These Bad Habits May Be Killing Your Career

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workpalceAs far as you’re concerned, you are doing your best at work. But still, you aren’t moving up. You seem to be stuck in the same position. Well, maybe there are a few bad habits that are holding you back.

Mind the way you dress. “The number one bad habit I see out of team members I work with and is holding them back is a bad dress code. My first rule in a situation like this is to take ownership of the problem. The fact that your teammates are dressed sloppily is ultimately your fault. If you look sharp, neat, and organized, people tend to take you more seriously and respond in a positive manner,” says Bryan Clayton, CEO of Your Green Pal.

And as obvious as it may seem to dress for business, being late too is a bad habit. “Everyone gets caught in traffic or has the occasional bad morning that sets them back, but consistent tardiness is one of the worst habits to have as a working professional. While being on time may seem an obvious thing you need to do, so many people show up late to the office and to meetings on a regular basis. The core of lateness when you evaluate it is incredibly rude–it shows that you don’t value your boss’s time and that the job doesn’t mean that much to you, because if it did, you’d make sure that you’d be there on time,” explains Valerie Streif, a Senior Advisor with hiring and employee management firm The Mentat.

To move up, you need to possess leadership skills and part of being a good leader is being a great communicator. So the lack of communication skills could be holding you back. “Not being direct can be a problem. Most leaders have a work style that appreciates people being as direct and concise as possible. Being too wordy, presenting too many details or lists of pros and cons only detracts from the point and you’ll lose the attention of your boss in the process,” says Karlyn Borysenko, principal, Zen Workplace.

Your ascension up the ranks will not be done as a solo act. You need to have people on your team, so not developing strong relations with co-workers could be harming your career. “Many professionals think that if they keep their heads down and focus on the task at hand, that’s the best way to get ahead. However, research tells us that at least 75 percent of job success is based on the ‘soft’ skills–not on the technical ability to do the job. Relationships at work are the key to the kingdom because they allow you to influence outside of the org chart. Professionals that don’t pay attention to it will find their career stalling–the further up the ladder we go, the more help we need to stay there,” Borysenko points out.

Being the office gossip is also a bad habit that will make your boss think you are not ready to be a leader. “Be it workplace gossip or offsite gossip, these are unprofessional habits tarnishing your career,” says entrepreneur Ubani Samuel of entertainment network OneJamzNetwork .com.

Do you put off projects or wait until the last minute to complete tasks? Procrastination can be a real career killer. “Procrastination, not meeting deadlines, postponing meetings, etc. are other negative habits that affect us and can ruin our evaluations and work reputations,” notes Samuel.

You fight change. “Work cultures and practices are constantly changing; you should be, too. When new programs, new colleagues, or new leadership are introduced, consider the benefits that will emerge as a result,” explains life coach Laine Schmidt of Laine Schmidt Life Coaching.

She continues, “Change can be daunting, but it is going to happen. You have to decide if you are going to roll with it and make the best of a new situation, or fight against it and make known your disapproval. If you choose the former, you will likely be seen as someone who is flexible, and keeps the best interest of the company as a number one priority.”

Being a loner at work is also not a good idea. “Isolation is another work habit that affects us negatively,” says Samuel. You want to prove you are not only a leader but also a team player.

Lastly, being negative in the workplace not only makes people want to avoid you, it’s a workplace downer. As Streif points out, “No one likes being around a complainer, and if your negativity starts to have an impact on the energy of the office, you can bet that you’ll be let go. It’s also a bad idea to get wrapped up in the specifics of your job and be closed off to any other responsibilities that people may need you to do. When your boss asks you to do something outside your job description (within reason, of course), it’s going to reflect far more positively on you if you take initiative rather than try to pass it off or refuse.”