These Are the Signs You're Overstepping at Work
It’s one thing to take your job seriously, but some people don’t stop there. Instead, they take it upon themselves to intervene in situations that don’t concern them, going above and beyond their job description—and not in a good...
It’s one thing to take your job seriously, but some people don’t stop there. Instead, they take it upon themselves to intervene in situations that don’t concern them, going above and beyond their job description—and not in a good way.
Because this is often done with good intentions, it can be hard for someone to recognize when they’re doing it themselves. Here are a few signs to help you determine whether you’re overstepping at work.
Sometimes, workplace behaviors that we think are helpful and responsible are actually really irritating to our coworkers, or may even create problems for them.
Katy DeCelles, PhD, an organizational behavior professor at the University of Toronto, and co-author of a paper entitled “Vigilantes at Work: Examining the Frequency of Dark Knight Employees,” recently spoke with CNBC Make It, and shared these three signs to help you figure out if you’re overstepping at work:
Let’s say you’ve noticed that one of your colleagues has been 15 minutes late for work every morning this week, so you decide to call them out, and tell them that they should work on being more punctual. In this case, you don’t think your supervisor has adequately disciplined their behavior, so you take it upon yourself to do it for them, or report it to HR.
“Typically a vigilante is defined by their punishment behavior,” DeCelles notes. “It starts out very psychological. You’re noticing again and again there are failures to enact justice at work. People are getting away with things that annoy you.”
Even if you don’t keep a written record of your observations, you at least make mental notes of any infractions of workplace rules and/or subpar job performance. This includes “hypervigilance, monitoring other people and expecting people to do things wrong or in a way you perceive to be unethical,” DeCelles says.
When you notice that someone has broken what you see as a clear-cut “rule,” but no one else sees it—or at least isn’t doing anything about it—you get upset. “A vigilante might see that as something that is more and more frustrating and angering to them,” according to DeCelles.