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What you should never do at work

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embarrassed businessmanCommunications consultant Robin Madell says the three biggest errors you can make at work arise from the misuse or misunderstanding of three key elements: technology, corporate culture and office politics.

With technology, it’s often social media that gets people in trouble. Many people post complaints about people or places they dislike, even former employers or colleagues. “Office gossip is always a bad idea, but posting anything like that online is an even worse idea,” says John Turner, CEO of UsersThink.

Another potential career killer is not fitting in with your company’s workplace culture. Being great at your job is not enough. You have to fit in with office norms—attire, communication styles and performance standards. If you’re great at your job but fail at these things, you won’t add to the cohesion or team environment.

Lastly, ignoring office politics or playing it wrong can negatively affect you.

One strategy for success in navigating office politics is to be like Switzerland: neutral. “You are likely to feel that someone is in the wrong in certain situations,” says career coach Chaz Pitts-Kyser. “How­­ever, un­­less you are directly involved in it, you shouldn’t deliberately show whose side you are on.”

Each of these three elements has an interpersonal quality that you must master to be successful in the workplace. If you can get a handle on your social media persona, your office culture and office politics, you should be able to avoid these missteps with no problem.

— Adapted from “The 3 Biggest Workplace Mistakes,” Robin Madell, U.S. News & World Report.

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