You know how talented and ambitious you are, but you’re not as high up on corporate ladder at your company as you would like. If you’ve ever wondered why you just can’t seem to elevate yourself at work, take a step back and think about some bad habits that might be bringing you down. These thoughts and actions might not be intentional, or even obvious to you, but can be your #professionalpoison. Worry not! They can be corrected, but the first step is identifying these habits and figuring out a way to get back on the right track.
Time to get self aware. Here are a few common bad habits that you might be guilty of.
- Gossip Addiction. Opening up and being honest about feelings is one of the ways humans bond. When you confess something to another person, that person feels special and “in the know.” In the workplace, it’s a friendly move to break hyper-professionalism and confess something more personal to a coworker. This can quickly get tricky when the thing you want to confess is a criticism or speculation about someone else in the office. Coworkers are something you have in common with other coworkers, so talking about someone else in your vicinity can help you bond. But remember, if someone is open to talking about others behind their back, you are mostly like not their solo confidant, and a likely a victim of gossip yourself. Hot gossip can spread quickly so it’s plausible to assume that what’s being said about you and the things you say about others make it up the chain to your direct manager and the people you are talking about. Although people and situations can frustrate you or peak your interest, try and keep gossip to yourself. If you really need to air it out, voice your thoughts to a friend not associated with the company.
- Negativity Overdose. Every office has at least one person who walks in everyday with a list of complaints. Although some of these complaints can be warranted, shedding light on them everyday can lead you down a very dark hole of negativity. If morale in your work environment seems low, avoid the temptation to add fuel to the fire. Especially in cases where everyone else can look like a source of sorrow, you can stand out by promoting positivity. Bake some cupcakes for everyone, ask your team to go on a lunchtime walk, or strike up some conversation around happy life events. It just takes one person to brighten up someone’s day, and people like happy people!
- Political Games. This one can be tough. When the people in power positions at your company abuse it by giving perks to their friends and those that suck up, it can get difficult to maintain your morals as you will be tempted to follow suit. What’s important to remember here is that doing great work, acting professional, and giving all of your coworkers equal respect will get the job done. If there are bad eggs in upper management, have faith that you’re not the only one who’s noticing. Chances are, they will be gone sooner vs later and so will their empire.
- Excessive Ego. It’s a cliche, but confidence is key. Believing in your own abilities is an essential way to get others to trust you and your work. However, it’s a slippery slope from confident to egomaniac. Do you ever find yourself thinking that you’re better than most, if not all, of your colleagues? Do you ever sit in meetings and find yourself talking over the other participants because you feel that you have something better to say than the point they are trying to make? Do you ever feel like you’re in competition with members of your team and find yourself plotting ways to appear superior? These are all signs of an ego problem. Take a step back and remember that everyone in your office brings something unique and valuable to the table. Remember that everyone is still learning (even the CEO) and it’s ok to make mistakes. Remember that it can be helpful to brainstorm even the most flawed ideas out loud! No one likes being made to feel inferior so if you want to be well liked in your office, remember to admire others in the way you hope to be admired.
- Assertiveness Paranoia. Just as bad as being too egotistical, being too reserved can hold you back in your career. A major reason for wage gaps is because many people are afraid to ask for the raise or promotion they deserve! If you find yourself afraid to speak up in big meetings, afraid to be proactive in telling your boss you deserve career growth, or afraid to question a long standing practice that you know can be improved, you are a victim of this bad habit! To combat this, you frankly need to step it up. Put on your power songs on your way to work and think about other times you’ve successfully overcome your fears. If you try to reminisce on times when more outgoing people have made a mistake or looked weird doing something, you will soon realize that you probably can’t think of many times! Taking a risk by speaking up might feel major to you, but won’t shock others in the way you think it will. If you’re worried about saying the wrong thing, the biggest non-secret to being confident in an uncomfortable situation is to be prepared. If you’re just starting out in a new job, try our Career Readiness Bootcamp and learn some key skills. You’ll never succeed if you don’t try. The worst that could happen is hearing a dreaded no, but most coworkers will admire you for putting yourself out there.
Being the best you you can be will make you the best employee you can be! Even if you realistically can’t go into work every day with a positive attitude, go in every day with a professional attitude. Respect your coworkers. Believe in yourself. Encourage others to succeed. You’ll be happier, and hopefully wealthier, one day for it!