The Instigator is the next personality we’ll talk about. The instigator may like to start issues like the pseudo-boss but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The instigator isn’t trying to take over or be the one in charge although they do like people thinking of them as all knowledgeable. The instigator loves drama and loves being the person in the know. Some instigators know that’s who they are and others don’t. Let me give you two examples of instigators I have dealt with, unfortunately during the same time frame.
One was a male. He knew he was an instigator. This person actually told me he loved to bring up controversial topics, you know them, politics, religion and so on. He would begin a conversation just enough to get at least two people arguing opposing views then would sit back to watch the fireworks. Another thing he told me he loved was when Jehovah’s witnesses would come to his house. He would happily invite them in then do everything he could to shake their belief in their faith. This man could be very personable but that was just part of his persona to lure the unsuspecting. I have to wonder about the kind of person that takes pleasure in shaking someone’s religious beliefs.
The other instigator was a female. Dealing with her was just totally crazy. This woman loved gossip. She loved being the first one to know something. She was definitely one of those who felt important by being a person in the know. I had problems with this person. She worked with two other ladies. Whenever one of the two was on her days off the instigator would start telling the one that was there what had been said about her by the absent co-worker. Of course, she never mentioned that she instigated and prodded the negative conversation. The instigator would get each of the other two mad enough to say things against the other then would continue passing it back and forth, acting like some kind of vicious go-between.
I eventually ended up with both of the instigator’s co-workers complaining to me about each other. I spoke to them separately. When each would tell me their story, as soon as they said “I was told” I would say by whom? I would not let them get away with trying to protect their source. I insisted on a name if they wanted me to take their complaint seriously. Once I saw what had happened, which I’ll admit I pretty much expected since I knew the instigator, I called the instigator into my office. I laid out what had been said and told her if she did it again she would receive disciplinary action.
This woman was truly shocked. She said, are you telling me I can’t speak to people? I said, sure you can, as long as it’s business related or general niceties, but if you are saying things to cause problems you will face the consequences. Then this woman said something that shocked me. She said, you know me. I come to work to do my job. I mind my own business.
She was completely sincere when she said it. She really believed that’s who she was. I was shocked that a person could be so utterly blind in regards to themselves. Heck, everyone knew what a gossip she was. Even the male instigator, when he would get bored, would make up a story, tell it to the female instigator then sit back to see how far the story would travel.
So for all of you people new to the workplace, don’t get sucked in by the instigators. They feed off of your emotions. Ask yourself why are they telling me this? What did they achieve by telling me? Was it just hurtful or was there some constructive advice? If there was constructive advice then it’s probably just a friend trying to help you out but if the only thing it did was hurt you, you might want to take a real hard look at the person who told you what was said. Maybe it was said but that doesn’t mean that the person who is passing it on to you is doing so because he/she is your friend. They may just be looking for their emotional drama fix.
Personable – having a pleasant appearance and manner.
Utterly – completely and without qualification; absolutely.