January is a popular time to detox, but even health specialists say the most important thing you should change before anything else is your attitude. After all, you should be aiming for long-term development rather than just a quick fix. And the same goes for the workplace. Maintaining a positive professional attitude will improve your approach to tasks and your interactions with colleagues, boosting your team’s morale as well as your own. A bad professional attitude, on the other hand, will only bring you down.
Here are 5 typical examples of bad professional attitudes – do you recognize yourself?
1. The Bossy Attitude: “I dominate the team because I know best”
Do you come in throwing around orders and completely take over? You don’t really listen to others and almost never welcome ideas that counteract your own. You like giving advice to others, even if they don’t ask for it or need it. If your team is successful, of course it’s because they used your idea. And if they make a mistake, they obviously just didn’t listen to you, or so you claim…
Well, ever heard of the phrase: “we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”? This is a good motto to go by, and a great practice for collaborating well in a team. Of course you should always voice your opinions, but make sure you respect those of others, regardless of their experience. Teamwork involves compromise, so you need to be willing to adapt in order to find a solution that works for all team members, not just you. Your company isn’t just relying on you and it’s not like it would fail if you left tomorrow. So trust your team and learn to delegate tasks, allowing each member to be equally involved. You’ll be much more relaxed as a result, focusing on your own work rather than others’.
And remember: there’s no I in team.
2. The Proud One: “I’m practically perfect in every way”
Do you overestimate your value within the team and therefore think you’re always right? You could never possibly make a mistake because of course, you’re the best at what you do. You’re a lone wolf in your way of working and very fixed on your ideas, unwilling to engage with your colleagues. And if others give you feedback on your work, it’s a harsh, personal attack on your character and ability. Why can’t they just leave you alone and stop bothering you?! They’re obviously just jealous. I mean, how can you possibly get better than perfection?
Well, truth be told, no matter how great you may be, there’s always room for improvement. Being too proud to accept you make mistakes will only jeopardize your professional development in the long run, as you’ll never progress to the next level. Your colleagues will appreciate neither your condescending attitude nor your solitary work ethic. So take steps to engage with them. Ask them for advice on how to develop a more open mindset. Recognize that any constructive criticism they share with you is in your best interests. They want the company to succeed just as much as you do, and every high-performing business has a great team. So learn to grow and develop alongside your colleagues. You’ll soon see the error of your old ways.
If you don’t constantly strive to improve, your so-called brilliance will soon be surpassed by those around you.
3. The Negative Nancy: “There’s no point in trying, this will never work”
Do you only consider the negatives when approaching a task? If it’s challenging, you immediately say no because it’s not worth your time. When your colleagues suggest a new idea, you’re the first to bring up the reasons why it will fail. And why bother taking the risk anyway? You don’t like your team and don’t understand why your boss treats everyone fairly apart from you. You’re always assigned to the worst clients who hassle you and in the end lead to nothing. What have you done to deserve this?
Unfortunately, misery loves company, so your negative attitude could well be rubbing off on your team, bringing down their morale. Try organizing a meeting with your boss and identify the root of your issues – maybe they need to divide the tasks more equally within your team or be more willing to help you. Be more open to challenges and don’t just dismiss them as being more trouble than they’re worth. Rather, view them as an effective way to help you develop as a professional and, very importantly, learn how to respond well to change. Nowadays, businesses and technology are adapting at an alarmingly fast rate and you simply can’t ignore it. So be proactive and get ahead of the game.
Think: no one likes working with a Debbie Downer.
4. The Office Gossip: “Did you hear the latest scandal about our manager?”
Are you always informed about the personal lives of all your colleagues? You know about every disagreement in the office, who said what to who and the repercussions of their argument. You’re the first to know if another colleague’s getting promoted, or, all the more scandalous, why they’re getting fired. In fact, you probably even know before they themselves do. And of course everyone around you should know too. I mean, information is for sharing right?
Take the time to think about the consequences of your actions. Gossip often lacks context or in many cases is completely untrue. So imagine the damage you could do to a colleague’s career by discussing their job position or their supposedly bad behavior at the weekend. And don’t forget you could also jeopardize your own job position – your colleagues and manager will respect you less as a professional if you focus more on personal matters than your work. Maybe this is just your way of connecting with a colleague, discussing someone you can both relate to. However, your colleagues will soon realize they can’t confide in you, knowing full well that it’ll be spread around the office within minutes. So think about all the other topics you could cover besides people, such as your favorite hobbies or upcoming trips. Your colleagues and manager will be more willing to interact and work with you.
Always think twice before discussing other people’s lives.
5. The Hippie Employee: “I work to live, I don’t live to work”
Are you constantly late for work, even if it means you miss a meeting? You don’t understand why your colleagues are always hassling you about tasks – it won’t matter if you get it done tomorrow rather than today anyway. Some people just need to chill out! And why does your boss get so angry when you call in sick every week?! It’s completely unreasonable! You also enjoy leaving as soon as you finish your tasks, especially if it means you leave a couple of hours early. Why do your colleagues always ask for MORE tasks?! They should just go home and put their feet up. That’s what you’d do anyway.
Well, unfortunately, your lack of professional ambition may affect your job position down the line, as your colleagues and manager will know they simply cannot rely on you. Why would they want to delegate tasks to you when you have no sense of urgency? Your blasé behavior will directly slow down your team members. So be proactive and prove to them that you’re interested in what you do– always ask for more tasks and try to get them done quickly to your best ability. Not only will you exceed expectations but you’ll become more motivated knowing you’re actively involved and engaging effectively with your team. Show them how valuable you really are.
Remember: you’re wasting others’ time as well as your own.
Negative attitudes are contagious, even more so than positive ones. So displaying bad professional behavior will not only hinder your self-development and overall performance but it will also bring down your team. And let’s be honest, they won’t thank you for it, and your relationship with them will most likely suffer. From an external perspective, your clients will certainly detect your bad attitude and won’t be rushing back to do business with you.
Nowadays, more and more companies are adopting the motto: “Hire for attitude, train for skill”. So give yourself the best chances of professional success and always have a positive attitude. You’ll be happier, and the people around you will be too!
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