High Maintenance Dynamics Affect Work Performance

I think I can sum up this research by saying don't hire drama queens or other high social maintenance individuals.

Take the co-worker with whom you always seem to be somewhat out of sync. So much of your psychic energy is consumed trying to get on the same page with him that by the time you get home you are too drained to do much of anything, never mind read any of those books you were compelled to buy on office politics.

Or imagine Bob, an experienced cook, who shows up at a soup kitchen for the first time enthusiastic about sharing responsibilities with another accomplished cook. The problem is that the styles of Bob and his fellow cook clash so much that later that evening, when Bob is at home, both his concentration and manuscript writing suffer greatly.

Confirming what many of us have suspected anecdotally, new research from Northwestern University shows that high-maintenance or difficult interactions indeed drain us. Most importantly, the study demonstrates how those draining social dynamics, in which an individual is trying so hard to regulate his or her behavior, can impair success on subsequent unrelated tasks.

  • Rob,

    I agree. It is as simple as that. The one thing that is good about this is that it’s usually not too hard to uncover these types of individuals in the hiring process. They just don’t seem to even be able to hide their being out of sync with anybody.

  • Bill

    Elaborate or explore the nature of the time within the work setting. Some businesses that are oriented to extremely sensitive expressions of quality are responsive to the subtle shifts and other businesses and/or governance operations may not be configured to incorporate the artistry of being and becoming more human. I’ve witnessed great teachers and few managers bring a class, an musical group, and organization into a performance level one would not have thought possible. Challenge and inspire!

  • According to what you said the other day introverts find everyone else high maintenance.

  • Rob

    Only when they are required to act extroverted.

  • In situations like this, it can be invaluable to be able to predict the outcome of these relationships in advance… it really saves a great deal of energy and effort…