Watch Out For These Bad Habits: They Can Stop Your Career

Sections of this topic

    Are you your worst enemy? Are you holding yourself from moving up?

    A Business Week article listed 20 of the most common behaviors or bad habits – compiled by executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, that can hinder an aspiring manager or professional from moving up. Whether you’re a leader today or want to be one tomorrow, take heed.

    Which of these apply to you? If you’re not sure, then ask others for feedback.

    1. Winning too much. The need to win at all costs and in all situations—when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.
    2. Adding too much value. The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
    3. Passing judgment. The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
    4. Making destructive comments. The needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
    5. Starting with “no,” “but,” or “however”. The overuse of these qualifiers, which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. you’re wrong.”
    6. Telling the world how smart we are. The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
    7. Speaking when angry. Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
    8. Negativity. The need to share our negative thoughts, even when we weren’t asked.
    9. Withholding information. The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
    10. Failing to give proper recognition. The inability to praise and reward.
    11. Claiming credit we don’t deserve. The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
    12. Making excuses. The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
    13. Clinging to the pas. t The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
    14. Playing favorites. Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
    15. Refusing to express regret. The inability to take responsibility for our actions admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
    16. Not listening. The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
    17. Failing to express gratitude. The most basic form of bad manners.
    18. Punishing the messenger. The misguided need to attack the innocent, who are usually only trying to protect us.
    19. Passing the buck The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
    20. An excessive need to be “me”. Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they exemplify who we are.

    Take Action:

    Pick one behavior or bad habit you can change right now. What specific action can you take to make this change? What support do you have or will need to succeed? What potential obstacles may get in the way? How will you deal with them?

    Career Success Tip:

    Most leaders fail not by a lack of skill or intelligence but by their interpersonal skills – how they deal with others. Also, see Career Intelligence Part 1, What’s Your Career Success IQ? and 5 Career Killers for High Achievers.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?