Most of us get through the workday without too many issues. We send our emails, manage our teams, brew our coffees, and remember to attach all our TPS reports. And yet, there are still things everyone does wrong at work without realizing it, thus causing problems, delaying successes, and making things way more difficult than they need to be.
Whether it's getting caught up in some seemingly harmless office gossip, or failing to promote yourself and all your great ideas, it's important to know how and when you might be doing something wrong. Not only will it make for an easier day, but recognizing these issues can put you on the track for things like promotions and raises.
So go ahead and reevaluate your work self. Are you being professional, promoting yourself, and pitching in? As author and career expert Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish says, "Understanding the impression you give at work is vitally important. When you demonstrate professionalism at all times — especially during challenges — you will be furthering your career goals. In addition, it is this type of impression that will allow you to secure a positive reference for future employment opportunities." Read on for some little things you might be doing wrong that could compromise your success.
1. Oversharing All That Personal Info
It's easy to get comfy at work and start spilling the beans about your relationship, your health, and everything in between. But the office isn't exactly the time or the place. "Although it is important to build relationships with your peers, oversharing information to the wrong person may negatively affect how the rest of the office views you," says Ian Siegel, CEO of the career website ZipRecruiter.com. Unless you're talking to your work BFF, it's always better to err on the side of caution and keep private details to yourself.
2. Never Talking About Your Successes
If you just did something incredible at work, don't make the mistake of keeping it to yourself. "Many people do not promote themselves at work or advocate for what they want," says workplace expert Heather Monahan, in an email to Bustle. "It is critical to let others know about your successes so they can further support you and realize your skills and talents."
3. Complaining To The Wrong People
If you're having a tough day at work, it can be tempting to complain to your coworkers. And while it's completely OK to do in moderation, don't expect it to solve any problems. "If there is an issue with a manager, coworker, or a policy/ procedure, go to that person or the department (HR) that has the power to solve it," says personal development coach Stacy Roberts.
4. Not Completing Menial Tasks
Yes, it's a pain to replace the printer paper. And yet, being "that person" who fails to help with little things can lead to problems. "To managers, it can give the impression that you are not willing to pitch in to help the team out or do not respect them," says leadership expert Ash Norton, founder of AshNorton.com. And that's not good.
5. Trying Too Hard To Fit In
If you're new to a job or kind of shy, it can be tempting to fly under the radar and keep your head down 'til 5 p.m. But this is actually a pretty big mistake. "Instead, [you should] use your uniqueness to your advantage," says Norton. Share your ideas in a meeting, or suggest a new way of doing things. It never hurts to be yourself and share your creativity.
6. Taking Over The Office Kitchen
Don't be the person in the office who takes over the kitchen. And while you're at it, remember it's always a good idea to be considerate of coworkers when heating up last night's fish. As leadership coach and business owner Elizabeth McCourt says, "I used to have a boss who would bring leftover fish and microwave it, stinking up the entire office." So funny, but also so gross.
7. Gossiping With Work Friends
While it can be incredibly tempting to get chatty with coworkers, nothing good ever comes from telling secrets around the water cooler. As Roberts says, "Workplace gossip and complaining will destroy productivity and morale." It can come back to bite you, make you look bad, and (worst of all) hurt people's feelings.
8. Leaving Super Long Voicemails
Whether you're trying to look busy, or just aren't thinking about it, beware the horror that is leaving super long voicemails. "It is best to get to the point quickly and request a meeting or ask if further information is needed," says Monahan. "No one has time these days to sit and read War & Peace."
9. Holding Your Breath
It's easy to forget to breathe when dealing with millions of emails, so take a second to check in with yourself. If you aren't taking full breaths, try this technique. "Sit as tall as you can ... Look outward ... Breathe in through your nose filling up the lungs as much as you can and then actively force the air out of the mouth with pursed lips (not a wide open mouth)," says functional fitness expert Alessa Caridi. That should help you better deal with all that workplace pressure.
10. Waiting Around For Instructions
Whatever you do, don't sit around waiting to be managed. "This includes waiting to be asked to do something, having idle time and not speaking up, and generally not being proactive," says Ben Brooks, founder and CEO of the tech startup PILOT. If you do the right thing and take some initiative, I promise everyone will be super impressed.
11. Making Excuses If You Screw Up
Nothing's worse than making a mistake at work. In fact, it can be so scary that you might find yourself covering it up or making excuses. While understandable, this often only makes things worse. That's why, as Roberts tells me, it's much better to acknowledge the issue and improve it. Your boss will appreciate it, and you'll be setting a good example for everyone else.
If you keep these things in mind, you should get through the work day unscathed. And maybe even impress a few people along the way.
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