker behaviors annoys you the most?” the CFOs were asked. These were their responses:
■ Lacking attention to detail, sloppy work, 41%
■ Gossiping or engaging in office politics, 23%
■ Missing deadlines, 18%
■ Being perpetually late, 12%
■ Presenting others’ ideas as one’s own, 5%
■ Don't know/no answer, 1%
“Having to constantly double-check someone else’s work is a sure recipe for tension between co-workers,” says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, Second Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).”The success of any team depends on everyone carrying his or her weight.”
Regarding office politics, Messmer says that a certain amount of political maneuvering exists in nearly every organization, but it’s wise for employees to avoid getting caught up in it. “Office politics can damage your credibility,” he says. “The most successful professionals build relationships with colleagues—they need this level of trust for effective collaboration.”
Susan Afan, district president, Robert Half International, adds: “While most workplaces today are fast-paced environments, remembering to slow down a bit and take an extra beat to check your work will help you deliver better results. It also helps to ask a colleague to review your work, particularly for high-priority projects. By consistently delivering exemplary work, you will establish yourself as a trusted colleague and enhance your career marketability.”
Afan also believes that maintaining strong relationships with colleagues and managers must be a priority for professionals, and often it’s the so-called “little things,” such as meeting deadlines, keeping commitments and producing quality work, that make the biggest difference. Simply being friendly, saying hello and asking people how they are doing, and offering to help co-workers when they are overloaded, can go a long way, too.
“These actions will establish you as a trusted resource for your co-workers and boss,” Afan says. “When others know they can turn to you, particularly when the chips are down, they will be more likely to return the favor when the time comes.”
The survey was developed by Accountemps and was conducted by an independent research firm. It was based on interviews with 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.