In work – as in life – we all have a tendency to let bad behavior slide. “Sure,” we tell ourselves. “Everybody has faults…” However, if these bad business habits aren’t corrected, they could do serious damage to your at-work reputation, causing you to miss out on the promotions and awards that you feel should be coming your way.
So if you see yourself in any of the following habit descriptions, take immediate steps to correct your behavior – before any damage can be done that could permanently alter your career trajectory.
Habit #1 – Missing deadlines
When you miss a deadline, you’re rarely just affecting your own performance. In nearly all cases, others are waiting on your work to be completed in order to begin their own assignments – which means that your tardiness is screwing over their work initiatives as well. As a result, this type of behavior rarely goes unnoticed by supervisors who may deem you unreliable over your missed deadlines.
For this reason, it’s important to take whatever steps are necessary to get your work done before your agreed-upon deadlines. If you truly can’t make it on time, say “No” to the project in the first place or fess up to your delays before the deadline has passed and offer your boss a concrete set of actions you’ll take to get the work done as quickly as possible. Coming up with an alternate plan isn’t that much better than simply being late in the first place, but it does minimize your boss’s perception of you as being irresponsible.
Habit #2 – Failing to follow through on commitments
The bottom line – when it comes to workplace performance – is that if you say you’re going to do something, you’d better damn well do it! And that goes for everything from major projects to passing on a file that a coworker requested in your last meeting.
Fail to live up to the commitments you’ve made for yourself, and you’ll notice that the people around you trust you less and less with every instance. If you find yourself falling into this trap more often than you’d care to admit, get in the habit of writing a note to yourself about everything you agree to do – no matter how small. Add these items to your “to do” list and treat them with all the seriousness you give to regular work assignments.
Habit #3 – Abusing your internet privileges
Now, I’m going to assume that you’re smart enough not to visit… illicit websites on company time. Really, there’s absolutely no reason to put your career at risk in this way.
But abusing your internet privileges goes beyond the perusal of adult websites while on the clock. If you’re using your spare time (or worse, your working time) to pay your bills, do your online shopping or catch up with friends on social networking websites, be aware that it’s not just your performance that’s suffering. If your company monitors internet usage (and many, many companies do), you could face serious disciplinary action for something that’s better left at home.
Habit #4 – Sneaking out early
Don’t kid yourself – you’re not that sneaky. If you sneak out regularly, it doesn’t matter how many clever disguises you wear, how many convincing excuses you come up with or how many different routes you take out of the building. Your coworkers have noticed, and they don’t think too kindly of your behavior.
In today’s corporate world, if you want to be considered for promotions, awards and other perks, you’ve got to be taken seriously as a committed worker. And really, that can’t happen if everyone from the janitor to your senior management staff knows you’re sneaking out before 5:00pm every night. Do your reputation a favor and stick it out instead.
Habit #5 – Failing to take credit for your work
On last bad business habit to be on guard about is false modesty. While it’s not a problem for everybody, failing to take credit for your accomplishments devalues the hard work that you put in the job. Adopting an “aw shucks” attitude about your own work doesn’t make you a team player – it just means that you’ll never truly be given the recognition you deserve for your hard work.
Now, I’m not saying that you should go out and start tooting your own when, in fact, it was a team effort that helped you to succeed. That’s just an asshole move that’s bound to backfire eventually when your thwarted colleagues gang up to stab you in the back in return.
Instead, if you’re serious about advancing in your chosen career, don’t be afraid to accept credit when credit is due. If you busted your ass on a major project, there’s nothing wrong with emphasizing the hard work you put into your achievement. If you don’t, your boss will have no way to recognize you in the future – causing you to miss out on the company recognition and future promotions you deserve.
What other bad business habits can you think of? If you’ve got a great example that others should be aware of, share your recommendations in the comment area below: