We all have our own personal lists of habits. Sometimes, these tendencies are a good thing. For instance, an accountant who double checks their spreadsheets before sending them to the manager is more likely to impress.
Of course, there are bad habits of thinking about too. Maybe you continuously interrupt people when they are talking, or you struggle to keep track of your schedule. While your friends and family might not mind these quirks – your career might not be so forgiving. The more you let negative patterns get in the way of progress, the harder it will be to show your manager what you are truly capable of.
Identifying which of your many habits you need to correct to become a better employee can be the key to unlocking new responsibilities, a better relationship with your employer, and even opportunities for promotion.
1. A Negative Attitude
Some people are naturally more pessimistic than their peers. However, being consistently negative harms your chances of future success. For instance, if you are a business administrator that’s always complaining, or talking about how things might not work, your outlook can affect your entire team, potentially taking the wind out of their sales.
Negative moods are toxic. They drain your motivation, so it is harder to be your best at work, and they also leave your co-workers looking for ways to avoid you. To overcome your negative routine, start pushing yourself to think positively! Maybe it is time to shake something up or try a new technique?
For example, if you are an HR systems manager that feels as though your corporate culture strategy is not working, ask yourself what you can do to make a positive change, or consider asking your team for their input. Don’t focus on the negatives, proactively seek out ways to be positive.
2. Poor Time Keeping
It does not matter if you are a busy customer service exec or a business growth manager, sometimes a hectic schedule can get the best of all of us. However, continually missing deadlines or turning up to work late causes problems. Not only does a lack of punctuality reflect poorly on your professional attitude, but it also means that you need to rush to catch up with your peers, which can lead to mistakes.
Improving your time keeping means finding the perfect blend of productivity and organisation strategies to get yourself back on the ball. If you have trouble getting to work on time, look for different routes you can take to get there faster or set your alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual. If deadlines are your issue, start each day by prioritising your to-do-list. Go through the tasks you need to complete one by one and focus on the ones that are most critical first.
If no matter what you do, you cannot seem to manage your hectic schedule, it might be time to talk to your manager about delegating tasks to someone else on your team so that you can share the load.
Every manager wants a team of engaged, productive staff working with them. Unfortunately, there are some days when it can be difficult to show the level of motivation your employer is looking for. When you are tired, overwhelmed, or just not having fun with the task at hand, it is hard to keep your attention focused.
Procrastination is a common bad habit, and it is one you need to fix if you want to become the ultimate employee. Even if you think that you do your best work under pressure, remember that putting things off until last minute puts more pressure on your boss and coworkers too. If you really can’t work without a deadline looming, you can always set your own targets throughout the day to spur yourself into action.
One of the easiest ways to keep procrastination at bay is to plan your day carefully. For instance, if you are an account manager, you might start by reviewing client workloads, then address the most challenging projects first – leaving repetitive tasks like responding to emails until later when your energy begins to wane.
4. Failing to Own Up to Your Mistakes
We all make mistakes sometimes. The way to make sure that those errors do not affect your entire career plan is to learn from them. Your manager does not expect you to be perfect all the time. When you try your best but mess up, owning up to your mistakes shows that you are willing to take responsibility and fix the things that go wrong.
On the other hand, if you regularly pin the blame on someone else, or explain away your problems, then you will never have an opportunity for growth. For example, if you are a telecommunications expert that made a mistake setting up a new VoIP system, the quicker you own up to that problem, the faster the issue gets solved.
Instead of running from your mistakes, see them as an opportunity to learn and improve your skills.
5. Never Following Through
Finally, when you are trying to impress your boss, it is tempting to nod and agree with everything they have to say or even take on more work than you can reasonably handle. Unfortunately, an employee who claims to be ready for a challenge then fails to perform at crunch time will struggle to get ahead.
For example, if you agree to stay back after hours to work on a new project with a particular team, make sure that you are both willing and able to follow through on your promise. Don’t immediately agree before you have had a chance to think about your schedule, your work/life balance, and what you can reasonably accomplish. Your manager will appreciate you taking the time to make sure you can commit.
Ultimately, becoming the best employee you can be doesn’t mean developing good habits. If you want to make the most out of your career, you need to be willing to change your bad habits too.