bad habits in the workplace to break

Explore 20 common bad habits in the workplace that leaders need to break – in order to unlock their true potential and build up an environment conducive to growth, innovation, and achievement.

In the realm of leadership, it is often said that actions speak louder than words. While possessing technical skills and industry knowledge is undoubtedly important, it is the behavioral patterns of leaders that truly shape the culture and success of an organization. Just as positive habits can uplift an entire workforce, bad manners have the power to bring about a detrimental impact too.

(The content below is compiled based on the bestseller ‘What got you here won’t get you there‘ – written by world-class executive coach, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith)

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The Need for Leaders to Stop Bad Habits in the Workplace

We spend a lot of time helping leaders learn what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop.

Peter Drucker

When was the last time you heard a CEO openly discuss their own bad habits – and how they actively worked to overcome them?

Chances are, it’s a rare occurrence.

There are several reasons why leaders tend to shy away from addressing their own shortcomings. One of the primary factors is the emphasis on positive action and maintaining momentum within businesses.

Recognition and rewards are typically centered around employee achievements and doing something commendable, rather than acknowledging the process of overcoming bad habits at work. We receive accolades for being punctual – but not necessarily for breaking the habit of tardiness.

However, it’s critical to recognize that giving up bad habits is an essential aspect of personal and professional development. It is the first step on the journey to achieving success and becoming a better leader.

Let’s consider a scenario where you are aware that people perceive you as impolite, and you want to change that perception. Your immediate thought might be, “I need to be more polite.”

But the solution lies in doing something unexpected – nothing at all.

When someone presents an idea that you might initially dismiss as “silly” in a meeting, resist the urge to criticize it. Instead, practice the power of silence.

When someone challenges a decision you’ve made, refrain from arguing or making excuses. Take a moment of quiet reflection and genuinely consider their perspectives.

And when someone offers a helpful suggestion, do your best to not respond with, “I already know that.” Instead, graciously thank them for their input.

To better understand this concept, envision a box. Becoming a more polite person requires actively filling that box with positive actions every day until it transforms you into a new individual. This process takes time – in other words, it may be a while before others notice the change.

In contrast, letting go of existing rude behaviors does not require learning new manners or accumulating achievements to “fill the box.” Instead, it involves removing negative aspects from that “box” of your behaviors.

As leaders, it is crucial to acknowledge and address our own bad habits in the workplace. By actively working on ourselves and demonstrating a commitment to personal growth, we can inspire our teams to do the same.

Breaking free from these habits not only benefits our own development – but also creates a more positive and harmonious work environment for everyone involved.

bad habits in the workplace to break

20 Bad Habits in the Workplace that Prevent Us from Reaching Greater Heights

  1. Unrelenting competition

Always striving to win, regardless of the consequences.

A prevalent – yet often overlooked bad work habit, particularly among accomplished individuals, is the relentless desire to triumph at any cost. Intriguingly, it serves as the foundation for numerous other detrimental behaviors that prove challenging to overcome.

The compulsion to incessantly argue stems from an insatiable urge to assert our viewpoint as superior to all others, striving to go beyond mere persuasion.

Similarly, when we dismiss or disregard individuals, it often arises from an underlying drive to triumph by overshadowing their presence, thereby maintaining a sense of superiority.

Another manifestation of this detrimental habit (which we will discuss later) is the tendency to withhold information, strategically safeguarding it to secure a competitive advantage over our peers.

While the desire to win may have propelled our current success, it can paradoxically transform into a formidable barrier, hindering our future achievements.

  1. Constant interference

The overwhelming urge to share our opinions in every conversation.

Have you ever found yourself uttering statements like,

‘That’s a good idea, but it would be even better if you did it this way‘?

This tendency to excessively provide input is a different manifestation of the insatiable desire to emerge victorious. It is a prevailing pattern, particularly among leaders accustomed to being in control. Lingering remnants of top-down management practices lead them to believe that it is their role to explicitly dictate instructions to subordinates – which later prompts them to resort to over controlling.

