We all misbehave occasionally.
And while one slipup, on its own, might be overlooked by your boss, the cumulative effect of bad behaviour can be costly to your career.
Here are 10 behaviours that could get you in big trouble:
1. Bad body language.
Actions often speak louder than words. And your non-verbal behaviour may be communicating the wrong message to your peers, bosses and clients. If possible, avoid negative body language like poor eye contact, weak handshake, overuse of hands, inappropriate voice tone, and poor posture.
2. Losing your temper.
Especially in leadership roles, you are expected to be able to handle stressful situations without falling apart. If you do lose your cool, others will assume you cannot work well under pressure or handle big responsibilities.
Whether it is losing a client, an unreasonable request from your boss, or an uncooperative iPhone, you should never swear or bang your desk, or respond in any way that is anything but with poise, composure and confidence.
Habitual gossipers, whiners and complainers rarely get ahead. Instead you should maintain a positive attitude—even if times are tough. All successful people approach problems with confidence knowing they can be overcome. Because of their pleasant, upbeat manner, they are also more enjoyable to be around.
4. Not being a team player.
Some people like to shut their door, put their head down, and work alone. While sometimes this concentration is needed to get a job done, team players experience more success at work. This means giving credit (when due) to others, helping others when they are overworked, and doing tasks that may not be in your job description.
5. Violating office norms.
Whether you like it or not, certain behavioural norms exist in every office. And violating them could limit your career. Examples include tardiness, spreading gossip, sexist behaviour, foul language, backstabbing, taking credit for other people’s work, arrogance, inappropriate use of email, apathy, and constantly needing to be the centre of attention.
6. Not admitting that you don’t know.
Let’s face it: some managers are poor communicators and don’t always provide clear direction on how to perform the task. Or maybe they mistakenly believe you already have the skills to do the job.
Having the confidence to say you are not sure how to handle the task (or you don’t understand) is a sign of strength, not weakness. After all you can’t be expected to have all the answers all the time.
7. Disregarding the social aspects of work.
Your career will grow faster if people like you. One way to do this it to show interest in coworkers’ lives. Within reason, ask about their family and personal interests outside of work. You will be seen as human, personable, and empathetic. And be sure to attend all office functions and parties, even if you just make an appearance.
8. Not learning from your mistakes.
In the end, your successes will matter more than your mistakes. Yet you learn more from your mistakes. Unfortunately, many people conceal their mistakes or find ways to blame others. Real learning takes place when you try to understand what happened, what went wrong, and why.
9. Thinking small.
Don’t be that person who happily explains to everyone why a new idea will not work. Think ‘big picture’ and lead a discussion about how a new idea can be revised to meet your company’s overall mission and goals. If you do, you will relate better to senior management’s way of thinking.
10. Bad work habits.
Bad habits like missing deadlines, procrastination, disorganization, wasting time, and not responding to emails, will annoy everyone. You don’t want to be that person who gets labeled as having flawed work habits as you will be the first one who is blamed when a project fails.
One more thing.
In the coming week, take a good look at yourself. And be honest: are you exhibiting any of these behaviours?