The following habits can seriously undermine your professionalism, destroy your workplace relationships and prevent you from moving up the ladder:
1. Speaking to hear your own voice. Acting like an expert on every topic—when people clearly can tell you are not—is likely to rub them the wrong way. If you have something valuable to share, do so. If not, don’t. Have the confidence to admit when you don’t know something. Leaders need to spend more time listening than speaking, so prove to people you haveskills.
2. Letting your eyes wander. Whether it’s glancing at your phone or watch, or subtly averting your eyes to someone or something else in the room, it signals to other people that you aren’t paying attention to them. If you can’t concentrate on someone for a few minutes, you don’t have the focus to take on a high-stakes leadership job.
3. Being condescending. In an attempt to establish your authority or expertise, don’t talk down to people. You only make yourself look bad. Instead, make sure that your tone and word choice are always respectful—even when you are offering negative feedback. Part of being a leader is being able to coach, train and motivate people. If you make people feel small, you can’t accomplish any of that.
4. Cursing. While it has become more commonplace, using profanity in the workplace doesn’t benefit anyone. In fact, it can make you appear less intelligent or hot-headed, while also distracting people from your core message. Avoid it and find a smarter way to express yourself.
—Adapted from “5 Leadership Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional,” Lolly Daskal, www.lollydaskal.com.