Imagine assuming the role of CEO within a company. An employee approaches you with an excellent idea. Instead of responding with a simple, ‘Great idea!’, chances are you would reply as follows,

‘Good idea, but it would be even better if you tried approaching it this way.’

Here’s the catch: While you may have improved their idea by a marginal 5%, you simultaneously diminished their commitment to implementing it by a staggering 50%.

The reason behind this lies in the fact that you unintentionally confiscated ownership of their ideas. Their brainchild instantly transforms into your intellectual property. Consequently, as they walk out of your office, their motivation dwindles significantly compared to when they initially entered.

As you ascend the organizational hierarchy, it becomes increasingly vital to foster the success of others – rather than solely focusing on personal triumphs.

  1. Judgmental attitude

Rating and imposing our own standards on others.

While expressing personal opinions in casual business discussions is generally acceptable, passing judgment when soliciting feedback or seeking others’ opinions about ourselves is entirely inappropriate.

Criticism is seldom well-received, and judging others serves as an undercover method of alienating individuals, hindering both personal and collective success. The inevitable outcome of passing judgment on others’ attempts to assist us is the erosion of their willingness to offer further support.

To foster an environment conducive to collaboration and growth, refrain from passing judgment on any constructive comments provided by colleagues, friends, or family members. Regardless of your thoughts on their suggestions, it is essential to keep your judgment to yourself, actively listen to their perspectives, and express gratitude by simply saying, ‘Thank you.’ Abstain from engaging in judgment altogether.

  1. Cutting remarks

Using sarcasm and snide comments to appear clever.

The sarcastic and cutting remarks we casually utter – often without purpose – serve no other function than to demean and inflict emotional harm, under the guise of appearing clever or superior.

Whether it’s an ill-conceived “joke” during a meeting, an unnecessary comment about someone’s appearance accompanied by a smug smile, or revisiting past mistakes to criticize our partner, we unleash personal attacks without considering the consequences. Regrettably, those subjected to our criticism vividly recall these hurtful words.

Once spoken aloud, they act as “indelible nails”, leaving lasting marks. No matter how fervently we apologize – and even if forgiveness is granted, the impact of our words lingers in people’s memories.

Saying hurtful things is one of the commonly observed bad habits in the workplace – particularly among leaders who pride themselves on their direct management style. If left unnoticed, such straightforwardness may swiftly transform into a weapon turned against us. Over time, it cultivates an environment where people feel entitled to utter hurtful words under the pretense of speaking the truth.

What truly matters is not merely the authenticity of our words – but rather, whether it is worthwhile to express them. Instead of asking ourselves, “Is it true?” we should contemplate, “Is it worth saying?”

  1. Negative disclaimers

Habitually starting sentences with “No,” “But,” or “However” to assert our correctness.

When we habitually employ words like “no,” “but,” or “however” in our defense, regardless of our friendly tone or attempts to acknowledge others’ feelings, the underlying message conveyed remains, “You are wrong.”

For instance, saying, “That’s true, however…” implies a disbelief in the truthfulness of the statement, while “Yes, but…” signals a forthcoming argument.

Once these words are spoken, the ensuing reaction from the other party tends to be confrontation and conflict. The conversation swiftly devolves into a pointless dispute, with both sides solely focused on winning – rather than engaging in meaningful communication.

If this bad habit manifests in your work, it is crucial to relinquish the inclination to assert your position – and instead, become mindful of when you instinctively utter words such as “no,” “but,” or “however.” Specifically, pay attention to instances where you employ these words with the explicit intention of disagreeing with the other person’s viewpoint.

Being negative & Undermining Positivity

  1. Intellectual showboating

Demonstrating our intelligence to impress others.

Engaging in self-expression to showcase our intelligence is a commonly overlooked vice. We fall prey to this bad workplace habit unconsciously, often demonstrating it when we agree with someone’s practical advice or display impatience when someone states something we have long known.

