Fighting your way up the vertigo-inducing career ladder can sometimes lead to mouldering resentments; you might notice changes in yourself and become harder and more accustomed to ruthless behaviour, all in the name of hard work and ambition. I’d say that not all of those are bad things, though; mostly these are the plates of armour one must don if they are to genuinely progress in their careers. Some traits, though, can be toxic, and they can poison your reputation and sabotage your dreams professionally. I’ll list a few now.
Some will tell you that being apologetic is weak, and that regret is unprofessional. I tend to agree with the second part exclusively. Regret means you wish you did something differently, however, mistakes are there to be learned from, so never regret a mistake from the past because it has shaped you into the person you are today. If you never fail you’ll never learn. Being unapologetic, however, is not the go-getting behavioural trait it is portrayed as. It shows, instead, that you are unwilling to learn from your mistakes, do not consider people worth apologising to and only respect your own views. People will peg you as unnecessarily abrasive and belligerent, and you risk isolating yourself at work. Learning to apologise might just save your career.
This is just another characteristic that is subtly encouraged if you want to make it to the top. It’s a narrative we’ve heard so many times before as if somehow being unfeeling towards others is somehow going to benefit you in the long run. Hardening your heart can be useful in situations that don’t require empathy, and thus, these people make for excellent leaders. However, getting to that position requires people skills, and a smidge of empathy can go a long way. Having a reputation for being quite cold will make others mistrust you and steer clear when it comes to team work. Learn to thaw yourself out every once in a while, it doesn’t mean you’re letting your guard down.
Being a good communicator is one of the best qualities that you can have. What I am saying is this: being a good communicator and talking a lot is not the same thing. Being the office chatterbox or gossip will make sure you do not go ignored at least. Nevertheless, channeling your natural extraversion should be your next task. Making the content of what you say interesting, positive and thoughtful is a good way to start. But another way is, simply listening. Being a good listener and letting other people do the talking can be so practical. Knowledge is power and when you sit and listen, you can learn so much. There’s nothing wrong with the sound of your own voice, just as long as you can hear other people’s voices as well as your own.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. One of the seven deadly sins is sloth, and being nonplussed to actually do anything is possibly the worst of those sins, if we apply it to your career. With the utmost respect to the idle-prone individual, this is something you really might want to think about sorting out. Being laissez-faire about tasks and not hit or ever exceed targets that are set for you, is something of a ubiquitous Achilles heel. There is no one in the workplace that can get away with being lazy and also being promoted. Even if you’re brilliant at your job, if you’re not a hard worker, these talents will mean nothing and go to waste. The only path to progression is through action. Then again if you’re lazy, chances are you aren’t that bothered about career progression in the first place!
Lack of Integrity
In order to discuss this one, we must first consider integrity and what it is. This is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. We know the integrity lacking person. We’ve all met this person. Don’t be this person. They say one thing and do something else. Hypocrisy? Yes. I won’t spend too much time on this but it should be obvious that lying and stealing in any environment most of all the workplace is not only lacking in integrity but also illegal. The individual with the lack of integrity will likely lack conviction also.
As the old adage goes: What Sally says about Susan, says more about Sally than it says about Susan. Whether you’re bad-mouthing the company you work for, a colleague or a senior member of your team, negative speak is just that: negative. The moaner may also be known as the drama queen or the back-stabber. A person who constantly moans becomes very draining to be around, very quickly. Loved ones may be there to support us and therapists there to advise where needed but the workplace is not the place to ‘have a moan’. Negativity swiftly lowers team morale. It also fuels distrust in the ranks. If this person can moan to you about someone else, rather than dealing with it appropriately, then they may be moaning about you to others, no? If you’re genuinely perturbed about something, voice this to whoever you need to, take action and deal with it or request to management that it be dealt with. What I’m talking about here is the person who moans for the sake of moaning. It could be in relation to non-negotiables. Every company has them. Be it, dress code, code of conduct, filing procedures … anything! The reality is the moaner decides they dislike everything and with that seeks to moan rather than be assertive and take action. Immature? Yes. They may think that by moaning, someone else will make it better for them. Either way, they look to spread hate on anyone for just about anything. As The Law of Attraction states – whatever it is you’re attracting, is attracting you. Moaners tend to be miserable because they’ve made themselves so. The moaner rarely succeeds, they’re usually too busy belittling what others are doing, than focussing on what they could be achieving. Becoming bitter, not better isn’t a good look.
Funnily enough, being delusional is perhaps the only trait on this list that people don’t know they have! With that in mind it’s probably pretty hard to actually change this, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. It starts with analysis of the self. You need to accept where your talents lie and how successful you have been so far in your life. The bottom line is there is no way you’re going to be able to properly progress in your career if you don’t even know where you are now. Another big part of this is understanding when to give up. Anyone who has a habit of delusional tendencies tends to ‘flog a dead horse’ when it comes to ideas. They believe in themselves and are unconcerned about what others might think, simply because they had the idea. Just because it’s your baby, doesn’t mean you should give it special treatment. If people are walking away from you, giving up and telling you how things can’t be done, it may be that they are all negative people, this is not unheard of. However, it might also be that your ideas are poorly thought out, too idealistic and the work that has gone into them is irrelevant. Take a minute and look at your track record, it’s good to take stock once in a while and don’t think of changing course as giving up entirely. How are you going to get where you want to go, if you don’t know where you are right now.