by Bruce Myint | October 01, 2004
IllustrationWhether its a moody boss or a colleague sharing interminable stories about his toddler, dealing with certain types of co-workers can have a deadly effect on your productivity, according to Morrie Shechtman, author of Fifth Wave Leadership: The Internal Frontier (Facts on Demand Press, “When you think of people who drain you, chances are you think of people who are very intense,” says Shechtman. “Not true. Some drainers are extremely boring. A drainer is anyone who consistently takes your energy away from the tasks at hand.”
Sound achingly familiar? If so, Shechtman offers the following tips.
    " Know the enemy. Beware people who talk at you rather than with you. Likewise, be wary of a co-worker whose very presence makes you feel anxious or puts you to sleep. 
    " Set boundaries. Act assertively by confronting the problem. Shechtman says this could involve telling a “baby blatherer” that you do not have enough time at work to listen to his stories, or telling a “bullying boss” that you can no longer be an audience to her rantings. “Most likely you will gain the respect of the drainer, and she will back down,” says Shechtman.
    " Cut them off. Interrupt drainers by saying what you are experiencing at that moment. Tell a screeching boss, for example, “I’m having a problem following what you are saying to me. Please be clear. I would really like to know what it is that you need from me right at this moment.”
    “If you’ve noticed a problem,” adds Shechtman, “chances are everyone else has, too. By bringing it to the person’s attention, you might compel him to work on it. You are actually doing him a favor.”