This vice becomes most apparent when we respond to others with the phrase, “I know that.”

The issue at hand is not merely boasting about our knowledge; it is the unintended offense we inflict upon our listeners. What we truly convey is,

“You need not waste my time with that information. You thought it was something interesting that I might not be aware of, but I assure you, I already understand and agree with what you’re saying. You have no idea how much knowledge I possess.”

While intelligence naturally garners attention, showcasing our intelligence in this manner yields the opposite effect.

Breaking free from this destructive tendency is not arduous – all you need to do is following these three steps:

  • Before speaking, take a moment to ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say truly worth saying?”
  • If the answer is “no,” proceed to the next step.
  • Respond graciously to the other person with a simple, “Thank you.”
  1. Unleashing fury

Using anger as a tool for managing situations.

Utilizing anger as a management tool may appear effective, awakening employees’ attention and boosting their focus and agility. However, the cost incurred is significant.

Emotional instability has been proven to be unreliable as a leadership instrument. When consumed by anger, control slips from your grasp, making it arduous to lead effectively when you are unable to govern yourself.

While you may rely on your ability to utilize outbursts as a means to “manipulate” and motivate employees, the reactions of others are often unpredictable. In most cases, their responses will be diametrically opposed to your intentions.

The most detrimental consequence of anger is its impediment to fostering change. Frequent displays of a lack of restraint create a lasting impression, ultimately forming your “personal brand“. Soon, individuals perceive you solely as someone short-tempered and impatient.

So, how does one break free from the grip of anger? The answer lies in silence.

By maintaining your composure and refraining from speaking out in moments of anger, you shield others from truly knowing the extent of your emotions.

Granted, this is easier said than done – as it requires diligent efforts to master self-control and suppress the impulse to verbalize. However, once you witness the benefits of such restraint, you will be prepared to embark on the journey of personal growth and become a better version of yourself.

  1. Perpetual pessimism

Sharing negative thoughts even when not asked for input.

We are all familiar with negative thinkers in the workplace – who rarely offer positive remarks or acknowledge the merits of suggestions. Negativity seems to be their default mode of response.

Even if you approach them with an intriguing proposal, their initial words will likely be, “Let me explain why that won’t work.”

Such a response is undeniably negative, disguised as a desire to assist others. Uttering phrases like “The only problem with that is…” serves to establish ourselves as superior in expertise or authority.

However, the truthfulness or usefulness of our words is not guaranteed. It merely positions us as the ultimate critic, the self-appointed arbiter.

The problem lies in the fact that nobody appreciates or respects perpetual critics. Others feel uneasy in your presence, viewing you as an “epidemic” to avoid. Collaborative efforts dwindle, and people become reluctant to lend you their support when needed.

If negativity is one of your bad habits in the workplace, it is imperative to be mindful of your words, particularly when someone presents a helpful suggestion. If you frequently catch yourself responding with, “Let me explain why that doesn’t work,” then you are aware of the change required in order to reach greater heights in life.

  1. Information hoarding

Refusing to share knowledge to maintain an advantage.

Deliberately withholding information is a stark departure from providing value. The underlying motivation is singular: Power. It manifests as a subtler form of the insatiable desire to emerge victorious at any cost.

Ironically, the practice of hoarding information seldom yields the desired outcomes. While you may believe that keeping knowledge to yourself grants you an advantage and consolidates power, it ultimately breeds distrust within the organization.

True power is derived from inspiring loyalty rather than instilling fear and suspicion. Information hoarding is nothing more than a misguided manifestation of the relentless pursuit of victory.

This detrimental habit extends beyond intentional information withholding; it also encompasses unintentional instances where information isn’t shared:

  • When you are too preoccupied to update colleagues with vital information.
  • When you inadvertently overlook inviting a team member to a crucial meeting or discussion.
  • When you assign a task to a subordinate – but fail to dedicate time to provide clear instructions on how to execute it.

