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Grow Up! Childish Behavior Runs Rampant in the Office

Grow Up! Childish Behavior Runs Rampant in the Office
Credit: Studio Grand Ouest/Shutterstock

Just because elementary and middle school ended years ago, that doesn't mean workers don't still act like children, new research finds.

Throwing temper tantrums when they don't get their way and gossiping about co-workers are just some of the juvenile behaviors employees say they've seen from colleagues, according to a CareerBuilder study. Overall, nearly 80 percent of workers have witnessed co-workers acting like children in the workplace.

The top 10 childish behaviors workers have seen from their colleagues around the office are:

  1. Whining
  2. Pouting over things that don't go their way
  3. Tattling on co-workers
  4. Playing pranks on co-workers
  5. Making faces behind others' backs
  6. Forming cliques
  7. Starting rumors about co-workers
  8. Storming out of the room
  9. Throwing tantrums
  10. Refusing to share resources with others

Some degree of childish conduct can be harmless, because it enables employees to let off some steam and even promote a sense of camaraderie in the office, said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. [Rude Behavior at Work Is Contagious ... And Bad for Business ]

"But there's a fine line between innocent fun and inappropriate behavior," Haefner said in a statement. "Actions like spreading rumors, 'tattling' and forming cliques to exclude others can be perceived as mean-spirited, bullying and even harassment."

Employees who act immaturely around the office only end up hurting their chances of moving up the corporate ladder. Previous research from CareerBuilder revealed that more than 60 percent of employers are less likely to promote employees who whine and pout and who generally have negative attitudes.

In addition, nearly half of employers said they would think twice before promoting an employee who participates in office gossip.

The current study was based on surveys of more than 3,000 full-time, U.S. workers and more than 2,000 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across a variety of industries and company sizes.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.