What is a nit-picker?
You’ve clicked on this post because you must be dealing with the classic nit-picker scenario at work.
Being torn apart whether it’s your ideas, your questions or your actions gets old really fast!
Not to mention if the nit-picker in your office is in a management position…Well, that’s even more frustrating.
But, before you get down, remember there is a way around this scenario. In this article, we’re going to reveal the signs and unseen factors behind a situation like this. By the end of the article, my hope is that you understand the mindset of why the individual at your work is highly focused on you.
But, before we start I want to say:
- There is a difference between nit-picking and wanting to get the work done right
- Instead of pushing this bad behavior aside I think we should bring it to light more often
Throughout my 6 years in the professional workforce. I’ve had encounters with the rare breed (or not so rare) that is the nit-picker. And I feel that it is bad managerial practice.
The nit-picker strolls around the office and constantly condemns you or a group of employees. They fail to see your strengths and amplify your little mistakes.
You should know that a feeling of power is the motivation behind this person’s behavior. This stems from a feeling of powerlessness inside the individual.
This person wants something out the situation, which is why they laser focus and micro-manage you. Maximizing the little things you do wrong, or just being overly observant of you.
Every situation is different and unique, though.
So, sometimes it might seem like you have the entire office nit-picking you or feel that they are against you. When in reality it is just a few bad apples that waste energy on these games.
Also, while it might feel that they nit-pick you 100% of the time. In reality, they could do it 50% of the time, while the other 50% they want to find out more information surrounding an issue at work that has cropped up.
Keep in mind there are many facets to a situation like this.
And lastly, sometimes, an environment can be very tainted with a lot of draining individuals. And if that is the case you can work through the problems at hand by speaking up in a professional but assertive way.
You’re at work. “Today is going to be a great day!” You exclaim. Birds are chirping, it’s sunny outside. You’re on a roll, helping customers, drinking your coffee (regular cream and one sugar please! 😉
When all of a sudden a command comes your way by nit-picker. You feel it is unwarranted.
How can you tell?
The first sign is what you are feeling. You aren’t too sensitive. If you feel that you have to be on the defensive. You should listen to that.
Side note: I realize now that I gave too much credit and authority to people that didn’t deserve it.
So, what if we really saw these individuals who act as bullies for who they actually were?
What if we could put on realistic glasses where these people’s true colors were exposed.
Their strengths, weaknesses, fears, dreams, and hopes? Why?
Because we all got ’em. Some people are just better at lying or wearing that mask.
Bottom line: Some people are just good actors.
So don’t succumb to their facade of power and strength. When in fact, you possess your own strength as tough as metal.
I’m not trying to break anyone down, either.
Fundamentally, I want the best for everyone. But like I vented to my mother about, there’s a difference between wanting the best for everyone and getting steam-rolled.
Don’t let yourself be a carpet that someone steps all over. It’s a process but I’m learning how to get stronger each day. And so can you through practice!
Back to your nit-picking problem. They sent a command and question your way but in an accusatory manner. You know it was accusatory because it made you feel stupid. Right? It made you feel defensive immediately.
Let’s continue, shall we?
Signs and symptoms:
You’re asked loaded questions, made to feel foolish or like you don’t know what you’re doing at the job, questioning yourself, having to explain yourself consistently.
For example, in one day, they’ve asked you 3-5 times to explain the reasons behind the decisions you’ve made.
And then they promptly end your chat with, “can you explain why you did this? What does the guide say to do?” Ah, yes the guide…..
- Managers trivialize your contributions.
- When you ask a question, even if you are new, you’re met with resistance or a condescending answer like you “should’ve known” that
- Your mistakes are blown up while others are met with care and less concern
Bottom line: The person you are dealing with is not as strong/tough as they present.
I firmly believe that the number one reason they assault others is that they aren’t on a proper nutrition regime. They don’t take enough vitamins and hormone balancing supplements or get enough sleep.
The fact that they undermine and bully is, in fact, their weakness front and center.
And the next reason is because of their ego. They don’t feel strong enough inside to conduct themselves in a respectable manner. Some people enjoy taking power away from other people because they are weak and/or lost inside that it’s the only way they can feel good enough about themselves.
Making you feel less insignificant is like a hit of morphine or more accurately dopamine, for them.
It makes them feel good.
Additionally when we include their ego. (And I’m not saying their ego is worse than anyone else’s, as we all have them.)
But, if we disassemble what’s going on inside their heads we see that they are insecure. They want to feel powerful and they want to feel high-ranking and influential.
So, in a warped point-of-view, they take you down so that they can build themselves up.
Other times individuals will nit-pick you because there is external pressure on them to meet targets and goals. For example, a manager is under stress to look like she is making a difference in the workplace.
Her manager has put hard deadlines on her back and so the ear-full that she gets from her managers, she passes on to you.
But all of this behavior stems from the lack of strength that they feel inside themselves. People climb on top of others to feel good about themselves because most of them don’t. And that’s the harsh reality.
Win/Win vs. Win/Lose
A win-win situation for both parties will make everyone happy. A win-lose situation, where one party wins and the other is made the loser, will result in resentment and anger.
At work, whether you are working out issues with a co-worker or manager, ensure they you approach it for a win-win outcome. That doesn’t mean letting your guard down. In fact, I recommend keeping that baby up 100%. Don’t waver in your strength. You don’t have to try to be strong, you just have to BE.
Do you deal with office nit-pickers a lot? How did you identify them? By their comments? A gut feeling?