No one is perfect. Being successful at your job doesn’t mean that you can never make a mistake, but the best professionals take those mistakes, analyze them, learn from them, and figure out how to grow and be better because of them.
On the other hand, if your bad behavior has gone unchecked and morphed into bad workplace ethics, then it’s time to re-evaluate the ways this kind of negativity is affecting your workload, your professional relationships, or even your potential to succeed.
1. Arriving Late & Leaving Early
Everyone occasionally gets delayed or must leave early to fulfill another important obligation, but if you’re constantly the “late one” in the office or leave early, you’ll eventually be seen as someone who isn’t truly committed to your job or your employer, which means you’ll be engaging in unethical workplace behavior. In addition, you’ll likely miss crucial meetings or company happenings over time because you’ll simply not be a part of this environment.
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2. Perpetuating Microaggressions
Microaggressions can refer to any discriminatory or unfavorable remark made towards a member of a marginalized group of any kind, regardless of how overt or covert it may be. Typically, microaggressions are covert manifestations of sexism, racism, or other prejudices that appear in casual or everyday comments.
Examples of everyday microaggressions include mistaking a younger-looking coworker for a student (or commenting on age in general, such as “You look so young for your age!”), asking someone where they really come from, and making general assumptions or judgments about someone based on their perceived differences or “marginalized” status. Microaggressions occur across all industries and workplaces.
These kinds of behaviors not only reflect poorly on your character but also drive a wedge between you and your coworkers and possibly put you on HR’s “hot seat.”
Regularly interrupting coworkers, superiors, or others with whom you deal professionally is a surefire way to erode trust, sour relationships, or just plain annoy people. If you’re interrupting because you feel that’s your only chance to be “heard,” then you may want to have a conversation with your boss about establishing healthier communication habits so that you don’t have to resort to cutting off other people just to get your ideas out there.
4. Not Giving Credit Where It’s Due
Confident professionals understand that their success does not exist in a vacuum and are ready and willing to give credit to others where it’s due. In fact, one of the most typical traits of a strong leader is the ability to elevate others and provide them with the inspiration and motivation they need to succeed because you understand that, in the end, if they succeed, you succeed.
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5. Always Being on Your Cell Phone
The majority of the time that Americans spend on their cell phones each day is spent on social media. At meetings or conferences, specifically, having your head buried in your smartphone all day long typically indicates a level of disengagement and distraction that doesn’t align with acceptable work ethics.
6. Being dismissive
Being tolerant of and open to other ideas, viewpoints, or cognitive processes is a necessary component of working with others. Those around you will quickly learn that it’s not “safe” to speak up in your presence and they may even pull back and find ways to avoid working with you, which could eventually mean that you will be isolated or shut out of crucial projects, meetings, or talks as people try to avoid your negativity. If you are constantly dismissing other people and shutting them down because their approaches don’t line up with your own opinions or plans, people will learn that it’s not “safe” to speak up in your presence.
7. Displaying an unnecessary sense of urgency
Maybe you sent a coworker an email with a request or a query. If you find yourself texting them again 15 or 30 minutes later to check if they’ve seen your email (and it’s really not an urgent matter), you’re probably exaggerating the severity of the situation, which may irritate or even insult your receiver.
Do you flag all letters you send as high priority even if they aren’t? Do you place excessive pressure on your coworkers to reply promptly, especially after hours? Do you frequently wait until the very last minute to ask your coworkers for help, giving them little time to comply? If something isn’t actually urgent, don’t approach it like it is; respect your colleagues’ time and effort; and set acceptable expectations for their response times.
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8. Not following through
Anyone makes mistakes now and again, but your coworkers (and supervisors) will come to realize that they can’t rely on you if you frequently miss deadlines, neglect requests, ignore emails, fail to follow up or fall short of the standards you set.
Speaking out at work all the time is poisonous behavior that presents a negative impression of your work ethic or attitude. We all occasionally moan about trying or tough circumstances, but becoming known as the office “complainer” may give the impression to your coworkers that you are unable to do your duties well, are unwilling to accept responsibility, or are unable to deal with difficulties.
10. Apologizing for your ideas
Do you frequently begin conversations with expressions like “I realize this could be a poor idea, but…” or “How about if we…?” You’re not only doing yourself a disservice if you’re continually defending or qualifying your thoughts and beliefs, but you’re also telling other coworkers not to take you seriously.