Don’t Make Personal Issues Bigger Than the Business: Part 1 – Identification

6 mins read

This article describes the 1st part in the process of not making our personal issues bigger than the business, which involves identifying when it is occurring.

Many of us have experienced when the stress of work is taken home with us and invades our personal lives, creating friction in our relationships and home life. With that being said, it stands to reason that the reverse can also happen, bringing our personal problems into the workplace. While it would make work a lot easier, not everyone can completely leave their personal problems at the office door, which makes it essential to prevent those personal issues from impacting our performance at work. As most work involves teamwork, we also need to consider that our personal problems affecting our work will also have a negative effect for our team members, and therefore the business as a whole.

When our personal problems are impacting our capability to fulfill our job description, we have now made our issues bigger than the business. As this is not a desirable behaviour within the workplace, it is important to identify and admit it is happening so that we can create understanding and determine what to do next. This article explains the 1st step on how to stop allowing our personal issues to be made bigger than the business: Identification.

The next 2 parts in this series will explain how to understand what is taking place, as well as what action can be taken to address the issue.


The first step to take when we have made our issues bigger than the business is identify that it is taking place. The identification process will create confirmation that this is occurring, which then allows us to take accountability for our actions and behaviours. Unless this has happened previously for us and we are aware of the signs to look for, it can be difficult to recognize this is happening on our own. This is when we need to be aware of the people around us to be able to support them, and consequentially the team and business, by recognizing that they may be making their personal issues bigger then the business. As this may be uncomfortable, or sometimes unsafe for co-workers to do, it is important to bring this to the attention of a manager or the employer so it can be addressed.

Here are some common signs that someone is making their issues bigger than the business:

1. Unable to fulfill job description – This is one of the more obvious signs that we may be struggling with making our personal issue bigger than the business. If we are unable to complete the duties in our job description due to issues unrelated to work, then it is a clear sign that we have made our personal issues more important than the business.

2. Decrease or lack in productivity – If productivity is lacking or has decreased due to personal problems, this is another sign that we have lost sight of the fact that business comes first.

3. Thinking of personal problems while at work – If we find ourselves thinking of our personal issues and it is consuming time at work, this is a red flag that we are not using our time at work for work. We are getting paid to complete a job, not to dwell on personal issues or indulge in our emotions.

4. Complaining about issues occurring outside of work – When thinking about personal problems progresses to complaining about them to people at work, this is a sign that we are not focused on our job or the duties we need to complete.

5. Being irritable or agitated – When we are displaying irritability or agitation towards someone at work and what we are feeling has nothing to do with them, this can be a sign that our personal issues have become bigger than the business.

6. Being visibly emotional – When our emotions are taking over the work environment, this is a clear sign that personal issues are being made more important than the business. This could include actions such as stomping around, slamming things, huffing and puffing, or heavy sighs.

Identifying When Personal Issues are a Work Issue

People are not alone in making their personal issues bigger than the business, however this doesn’t excuse the behaviour. The first step in discontinuing this unacceptable performance is identifying that it is occurring for ourselves or others around us. Once we are aware of the signs, it can help us recognize that we may be in a place where we are making our personal issues bigger than the business.

Next in this series, Part 2 explains the next step in this process, which is understanding.

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