Money Matters

6 Ways You’re Asking For Trouble At Work — And Don’t Even Know It

(Source: www.forbes.com)

Sonya’s company distributes anonymous peer and leader reviews. In fact, she just received feedback from her coworkers — and it was not all positive. Sonya wrote to us concerned. She says she works hard, applies herself, and aims high. But for some reason, her peers and leaders don’t necessarily see it the same way.

“Do you think there might be things I do at work that sabotage my best intentions?” she asked. “Sometimes I think my boss and team are less than thrilled with me — and this survey confirms that. I just want to know what more I can do to really be my best.”

With Sonya’s question in mind, we compiled this list of six, research-backed, less-than-stellar habits that could get you in trouble at work. Some are a bit sneaky as you probably don’t even realize that you embody any of these bad habits. But, if you do, it’s time to drop them, and finally get the feedback you deserve at work from both your leaders and your peers.

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1. You’re undermining your productivity.

Sure, you know that habits like multitasking can be distracting and unproductive. But did you know that one of the worst productivity drainers is simple dehydration? A recent Bloomberg article reported that dehydrated workers suffer from “reduced cognitive performance in areas such as short-term memory, attention, and reaction time.” Research has even found that “slightly dehydrated workers [are] about 12 percent less productive than their fully hydrated peers.” Imagine that — keeping a water bottle at your desk (and maintaining optimum productivity) could get you out of the office 12% faster — that’s nearly 58 minutes early. It’s an easy fix, and (as you already know) it delivers health benefits, too.

2. You don’t stop to take a breather.

If you rush around the office from morning till night, and you don’t stop to regroup and reorganize, you’re probably emanating an aura of panic. And, panic isn’t a good look for any of us. The simplest way to fix this reputation-killer is to stop — and breathe. Research has found that people who meditate at some point during the day receive less negative feedback and stay on task longer. So whether you incorporate it into your morning routine, or use it as a rest on your lunch break, stop and take some deep breaths. Think of a positive mantra. Your mood — and habits — will calm, and your work product will improve, as well.

3. You pat yourself (not others) on the back.

Of course it’s important to recognize when you do an outstanding job. Self-applause can help you stay motivated: that’s why experts recommend setting small goals and rewarding yourself as you achieve them as a great way to tackle big projects. Unfortunately, if you only prioritize self-gratitude, you’re communicating that you don’t care about the success or contributions of others on the team. Hopefully, that’s not how you actually feel — so step up and fix the issue. Start expressing your appreciation when people help you out or do an extraordinary job. What goes around comes around — so don’t be surprised when genuine, sincere appreciation comes your way, too.

4. You wear your heart on your sleeve.

We said above that sincerity is key, especially when you’re delivering gratitude (and criticism, too). But sometimes, expressing your full range of emotions at work can be detrimental. If you’re often vocally stressed or you carry around a cloud of gloom, beware. Overtly displaying negative emotions hurts not just your reputation, but your team’s work product, as well. Research shows that emotions have a ripple effect through groups of people. But the good news is, this works for positive feelings, too — so try to actively voice positive thoughts when you can, and everyone’s moods will be lifted.

5. You’re always on your phone.

Here’s something you’re not going to like: people working on intense tasks who receive a phone notification — call or text — are 3 times as likely to make mistakes in their work, even if they don’t pick up their phone to respond. Why? Researchers explain that “although the actual moment of interruption is short-lived, our thoughts are disrupted for a considerably longer period, making it tough to refocus.” There’s a reason why many offices are still strict about phone policies, especially in meetings. Put your phone down when others are around you or when you’re working on a difficult initiative. Your reputation (and quality of work) will improve — and others will notice.

 6. You avoid expressing your opinions.

If sayings like “no news is good news” and “go with the flow” resonate with your work life, you may consider yourself a pacifist. Your team and leader, however, may see you differently: as someone who doesn’t really care to invest themselves in the team or the workplace culture. If you avoid speaking up when you have something to say — good or bad — you give off the impression that you’re just coasting. But even if you’re afraid of pushback, don’t dampen your potential to make a difference. There’s a reason why you were uniquely picked for your current position — your leader saw the promise of your great work contributions. Start making them, and don’t be afraid of some critiques. Cooperative back-and-forth is what drives great ideas.

Sonya looked through our list and thought hard. “I hate to admit it, but I’m guilty of a lot of these,” she reflected. “I never put my phone down but neither does anyone else in my office. That may be why we don’t have a great team culture. And all of us are afraid to speak our minds at meetings. I want to change these. If my team is noticing the negative habits, then they’ll surely notice the positive changes.” We agree. And, it never ceases to amaze us how small changes can create a massive impact. Do you have any other ideas for Sonya? Comment now.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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