A few common bad habits can keep employees from reaching their full potential.
A few common bad habits can keep employees from reaching their full potential. Some employees begin their careers with 1 or more of these habits or perhaps develop them as they become comfortable in their workspaces. Yes, that’s you, reader! And you, the manager! Have these habits crept into your daily routine? Are work conditions complicating these problems? If so, the following tips can help you self-correct now.
Many employees experience the HALT constellation: hungry, angry, lonely, tired.1 Individuals experiencing HALT are easy to identify: they tend to be miserable, snappish, and easy to anger. The Table3,5 lists some interventions that can correct these problems.
If you are frequently late, review your morning routine from the time you wake until you arrive at work. Write down everything you do and estimate (honestly) how long each step takes. Identify the rate-limiting steps (eg, do you pull wrinkled clothing from the dryer or have to compete for access to the shower?). Next, assess whether you can shift tasks. Setting up the coffee pot, packing lunches, and picking out clothing the night before can shave valuable minutes from your schedule. Finally, monitor your morning routine until you get it right and be aware of the propensity to backslide.6
Employee tardiness annoys employers, erodes teams, and reflects poorly on employees.7 Employers need to be clear about their punctuality expectations and enforce them consistently.8
3. Failure to Delegate
Many employees, especially those with heavy responsibilities, fail to deliver assignments on time. Ask yourself whether you can delegate some of your work to your coworkers (or subordinates, if you occupy a supervisory role). Sharing the workload benefits the overall workplace in multiple ways: it engages coworkers in projects and ensures workflow in your absence.
4. Failure to Participate
If you suffer from shyness or nervousness, and your work reputation is suffering as a result, consider joining Toastmasters International (toastmasters.org) or taking an improvisation class.
5. Talking too Much
Watch for red flags that you may be this employee: do coworkers avoid the break room when you are there? Do they send e-mails rather than interact with you in person? Consider focusing on what people need to know, sending brief e-mails (using bullet points, if possible), and ending conversations early when it is obvious that coworkers have stopped paying attention.
Ms. Wick is a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.