Bad work habits

Sometimes we can’t see how we behave at work. We believe we’re acting professionally. We shake our heads when others behave badly, thinking we’d never do the same. But when was the last time you reality checked your leadership behaviours?

Here are 10 nasty habits to avoid in the workplace:

  1. Walking in on Monday morning and moaning that you’re exhausted, even though you’ve just had two days off. Why not greet everyone with a bit of energy?
  2. Sighing or yawning. If this is a chronic habit, be aware that your behaviour is likely aggravating. Stop sighing. If you must yawn, cover your mouth.
  3. Gossiping. It’s not constructive and will bite you on the bum. Refrain at all costs.
  4. Bragging about your social life. Not everyone cares that you’ve had a huge weekend and desperately need coffee—especially colleagues who aren’t hung over. Stay quiet.
  5. Speaking loudly, especially in an open-concept workplace. Are others listening in? Are you preventing others from working? Keep your voice down.
  6. Pacing when on the mobile. It’s annoying to others. If you must pace, head to an area where you won’t be disruptive.
  7. Texting or taking phone calls when in a meeting. This sends the signal that you’re not concentrating on what others are saying. Tell those at the meeting if you’re waiting for an urgent work call, so everyone understands.
  8. Using discriminatory language (including relating to race, age or sexual orientation), which flags you’re not worthy of leadership promotion. Never use language that attacks or discriminates.
  9. Taking credit for someone else’s work. What do you have to gain? Always thank and/or congratulate others for their successes.
  10. Being a jerk by using hostile verbal or nonverbal behaviour. Avoid at all costs.

If your behaviour is perfect, then a gold star for you. If you’re honest with yourself, however, you’ll know there’s room for improvement. Working out what and how to change by yourself isn’t always easy. Professional career coaching or other support is often needed.

In the meantime, here are a few thoughts. Leaders:

  • who are often jerky are still nice some days and leaders who are nice most days are still jerky some days
  • need to exercise self-control, a critical emotional intelligence skill
  • should continually improve their conversational skills, including language use and tone
  • require sleep (quality matters more than quantity), because it plays a significant role in performance
  • need to understand that sleep deprivation drains glucose in the prefrontal cortex which prevents fuel getting to the part of the brain responsible for self-control; sleep provides fuel
  • should consider taking their skills to the next level with the support of a professional, accredited career coach; it’s often too hard and time consuming to get there alone.

Here are some options to get you moving:

  1. Sign up to our next Leadership Essentials workshop. Book an early bird rate today.
  2. Contact Dr Kim Vella for a free, 30-minute coaching session.
  3. Check out the types of coaching Kim offers.
  4. Sign up to Kim’s newsletter and get exclusive access to two free e-books.
  5. Read more of Kim’s blogs, which are informative, entertaining and sometimes a bit controversial.
  6. Follow Kim on Facebook and  for regular tips, information and ideas. You’ll see leadership through a new lens.

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