You always imagined your career would be like a rocket ship shooting you straight to the stars, but instead you seem to be stuck in one place, already out of gas.
Before you blame your company, your coworkers, or your boss, it’s time to take a good look in the mirror. Your bad habits might be the culprit holding you back from the corner office you’ve always dreamed about.
We all have bad habits, but bringing your baggage along to the office can be the difference between soaring or stalling in your career. Below are six common workplace bad habits to break if you want to continue moving up the career ladder:
Being a Lone Wolf
Collaboration is the key to workplace success, but you prefer to work solo. While being able to work independently is a valuable commodity in any workplace, working alone shouldn’t be your only speed. If you are constantly ducking out of team projects or asking to tackle a task without any help, your coworkers will take notice.
While those around you put their heads together, brainstorm great ideas, and form connections, you’re being left in the dust. You need to show you can play well with others. After all, managers and those in charge need to be able to lead a team. Getting ahead in any office is one part skills and one part connections, and your lone wolf nature means you’re contracting your professional network instead of expanding.
Break the habit: Find a project you’re interested in and ask to be part of the team. Do your best to keep everyone involved and in the loop, and stretch those collaboration muscles. It’ll show managers and coworkers you’re more than just a lone wolf.
Are you apologizing too much in the office? According to recent statistics, the word sorry is uttered approximately 368 million times per day in the UK. Women in particular seem to have a tough time ditching the word sorry, and apologize far more frequently than men. Saying sorry about every little thing implies you are constantly making mistakes, and can undercut your position in the office and with managers.
Break the habit: You need to take ownership of your mistakes. It’s time to stop over-apologizing. Reserve the word sorry for big mistakes and cut it out of your everyday vocabulary.
Taking on Every Project
Do you get excited by new projects? Do you like jumping in with both feet and finding new challenges? These are great attributes to any employee, but it’s time to learn your limits. If you say yes to every single project, you might soon find yourself unhappy, burnt out, and badly overworked.
Break the habit: The word “no” is a powerful thing. It doesn’t make you look like a slacker or weak to turn down a project you just don’t have time for. Be protective of your time and abilities, and know when one more task is just too many.
No one likes a Debbie Downer, and if you come into work with a raincloud over your head each morning, it’s not surprising you haven’t moved up in your company. Enthusiasm and passion are traits managers look for in superstar employees who get promotions and excel within the company. No one wants to promote someone who looks miserable to step into the office each day.
Break the habit: Sit yourself down and ask the hard questions you’ve been avoiding. If you hate your job, it might be time to look for another opportunity. Or maybe you feel stalled and want to learn something new, in which case you can talk to your manager or boss about opportunities to shadow in different departments or take professional development courses.Ask yourself what would make you wake up excited about your workday, and chase after your dreams.
Doing Things the Way They’ve Always Been Done
Innovation is the lifeblood of any company, yet many workers just come into the office to punch their time cards and collect their paychecks. And this isn’t only on employees: according to a survey by Fierce, Inc., less than one-third of employees felt their company would change practices based on employee feedback. Lack of innovation in companies, it turns out, is a two-way street.
Break the habit: Sit down with your boss and ask for an open-door policy for employee feedback and ideas. Once a month, try to submit an idea for how your company can improve and grow. Not all of your suggestions will be implemented, but you’ll make yourself stand out as someone with big ideas who really cares about the company’s future.
Every year, Americans spend on average nine million hours looking for things they’ve misplaced. Imagine how much of your work life is being frittered away every time you misplace a report under a pile of desktop debris. People walking past your cluttered workspace are judging you for your organizational chaos.
Break the habit: The next time you have a slow day, spend it organizing your office. Set up a plan to stay more organized and stick to it. Keep in mind, the hardest part of being organized is initially cleaning up the clutter and putting things in their places. Once the hard work of cleaning up is done, it should be a breeze to keep your workspace in good shape.
Your bad habits don’t have to hold you back from career success. If you tackle these habits head-on, you might just find yourself moving on up the ladder.
by Ilya Pozin