It is not a deliberate act of concealment – but rather, a consequence of being caught up in busyness. Despite good intentions, the impression we leave on those around us is regrettably unfavorable.

So, how can we break free from this habit?

The answer is simple: Begin sharing with others.

If you hold a managerial or team leadership position, carve out dedicated time during the workday to update your team members. Schedule regular sessions to keep your assistants informed about your activities. Ensure that this period is not delayed or interrupted by any distractions.

  1. Recognition deficiency

Inability to acknowledge and reward others’ accomplishments.

Failing to give proper recognition to others for their contributions is an offshoot of the bad habit of withholding information. When neglecting to acknowledge the efforts of individuals in your team, you not only perpetuate injustice and discrimination – but also deprive them of the emotional rewards they rightfully deserve.

Your employees no longer feel exhilarated by your success or congratulations. Instead, they experience feelings of being forgotten, overlooked, and marginalized. And rest assured, they will remember it.

By disregarding the contributions of others, you inadvertently diminish the significance of their achievements. While your team may achieve success, the absence of recognition dampens enthusiasm.

There exists a fundamental distinction between a successful person and a true leader. The transformation into a leader occurs when one learns to shift the focus of attention from oneself to others.

Breaking free from this bad work habit necessitates a paradigm shift: Start valuing and acknowledging the contributions of your team members.

Make it a priority to express gratitude and offer recognition for their achievements. Celebrate milestones and accomplishments, both big and small. Take the time to genuinely understand and appreciate the efforts they invest in the team’s success.

true leadership

  1. Taking improper credits

Overestimating our contribution to success for personal gain.

Claiming credit that we don’t deserve is yet another manifestation of the unrelenting desire to emerge victorious in any given situation (which we have discussed above).

When it comes to identifying the true contributors in a meeting – or accurately assessing who has effectively nurtured a client relationship during challenging times, assigning credit can be a complex task. As a result, faced with the choice between allowing credit to rightfully belong to others or seizing it for ourselves, we often succumb to the allure of illusory triumph and wrongfully claim the achievements as our own.

However, the trajectory of a team’s progress is uncertain when no one cares about acknowledging deserving individuals. We are well aware of this fact, so why do we fail to extend recognition when it is warranted by others?

The most effective approach to breaking this detrimental habit is to adopt its polar opposite – a culture of shared credit.

As an exercise, for a day, take note each time you find yourself congratulating yourself for an accomplishment. Write down each of these achievements. In doing so, you will likely discover that you tend to claim credit for yourself more frequently than you initially thought – whether it’s for generating a groundbreaking idea for a client, punctuality in meetings, or offering a “clever” suggestion to a colleague.

Be mindful that there is nothing inherently wrong with experiencing satisfaction from our own achievements. The sense of accomplishment acts as motivation to navigate through long, arduous workdays. However, after compiling your list of accomplishments, pause and sincerely ask yourself:

“Is this truly my achievement, or does someone else deserve the credit more?”

When you contribute a valuable idea during a meeting, pause to reflect. Did it originate solely from your own thought process – or was it inspired by an insightful comment made by another team member?

By consciously sharing credit with others and acknowledging their role in our accomplishments, we create an environment that fosters collaboration, trust, and collective growth. Embracing the spirit of shared success propels us forward as individuals and as a cohesive team.

  1. Excuse making

Justifying our negative behavior as a fixed trait to evade accountability.

Excuse making, or explaining our negative behavior as an inherent trait to evade accountability, hinders our personal and professional growth. If you frequently find yourself resorting to phrases like, “I’m sorry I’m late, but I was stuck in traffic,” it’s time to pause and reflect.

Blaming external factors such as traffic jams is a feeble excuse, and it does not change the fact that you made others wait. Perhaps it would have been wiser to leave earlier and account for potential delays.

