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7 bad habits of highly ineffective people

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The start of a new year is a perfect time to take a close look at your leadership and communication skills—and then delete any work habits that make you less effective.

“Achieving success requires more than just doing the right thing,” says Geoffrey James, an Inc. magazine editor and author of Business With­­out the Bullsh*t. “Success also means changing the behaviors that hold you back.”

Here are seven habits, according to James’ new book, that you should drop in 2015:

1. Telling half-truths. If you’re afraid to speak the truth, it’s cowardice to tell a half-truth that’s intended to mislead but leaves you “plausible deniability.” Tell the whole truth—it’s easier than trying to remember all your stories.

2. Finger-pointing. Few human behaviors are more pointless than fixing blame. In business, it’s less important to call out who’s at fault than to identify ways to avoid the same mistake again. Work to improve employees’ skills, not nitpick their errors.

3. Bucking accountability. Finger-pointing is common in business because some people aren’t willing to admit their mistakes. If you’re going to take credit for your accomplishments, you must also take credit for your failures.

4. Hating on successful partners or employees. Whether you show it or not, jealousy of a fellow leader or em­ployee is an unproductive flaw. Aim to celebrate success, even among competitors.  

5. Workplace gossip. As Elea­­nor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” When you spread gossip, you identify yourself as a small mind. Stay above the fray.

6. Creating your own stress. While work may be stressful, you make it worse when you fail to disconnect on a regular basis. Take a walk, read a book or listen to music. Don’t look at a screen for an hour before bedtime.

7. Giving or accepting flattery. An honest compliment is fine, but empty flattery gets you nowhere. False compliments are a credibility killer. Similarly, when you accept flattery, you’re marking yourself as gullible and self-absorbed.

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