Daily Archives: November 2, 2007

Are You a Workplace Fire Starter?

Work Fire StarterDo you enjoy coming to the rescue in a crisis? What happens when everything is peaceful and there isn’t a problem to solve? Do you find yourself starting little fires at work just so you can put them out later? According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, some employees take their love for providing solutions to the extreme. These individuals routinely create drama and chaos only to swoop in and be the “heroes” who come to the rescue by resolving the issue they created.

The article cites a case of an employee who habitually stirred up conflict among his co-workers. Once the situation reached a boiling point, he’d use his insider knowledge to solve the problem. At first, management thought this employee was very skilled at uniting people until they began to notice the pattern of workplace tension that followed him wherever he went.  Once management removed him from the early stages of group projects they discovered the conflicts stopped occurring.

Thriving on action isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it causes you to create tension where none previously existed. If you find that you love putting out fires more than you enjoy peace and quiet, take care that you don’t become a workplace fire starter.

When you feel your workplace is getting dull, instead of thinking of ways to stir the pot, brainstorm ideas for becoming more efficient and productive at your job. Not only will new challenges keep you excited, but your supervisors will also have a real reason to praise your efforts.

Do you find yourself looking for ways to become the office hero? What tactics have you used to add drama to your workplace? What have been the results?