Self-importance: How to recognize crisis junkies and protect yourself from them

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Deadlines are challenges for them, procrastination is a lifestyle and relaxed work is a form of self-abandonment: Crisis addicts create drama, whatever they do. Because they have a lot of experience with storm surges, they surf every wild wave – but it’s not that easy for the people around them.

This colleague can be a crisis junkie who throws herself into a project far too late – but with full energy. Crisis junkie can also be the buddy who always has the most blatant stories to tell from Saturday night. Crisis junkie is perhaps the manager who always discovers problems whose occurrence is very unlikely, but would definitely have dire consequences. In short: crisis junkies are exhausting and their crises are usually superfluous.

The worst crisis junkie in my professional biography once phoned me after me on vacation for hours. I had hardly any reception and when I finally reached her, she asked me, breathlessly and quite angrily, a question that was not only completely irrelevant – she could have answered it herself with a little internet research. I was at a loss.

Crisis junkies are contagious

It becomes problematic when the crisis junkies let their crises affect the lives and work of others. And that happens again and again, because a good crisis needs a big stage and some admiring spectators.

Crisis junkies become a problem for their environment if they not only manage crises, but also trigger them. With the recurring emergency situations you trigger stress in other people – unnecessary stress and stress that usually has no place in their lives.

At the same time, crisis addicts increase the likelihood that something will go wrong. In their striving to defuse dangerous situations, they (perhaps unconsciously) increase them. You can see afterwards whether you are up to it. And everyone else too.

Warning signs: this is how you recognize crisis junkies

Crisis junkies look like radiant heroines, which is why they are sometimes difficult to recognize. They are characterized by these features:

* Crisis junkies are constantly under time pressure. This is mainly because they don’t even start working until it becomes really urgent. If the time frame then slowly becomes critical, they demonstrate their own importance by repeatedly emphasizing the deadline and their intensive commitment – even if they could have been done long ago.

* Crisis junkies are irreplaceable. If an event of any kind occurs, then all of life has to recede. The family has to submit, people at the supermarket checkout are only in the way and the sneaks in the left lane are anyway.

* Crisis junkies take the wheel. If their position allows it, crisis junkies will take control in the middle of the action. In the worst case, they then request regular reports and thus create stress for all other team members – and reduce their available working hours. In this way they transfer the invented crisis directly from themselves to others.

* Crisis junkies see problems that are very unlikely to occur. Perhaps the chance that an event will occur is extremely slim – but the crisis addicts will put it at the center of their efforts and do everything possible to avert the emergency. In the end, it felt like they saved the project – but in truth they didn’t contribute anything to the core business.

* Crisis junkies are done, but happy. When they’ve been working, it feels like they’ve been doing intense exercise. You see yourself as a high performer, and maybe you are. However, they created more headwind for their performance than was actually necessary – and thus reduced their performance and that of the team.

There is a method to madness – this is how you protect yourself from crisis junkies

Crisis junkies always become uncomfortable when their addiction to drama and adrenaline interferes with the lives and work of others. And because the crisis junkies take themselves so seriously, it happens very regularly. What you can do:

* Make yourself aware that you are important even when it is not urgent. It applies in private life as well as in the company: If a person emphasizes his own importance and with this argument demands that you adapt, then remind yourself that your life has its own requirements.

* Question the pressures placed on you. It is not everything that other people portray as important and urgent.

* Don’t get involved in their rhetoric. Crisis addicts “urgently need” to do something. That sounds important, but it is often pure nonsense.

* Create your own schedules. This is especially important when you work in a team with crisis junkies. Because then their poor time management could also affect your stress level. If you are dependent on leg work, then ask for it at times that suit you better.

Crisis junkies are a problem in the world of work because they increase the stress level and the probability of errors. They keep pressure on the kettle because it makes them feel better about themselves. It is crucial for a good culture in the team (or in the family!) Not to give them the creative power. Only then can the work continue to be successful.


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