The Maraia Minutes

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Twenty Workplace Habits You Need to Break

Volume 11, Issue 11

Read through this list and see if you can spot one or more behaviors that YOU frequently exhibit when interacting with peers, clients and friends. It's tempting to think this list applies more to other people than it does to you. While that may be true, it does nothing to help YOU increase your effectiveness with others. For one week, I'd like you to run an experiment. Pick out ONE of these behaviors and for the next seven days be mindful of when you are exhibiting that behavior during your interactions with others. In the alternative, ask a trusted colleague which one you exhibit the most. Set an intention of stopping that behavior for one week and see how people react to you. If you like the results, extend the experiment for one full month. Once you eliminate that habit pick another one and work on it for one week. Do not try and stop more than one behavior at a time. There is plenty of research that suggests we can't work on more than one behavior at a time.

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 sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.

5. Starting with "No," "but," or "However": The overuse of these negative 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, or "Let me explain why that won't work": 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 that 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 past: 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 help 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're who we are.

Remember, pick one you will work on and get started!

Copyright 2008 Mark M. Maraia Associates

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