Consider the worst-case scenario: Arriving early and waiting a few minutes in the lobby. Is that truly something to be anxious about? Would you ever say something like, “I apologize for my early arrival; I underestimated the traffic conditions”?

Often, we perceive our bad habits at work as immutable aspects of our character. We convince ourselves that we are inherently flawed and incapable of change.

“I am impatient.”

“I always procrastinate and leave tasks until the last minute.”

“I have a quick temper. It’s just who I am.”

Sounds familiar?

These self-limiting beliefs often stem from repetitive patterns that have persisted for years, possibly dating back to our childhood. While these beliefs may lack a factual foundation, they are deeply ingrained in our minds, leading to lowered expectations of ourselves.

The next time you catch yourself saying, “I’m not good at…” or “I can’t…” – challenge yourself with the question, “Why not?”

By relinquishing the habit of making excuses and taking ownership of our actions and behaviors, we can make significant strides in personal and professional development. We free ourselves from self-imposed limitations and open doors to progress in all areas of life.

  1. Blaming the past

Shifting responsibility onto past events and individuals.

Failing to let go of the past can seriously hinder our personal growth and development. There is a psychological perspective that attributes present behaviors and disorders to our ancient history, suggesting that “every disorder has its roots in ancient history.”

For instance, if you’re a perfectionist who constantly seeks validation from others, you may believe it’s because your parents never acknowledged your abilities.

If you consistently disregard rules and believe you can do no wrong, you might attribute it to your parents excessively praising and hyping your capabilities.

If you feel anxious or intimidated when dealing with authority figures, you may trace it back to a controlling mother.

For various reasons, we often find solace in dwelling on the past, especially if it allows us to shift blame onto others for our own bad habits in the workplace and in life. However, by doing so, we unknowingly sabotage our chances of personal growth and success.

When we defend ourselves by blaming external factors beyond our control, we absolve ourselves of responsibility for our failures.

While it’s important to reflect on the past for self-awareness and learning, fixating on it becomes counterproductive when our aim is to shape a different future.

No one can change, rewrite, or excuse the past. All we can do is accept it, learn from it, and move forward. By letting go of the habit of blaming the past – and taking ownership of our actions and choices, we empower ourselves to create a better future.

  1. Favoritism

Unfair treatment of individuals due to bias or preference.

Unfair treatment of individuals due to bias or preference will eventually result in a culture of flattery and hinder organizational success. In one of his executive coaching sessions, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith used to pose this question to a leadership group:

“In your house, who wins your heart the most: (a) spouse, (b) children, or (c) dog?”

Surprisingly, the majority of respondents chose their dog as the winner.

When asked if they loved their dog more than their family members, everyone responded with a resounding “No.”

Dr. Goldsmith then inquired why they gave their dog the most attention.

Unsurprisingly, the answers were consistent: The dog is always happy to see them, never contradicts them, and provides unconditional love regardless of their actions.

Favoritism - treating others like dogs

If we’re not careful, we may inadvertently apply the same behavior in the workplace – by rewarding those who unconditionally admire us, akin to a dog. Eventually, this fosters a culture of flattery that doesn’t truly benefit the organization.

This bad habit can affect anyone in their work. As leaders, it is crucial to acknowledge our tendency to favor those who shower us with admiration, even when we don’t consciously intend to do so.

To counteract such bias, it’s essential to assess subordinates based on the following criteria:

  • How much do they like me?
  • What is their contribution to the company and customers?
  • How do I show appreciation for them?

Upon honest reflection, we may realize that our tendency to acknowledge others’ contributions is more closely tied to their admiration for us – rather than their actual performance. As leaders, we must take full responsibility for this biased treatment.

By recognizing our inclination toward playing favorites – and actively working to overcome it, we are better equipped to create a fair and equitable work environment that rewards individuals based on their genuine contributions and achievements – rather than their ability to appease us.

  1. Withholding apologies

Refusing to accept your own wrongdoings – nor their impact on others.

