Does your team member refuse to be held accountable for what happens to him or her? Chances are, you've shared an office with people whose lives seem to be a series of dramas that are never their fault. As soon as they sit down, you wait for them to tell their latest tale of woe. And they rarely disappoint! Everyone else gets the juicy, interesting ones… ". She only gave me the brief the other day… ". My girlfriend needed to use the car this morning and I had to get the bus.
At first you listen with concern, then you get a bit bored of all their self-pity. You then get annoyed as their constant blaming of others for their failings at work and in life starts to affect team morale and productivity.
In this article, we explore what is meant by a victim mentality, and we look at how you can deal with this potentially damaging trait. Prof Kets de Vries says that someone with a victim mentality feels that he or she is beset by the world, and is always at a disadvantage because of other people's machinations or lack of consideration.
But it isn't just fate that causes a "victim" to experience more difficulties than other people. He may seek out disappointment, because it can give him a "kick" that psychologists call a secondary gain.
This is when not resolving a problem can actually have benefits. For example, someone with a victim mentality can feel pleasure when she receives attention or pity as a result of her misfortune. She may also get a perverse "thrill" from showing off the injury caused by others and creating a sense of guilt. And refusing to accept responsibility for a problem can be liberating.
Prof Kets de Vries says that, although this behavior can be counter-intuitive, manipulative and damaging, a "victim" may be genuinely unaware of his own complicity in his problems, and his secondary gain may be subconscious.
It's vital to consider the possibility that the individual in question is actually being victimized.
The advice in this article is given on the assumption that you have carefully looked into the circumstances and are reasonably certain that the problem lies "Confused hookup a manipulator avoids responsibilities of a manager" the individual, not with another person. Don't confuse victim mentality with victim syndrome. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but "victim Confused hookup a manipulator avoids responsibilities of a manager is more accurately a short form of Narcissistic Victim Syndromewhich refers to real victims of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
A team member with a victim mentality can pose real problems for you as a manager, and for the rest of your team. Here are four negative impacts that it can have. According to Prof Kets de Vries, one of the problems of dealing with someone with a victim mentality is that he likely doesn't want any help, and will react negatively to any attempts to change his behavior or mindset.
This can be attributed to the secondary gain effect that we looked at earlier. If she were openly aggressive, it would be harder for her to blame the resulting tension on a misunderstanding.
There is also the danger that he will accuse the helper of causing further distress. Be sure to avoid trying to fulfill the role of a mental health care professional — you will quickly be out of your depth. In his book, " Games People Play ," psychiatrist Dr Eric Berne described some of the roles that people adopt in their relationships, and the psychological games that we all play.
He also described how challenging it can be even for a therapist to deal with a "victim. As a manager, your job is to enable your team members to perform well in their respective roles. You are not expected to be a therapist, and your strategy must revolve around clear, effective performance management. Follow these eight steps:. If a team member regularly displays some or all of the following traits or behaviors, it's possible that she may have a victim mentality:. Be careful to leave it to psychiatric professionals to make diagnoses.
As a rule, avoid labeling people and reducing them to a stereotype. If you believe that you are dealing with a team member who has a victim mentality, and it is affecting his and his colleagues' performance, consult HR about the situation.
As we highlighted earlier, taking independent action to resolve the situation could easily be seen by the "victim" as bullying. It's essential to protect yourself by not appearing to be a bully.
Outline the steps that you plan to take, and ask HR to advise on and approve each one. Be firm about the standards of behavior and performance that you expect. Explain them clearly and get agreement from the "victim" so there can be no "wiggle room" for failure. You need to establish and maintain control of the situation. For example, set clear deadlines for tasks and projects, agree checkpoints to review progress, and make it clear whether you expect her to initiate any action or wait for instructions from you or someone else.
If this happens, you may need to consider the actions we highlight in step eight, below. Record your observations, and keep careful notes on the actions that you take and the work that you delegate. Reviewing the evidence that you collect will help you to understand better what is going on, and having a record will help you to counter any accusations that you are acting unfairly or being a bully. Also, keep a record of the resources, training, raises, promotions, discussions, and perks each team member gets.
Make sure that everyone gets their fair share of tough or unpopular assignments. And carefully document your observations about their performance and professional conduct. Finding This Article Useful? You can learn "Confused hookup a manipulator avoids responsibilities of a manager" team management skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club.
Include gratitude exercises, in which people write messages of thanks to one another. This will help to focus everyone's attention on where they are being helped and supported. It may also result in the "victim" receiving thanks from a colleague. This could help him to understand that not everyone is "out to get" him. It could also give him some pride in taking responsibility for the team's successes. Tell your people that it's their responsibility to "flag up" any potential bottlenecks in a project.
For example, if one team member's work depends on someone else completing a task, make sure that they alert you and chase the other person up if there is any delay.
This will help to prevent a "victim" from allowing the delay to become a serious problem that she can blame on someone else. Also, give your team members effective feedback. Use these one-on-one meetings to discuss any support and training needs that they might have.
This means that a "victim" cannot claim that you haven't offered or provided the tools that she needs to do her job. For example, give each of them, including the "victim," a small project to complete, and tell them that they are responsible for completing the task, and for overcoming any challenges or problems that arise. The buck stops with them. If he can successfully accept responsibility in this safe environment, it will help to build trust between you.