They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. Seems easy enough.
But of course, we all know breaking a habit is never that easy.
Those 21 days doesn’t come by quickly. It’s slower and more arduous.
You get my drift, right?
And so, the work habits we have at work deserve a closer look especially the ones we need to stop immediately as the more it’s continued, the worst it will get.
I mean the kind that’s credibility-shattering type.
So here are the Top 5 Habits that you absolutely need to STOP now before it ruins your career.
1. Being Unresponsive
Email and follow up are 2 constant things in our work life.
Being unresponsive means that there is already an established behavior backed up by history of instances where it took days or several follow ups and yet, there is still radio silence.
This is not those times where you overlooked an email. This is when you are completely aware that a response is needed and yet, you opted not to give one.
Not only is this annoying – yup, been on the ignored fence several times.
But it’s also a reputation building factor that is unfavorable to you.
This is a pet peeve of mine and a lot of people too because of the following
- Shows disrespect to your colleagues
- Shows that you don’t value the partnership
- Just overall unprofessional
Build a habit of being responsive not only to emails but also on follow up actions.
In my years of experience as a manager, bad habits that are not corrected not only hurt the person’s current employment, it gets carried on and affects professional reputation.
For urgent issues, respond ASAP. Call or text to provide more urgency. For regular emails or requests, it’s considered within the time frame of acceptable TAT if you respond within 24 hours.
Don’t use email for important communication especially when the message is best discussed in person. Don’t hide behind your email to let off steam.
Even if the request or inquiry will need coordination with other departments or individuals, respond with a note that you received it and that you are working on it or will need time for coordination.
Remember, however the medium is – email, call, text – the key is to respond as soon as you can.
2. Not Doing What You Said You Will Do
This happens in the workplace and its unfortunate that it does. This is all about the value of respect and should be a key expectation for everyone.
As a manager, it’s important that you stay true to your commitments.
More importantly, it’s about showing respect to your co-workers and teammates.
Do not over-commit.
Try your best to set realistic timelines on the deliverable. It’s much better to give yourself a little bit of time vs. cutting it close and set yourself up to miss the deadline.
To stop this habit, set expectations with your team or colleagues on timelines, complexity and details that may affect the timeline.
If you are nearing the deadline and you’re about to miss a task, openly communicate the status.
This will help manage everyone’s expectations of you and of the task.
Of course, this will build credibility since you are being true to your word and you are doing as much as you can to make sure you deliver.
Your colleagues and teammates will respect that about you and will build better partnership in the long run.
3. Engaging in Workplace Drama
There’s always gossip and politics in the workplace and it’s just something you just have to deal with.
But this is a habit that can potentially snowball fast so it’s best not to engage.
To stop this habit, politely decline comments when asked about issues especially as it relates to the controversy.
Eventually, your co-workers will get the message that you do not want to get involved or engaged and will just let you be.
This behavior will hopefully have a ripple effect that will eventually lessen gossiping within your team since nobody wants to engage.
4. Using Email as a Scapegoat
Email is a form of communication that all too often gets abused in the workplace.
It is not the best form of communication and oftentimes, it is the source of frustration and feuds in the office.
Instead of communicating face to face and resolving the issue faster, email is used to carry the message that is best communicated in person.
This work habit is a disaster waiting to happen.
Remember that email is a document and can be very powerful. One way to build your credibility is how you use this communication tool.
Always assess which is the best communication approach to use in any situation.
Don’t use email as your default choice. Master all the different types of communication and use each approach well.
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5. Not Building Relationships
Of all the work habits I listed above, this is the habit that you should pay close attention to.
I had a colleague before proudly tell me that he doesn’t believe in building relationships at work. That everybody just needs to get along and be professional.
Wow. (Insert rolling eyes emoji)
As if getting along is the easiest thing to do in the workplace, right?
First, the workplace revolves around relationships. So, it’s not a matter of not having any relationship with you co-workers. It’s a matter of either building a good one or not.
Secondly, being professional doesn’t mean you have to be cold and calculating at work. It doesn’t mean you put up a wall for everyone either.
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Ever wonder why your team doesn’t listen to you? Maybe this is the reason.
Believe me, the key to building a strong team and a highly engaged one at that is centered on relationships.
Relationship building is a key ingredient to get the job done. And if you nail this, you have a hyper engaged team that will have consistent output.
Believe me, I’ve witnessed this happen and it’s quite impressive what a team can do when they are engaged with each other.
This also means that you try your best to win their hearts and mind at the same time.
Winning the heart is about compassion, empathy and consideration. Winning the mind is about showing your competency and business sense.
Both can be achieved over time. I didn’t say that it will happen overnight.
You will have to put the work in and when you do, your team or co-workers can see that you’re trying. And with that, they will start to engage back.
But if you’re in the habit of not building relationships and on perpetual war-mode with your co-workers, think long and hard if you still want to stay with your organization.
You won’t survive the workplace without building relationships. In fact, it will make your life miserable and build a reputation that may hurt you and that promotion you’ve been eyeing for.
Check out the video version of this post:
Create new habits that will help you build your credibility and leadership. These work habits improve not only your professional experience but also your personal development. Over time, these habits will build a strong foundation for your personal growth. Be responsive to tasks, be true to your word, practice respect at all times, use email sparingly and most of all, build relationships.
If you try any of these tips, comment below and let me know how it went. I would love to hear from you!
About Daisy Casio
Daisy is the creator of ChampLeaders. She has a husband, a toddler and a love for learning something new. She writes about Leadership, Motivation, Career advice, Productivity at work and many more. Daisy hopes to share her mantra on being positive and living your best self in the now.