The absence of remorse is a common cause of broken relationships and unnecessary friction. Ironically, the fears that make us refuse to apologize – fear of losing/ admitting we’re wrong/ losing control – can all be alleviated with a simple apology.

When we muster the courage to say, “I’m sorry,” we transform the other person into an ally, even a partner. In fact, apologizing has the power to completely erase those fears and restore harmony.

If you have ever heard of something called the “Law of Attraction”, then you surely are aware that we reap whatever we sow.

When we smile at others, they smile back.

When we ignore them, they harbor resentment.

Similarly, when we take responsibility for our actions and offer a sincere apology, we initiate a positive shift in the dynamics of our relationships.

If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.

Benjamin Franklin

Apologizing is one of the most powerful and meaningful human gestures, akin to expressing love for someone. If love signifies “I care about you, and I’m happy for you,” an apology signifies, “I have hurt you, and now I regret it.”

Even the most hardened individuals find it difficult to resist the warmth and sincerity of a genuine apology. When we extend this gesture to our coworkers, it has the potential to profoundly change their perception of us and our self-image.

By embracing the power of apologies and being willing to acknowledge our mistakes, we foster a culture of understanding, empathy, and growth within our relationships and work environments. Apologizing demonstrates emotional intelligence, humility, and a genuine commitment to repairing the damage caused.

  1. Selective listening

Disrespecting colleagues by not actively listening.

When leaders fail to actively pay attention, it results in detrimental effects on their teams and the organization as a whole.

As shared by Dr. Goldsmith, he once encountered a situation where a Research & Development organization struggled to retain young talent. Upon investigation, it was discovered that senior management had developed a habit of constantly checking their watches during presentations – signaling impatience to their subordinates and rushing them through the content.

Over time, this behavior took its toll, as young talent began seeking opportunities elsewhere, opting for startups or even starting their own ventures. They realized they no longer had to tolerate such working conditions in a large company – when they could find a more comfortable environment and potentially achieve success at a young age.

Leaders must recognize the following truth: While talented workers may have overlooked bad habits in the past, they will increasingly choose to leave and seek environments that value their contributions in the future.

When leaders demonstrate an inability to listen, they send negative messages to their colleagues, such as:

  • I don’t care about you.
  • I don’t understand you.
  • You are wrong.
  • You’re unintelligent.
  • You are wasting my time.
  • etc.

While people may tolerate various forms of rudeness, the failure to listen is one of the most challenging behaviors to accept (and one of the most critical bad habits in the workplace to break). Actively listening requires little effort; hence, not doing so displays both disrespect and annoyance. Not only does it demonstrates a lack of consideration for others, but it also inevitably motivates employees to seek managers who genuinely care about their well-being.

To break this habit, leaders must make a conscious effort to stop themselves from zoning out or showing impatience when others are speaking. By doing so, they can foster an environment where active listening is valued, and employees feel heard and appreciated. Effective listening cultivates understanding, enhances collaboration, and strengthens relationships within the workplace.

  1. Lack of gratitude

Neglecting basic manners by failing to express appreciation.

Just like offering an apology, expressing gratitude is a remarkably powerful gesture in human relationships. It serves as a go-to response when we don’t know what to say, and it never fails to uplift those who hear it.

However, despite its simplicity, many of us struggle to perform such a basic act. In fact, too many times, we decide not to say thank you – despite how obvious it is.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You attend a party and notice your neighbor wearing a stunning dress. You express your admiration by saying, “You look great! What a beautiful dress!”

Instead of saying thank you, your neighbor appears confused and responds, “Oh, this thing? It’s just a regular dress I pulled out of my closet.”

In essence, your neighbor contradicts your compliment, engaging in an argumentative response. What she may mean is,

“You’re mistaken if you think this dress is beautiful. It pales in comparison to the truly remarkable dresses in my closet. If you were smarter, you’d understand that this shabby old garment says nothing about my taste.”

