Are You The Office Baby?

Last updated 10 Jun 2014 . 2 min read

Dr. Hansal Bhachech

When the supervisor questions the quality of work, she bursts into tears. When a team member displays irritation at lack of inputs, she starts the blame game. If a client complains about deadline issues, she continually cites personal problems.  At the annual appraisal, she can’t take criticism and decries her work load.

Does that sound like someone at your workplace? Worse still, does that sound like you?

Say hello to the office baby, that person who habitually throws emotional tantrums at work.

An office baby displays attention-seeking behaviour through which she seeks to draw attention towards herself and her real/imagined problems (be they at the workplace or home). Many times, people exhibit such behaviour to manipulate or to take control over the work environment.

This kind of behaviour doesn’t speak well of the person, be it to colleagues or clients. In the beginning, people may give attention and importance to such a person and solicit questions about the “tantrums” but over a period of time they realise that the person is playing them. Gradually, they stop paying heed and attention, and often avoid or neglect the person. Office babies are often greeted with annoyance, too.

How superiors react to an office baby depends on whether they have been exposed to such persons in the past. Those who have been will be taken in, but an experienced supervisor will handle an office baby tactfully. Reactions vary from attention and sympathy to complete inattention and irritation.

How can people at the workplace tackle the office baby?

  • Don’t give undue attention to such behaviour.
  • No benefits or advantage should be allowed for such behaviour.
  • Direct the person to HR, if need be, but send the message that silly tantrums will not be tolerated.
  • People with deeper personal or emotional issues should be referred for counselling and treatment.

Dr.Hansal Bhachech, M.D., is a consultant psychiatrist and author based in Ahmedabad


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