By: Christine Edwards
Are You Reaching for the Next Level at Work?
It doesn’t matter if you work as a financial analyst or a junior level auto technician, personality matters at work. We spend more than 8 hours at our places of work and so we generally want these people to like us. With that said, you’ve found yourself comfortably seated in middle management. Your boss, leadership team, and fellow co workers trust your vision and skill... you’ve even got the nameplate and the company purchase card to prove it. But what if you are reaching for that next step in your career?
You’ve proven your ability to get the job done, now it’s those pesky soft skills keeping you from getting your next promotion. Here are some of the most crucial interpersonal mistakes we make at work:
1. Winning Too Much
Winning too much is a common behavior exhibited in successful people. We generally want to win. But is that winning getting in the way of you being a decent person? Do you go out of the way to win an argument or get your point across so much that you neglect or disrespect others’ ideas in the process? If so, you can work on that by listening more and taking a breath before speaking. You’ll be surprised at how much is edited in that short breath.
2. Making Excuses
Whenever you feel yourself apologizing and getting ready to give an lame excuse, just DON’T. If you have to apologize, just stop and the word “sorry” and move on. Put simply, an excuse for your lateness (no matter how good and valid it is) doesn't excuse the fact that you kept people waiting. Excuses are no more than the need to re-position your annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people are inclined to excuse you for it. Making excuses for missing appointments or flaking out makes it seem like the person you’re communicating with is not important enough to remember not to make small adjustments on your end to accommodate them. You can work on this by planning ahead and checking your excuses at the door.
3. Not Listening
This problem is becoming increasingly prevalent now with smartphones invading our work days. How often are you checking emails during meetings, during conference calls, during a conversation!? This is a problem because your coworkers often need your undivided attention. You can work on this by putting down the phone, making eye contact during conversations and allowing the person you’re communicating with to get their full thought finished before responding.
4. Not Saying Thank You
In email, or in life, especially when you’re asking for someone else’s time or energy, it is important to say THANK YOU. These two little words make all the difference. By saying thank you and meaning it, you could change a very bad day into a good one. No one wants to feel unappreciated. Being appreciated is one of those things that really motivates us, both at work and in life, so a little goes a long way if you can offer up a genuine thank you when it's appropriate.
5. An Excessive Need to be “Me”
This is just another way of making excuses. When you excessively need to be yourself and you use that to justify your annoying behaviors, people catch on quickly and will be less likely to trust you in future interactions. Have you ever met a person that always says how blunt and direct they are? They say “Oh I just tell it like it is. That’s just the way I am”. Well I can guarantee you, the number of people who are sick of you and want you to keep the rude comments to yourself, could probably fill the IMAX at Discovery Place. I’m not saying don’t be yourself, but think about the editing function, especially at work.
Just Be a Good Person!
So, these mistakes boil down to the difference between being a jerk and being a good person. Just because you’re successful and used that tough mentality to get where you’re at, doesn't mean it has to keep going. We get new chances everyday to define who we are as workers, friends and humans.
These habits come from Marshall Goodwin’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”