While your neighbor may not intend to be so harsh, this is the impression conveyed when she fails to respond with a simple thank you to your compliment.

We often find ourselves perplexed, unsure of how to respond when we receive helpful suggestions, compliments, or unsolicited advice. There are numerous ways to react – we can argue, question, refine, clarify, criticize, or amplify the point.

We choose any response – but the two simplest words: thank you.

In truth, when someone offers a suggestion or pays us a compliment, we ALWAYS have something to gain. We can learn from it. Therefore, it is essential to be grateful for their effort to assist us.

Expressing gratitude reflects your goodwill, demonstrating your willingness to set aside the need to win or assert yourself in every situation. It conveys appreciation and fosters a positive atmosphere in your interactions with others. So, remember to embrace the power of gratitude by sincerely saying “thank you” whenever it is warranted.

  1. Shooting the messenger

Attacking innocent individuals who offer help or deliver unwelcome news.

This is a common – yet detrimental habit that we often fall into in various forms. It goes beyond simply retaliating against someone who exposes our wrongdoing or expressing anger towards employees when they deliver unwelcome news.

The habit of shooting the messenger can also manifest in seemingly insignificant gestures that we exhibit when we feel upset or frustrated.

For example, it’s the momentary snort you make when your boss’s assistant informs you that your boss is too busy to see you. The assistant is not to be blame for your boss’s avoidance, yet your reaction conveys the impression that it’s their fault.

It’s the swearing you unconsciously utter when your subordinates inform you about a failed contract. If you calmly inquire, “What happened?” – no harm is done. The subordinate can go on with explaining the situation, and everyone in the room has an opportunity to learn from it. However, losing your temper sends an entirely different message.

Every time someone tries to warn us about something, such as a red light ahead or a mismatched outfit, our natural tendency is to react or argue with them simply because they offered assistance.

If your aim is to overcome these bad habits in the workplace, all you need to say is two simple words: “Thank you.”

When someone provides helpful advice or assistance that costs you nothing, the only appropriate response is gratitude. Simply say, “Thank you!”

The next time someone offers advice or tries to help, resist the urge to attack them in return. Refrain from saying or thinking anything other than two words: “Thank you!”

By adopting this mindset, you create a positive and appreciative environment that fosters better communication and relationships with those around you.

Read more: Receiving Feedback – Tips & Strategies for Mastery

  1. Passing responsibility

Habitually shifting blame onto others instead of accepting it.

Blaming others is another manifestation of the habit of taking credit for oneself. Instead of acknowledging their rightful achievements, we make them bear the burden of our failures.

Unlike many of the aforementioned bad habits in the workplace, we are often fully aware of our tendency to blame. We know deep down that we should take responsibility for our own mistakes – yet we struggle to accept it. Instead, we seek out someone else to bear the weight of that responsibility.

It is critical to recognize that perfection is an unattainable ideal. No one expects you to be flawless in every situation. But when you do make a mistake, what everyone expects is for you to own up to it.

In fact, a mistake should be viewed as an opportunity to showcase your character and leadership qualities. It is not just about what you do right that earns the appreciation of others (although that is certainly expected) – but how you handle and rectify your mistakes.

This principle holds true in both customer service and the workplace. Your willingness to confront and learn from your wrongdoings leaves a more significant impression than simply basking in your successes. It demonstrates your integrity, humility, and commitment to personal and professional growth.

So, rather than passing the buck and blaming others, embrace the opportunity to take responsibility for your actions. By doing so, you not only earn the respect of those around you – but also cultivate a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

Read more: Accountability Partner – The Secret Ingredient to Visualize Your Dreams

  1. Embracing flaws as personal identity

Celebrating our faults as virtues solely because they “define” us.

Each of us has a set of behaviors, both positive and negative, that we consider integral to our identity. We regard them as an unchangeable part of who we are.

