Do you tell IT insider jokes that users don’t understand? Do you sprinkle technical jargon through discussions with business people? Do you find that you’ve usually got the right answer to any problem and you let everyone know it? If so, you may be something you didn’t think you were: annoying.

Everyone’s annoying some of the time, says Kimberly Alyn, a corporate trainer and co-author of Annoying People and Why You’re One of Them (Llumina Press, 2003). But annoying behavior can have serious consequences in IT, where it can compromise your effectiveness, wreak havoc with projects and even derail your career.

Annoying behaviors are tricky because what annoys one person may sail by another. “You can say the same thing the same way to two people, and one person will say, ‘Damn, that’s annoying,’ and the other person will not think anything of it,” says Dan Bent, CIO at Benefit Systems Inc. in Indianapolis, an administrative services provider to health care plans.

But annoying behavior in IT sends ripples through the whole business. Gary Langer, associate vice president for academic technology at Chicago’s Roosevelt University, explains that when IT support people are annoying, “people lose confidence, and they just give up. They stop asking questions.”

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