For instance, if we struggle to answer phone calls due to busyness or communication difficulties, we simply accept it as part of our true self – and expect others to do the same.

Similarly, if we consistently express our opinions – regardless of how hurtful or inappropriate they may be, we justify it by claiming that we are being “true to ourselves”.

Over time, we become blind to our own shortcomings – clinging to the assumption that these flaws define our “authentic selves”. This misguided belief in our immutable nature poses a significant obstacle on the path to personal and professional growth.

The key point here is that we don’t have to confine ourselves to such “convictions”. We can challenge and change them.

Consider this scenario: You are a manager who rarely acknowledges the achievements of your employees – as you don’t want to appear insincere. Whenever you have to offer a compliment, you think to yourself, “This isn’t the real me.”

Now, ask yourself a few crucial questions:

“Why can’t this be the real me? Is it unethical or illegal to show appreciation?”

“Does it make people feel better when they receive recognition?”

“Do your employees perform better when their efforts are acknowledged?”

By letting go of the need to rigidly get one’s own way – to “be true to yourself,” you also release the fear of being perceived as a hypocrite. Instead, you realize that it’s much better to focus on behaving in ways that benefit everyone involved.

Remember, we are not the sole center of the world. In every circumstance, it is vital to consider how our actions and words impact others. By doing so, we cultivate empathy, embrace personal growth, and foster more harmonious relationships in both our personal and professional lives.

Read more: Goal Obsession – The Ultimate Bad Habit that Demolishes Success

Breaking Bad Workplace Habits – The Secret of Accomplished Leaders

As leaders ascend to higher positions within an organization, their skill set, thinking prowess, and specialized knowledge are no longer the sole focus. Instead, behaviors and attitudes become the main focal points often addressed in leadership development initiatives.

Consider this scenario: Who would you prefer to serve as your company’s CFO?

  • The proficient employee who possesses the skills to effectively communicate with external stakeholders, and adeptly manage a team of talented employees?
  • Or the brilliant one who, unfortunately, lacks the ability to connect with others, ultimately alienating the very people under their leadership?

It is pretty obvious – the individual with excellent interpersonal skills is the preferred choice. This is because they have the capacity to attract and hire individuals who are smarter than themselves, ultimately leading them to achieve remarkable results.

On the other hand, a talented employee who lacks the ability to foster collaborative relationships may struggle to achieve the same level of success in the future.

Each of us possesses certain qualities that contribute to our initial career accomplishments. However, when aspiring to reach greater heights, it becomes imperative to let go of certain traits and embrace more nuanced qualities.

Successful leadership hinges not only on expertise – but also on the ability to forge meaningful connections, inspire collaboration, and cultivate a positive work environment. It is the blend of technical proficiency and interpersonal finesse that propels leaders towards exceptional achievements.

By shedding unproductive workplace habits and embracing a new mindset, leaders can unlock their true potential. This transformative process propels their own growth – as well as sets the stage for the development and success of their teams and the entire organization.

In the pursuit of successful leadership, it is vital to recognize that breaking bad workplace habits is a critical step. Leaders must be willing to adapt, evolve, and cultivate the qualities necessary to thrive in the dynamic and ever-changing business landscape.

Through self-reflection, continuous learning, and a commitment to personal development, leaders can transcend their initial triumphs and embark on a journey towards exemplary leadership. By doing so, they inspire others to follow suit and create a culture of continuous improvement, innovation, and excellence.

Read more: Leadership Feedback – The Key to Changing for the Better

Videos on the 20 Bad Habits in the Workplace to Break

Final Thoughts

Breaking personal patterns is no easy feat – that said, it is an essential journey for leaders who aspire to reach new heights of success. By acknowledging and addressing the above 20 bad habits in the workplace, leaders can pave the way for personal and professional development, as well as the growth of their teams and organizations. As leaders transform their behaviors, they inspire those around them to do the same, creating a ripple effect that cultivates a positive and thriving work environment.

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