6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Credibility And Your Career

Every detail does matter.When you have big dreams, and a grand vision for your career, it’s the little actions, and the small details you prioritize that will set you apart. Sure, you can work on adding habits and incorporating new skill sets into your daily life. Nonetheless, it’s key to stop and ask yourself: what do you need to eliminate or change today?

It is easier to add a new habit than it is to break an old one because habits are comfortable and we are hardwired to want that safety. What if that one conversational habit you had was blocking you from the success you want to create in your networking efforts, or  what if the nervous tick to repeat “umm’” over and over was what didn’t get you that big break?

The first step is recognizing that you have a habit that needs to be broken in the first place. Here are six of the most common habits I have seen ruin someone’s credibility without them even realizing it.

1. Constantly apologizing.

When you use “sorry” in every conversation, people are not only going to be confused, but it leaves the impression you don’t value your own thoughts, ideas, and actions. If you are constantly apologizing for everything, you are planting one seed inside of your coworker’s minds: that you don’t do things right.

I like to tell coaching clients to replace “I’m sorry” with “thank you”:

  • “I’m sorry I’m late” becomes: “Thank you for waiting for me.”
  • “I’m sorry to ask you for a favor” becomes: “Thank you for helping me out.”
  • “I’m sorry I made a mistake” becomes: “Thank you for pointing out my mistake.”

2. Using “uptalk” in your dialog.

Uptalk is a speech pattern that completes each sentence with an ascending inflection in sound, like that of a question. This happens in the typical “valley girl” accent we all know and love from the movie Clueless. Often this inflection sound leads those you talk to, to wonder if you are asking a question or providing an answer. It creates doubt in you from your listener, and triggers questioning as to whether what you’re saying is true or not. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and when you speak with uncertainty, you convey just that. The pitch of your voice does matter, and a Science study proves it. There is a group of neurons that actually track changes in someone’s tone of voice- and our brains give meaning to sounds.

In order to instill confidence and trust in your communication, you want your statements to sound like declarations, not questions. If you are uncertain of whether you do this, record yourself talking and listen to hear whether your sentences are floating suggestions or sound like you are stating a fact.

3. Having poor manners.

Using good manners is so simple, yet so underrated. I have seen some of the most powerful people in a room completely disregard standard manners by picking their nose, forgetting to say thank you when someone opens the door, interrupting people when they talk or shoving someone when they’re walking by—and unknowingly pay a price for it. We have all been in a room with that person who doesn’t thank the wait staff or causes a scene because something simple wasn’t granted to them. In the moment, they get what they want, but in the long haul, it’s off-putting. No matter how established someone may be, let’s be honest:this sort of action casts a negative shadow over them that isn’t easily forgotten. Be the person who says “please” and “thank you” with your coworkers, managers, sales team, and vendors.

4.  Being a conversational vampire, or narcissist. 

A conversation narcissist politely shifts the focus of the conversation from someone else to themselves. This could look like:

Coworker: “I just recently gave a presentation to the management team and I forgot to pass out the handouts that I printed.  I feel like such an idiot for forgetting.”

You: “Oh that’s nothing, one time I was talking to the entire upper-level executive team and I only made a few copies, I didn’t know everyone was going to come.  Luckily they all loved the presentation…”

This style of communication diminishes the other person and immediately dismisses their question, request for guidance or story altogether. By shifting the focus to you, and using their share as a start to talk about yourself, you may be minimizing their needs or concerns, and discrediting what they are sharing. This leaves those around you feeling pretty dismissed and misunderstood, and you can bet that over time, they’ll realize they cannot come to you for connection or guidance in the future.

One way to avoid being this archetype is by practicing validation with people. That means, whether you agree with what they’re saying or not, showing that you appreciate or respect their point of view however you can. Often that will sound like, “I can see where you’re coming from with that,” or “I’m sorry you’re feeling [insert their feeling here.” Once you validate someone, considering asking them for more information on their story, so that you can stay in curiosity and heart-centered listening, without making it about you. This is the work of strong leaders.

5. Participating in workplace gossip.

Gossip causes people to view one another differently. Whether you are speaking the truth or not, gossip creates friction between coworkers and leads to a toxic workplace culture. You may think being the “in-the-know” person in the workplace is going to get you ahead, but the truth is that gossip causes cynical behavior among employees and harms your value at work creating decreased trust. In fact, the person talking smack always looks worse than the person they’re speaking about.

Instead of engaging in the gossip, work on removing it. Be the example, and change the topic when gossip enters the room. If they circle back around to gossiping, you can nod your head through kind listening, and validate them with “I’m sorry you feel that way,” and change the subject. If they keep coming to you with gossip, consider setting a boundary that it doesn’t feel right for you to speak about colleagues in this way. Chances are that your colleague won’t like being the recipient of this conversation, but their discomfort with your boundary is truly not your responsibility, so long as you deliver it as kindly as possible.

6. Dressing inappropriately.

If you want to appear credible, you must not only fit the part on paper, but in how you dress. Back when I worked in counterterrorism in my early 20s, I’ll never forget a roommate I had who’d leave the house looking like she was going to a nightclub, except she wasn’t… she was off to work in the U.S. Senate! She was stuck without growth in the same role for years, and looking back, her clothing choices are a realistic reason as to why her career was stagnant. If you want to get ahead, what you wear matters more than you think. People perceive you differently based on what you wear, and studies have also have found that wearing formal attire makes your abstract thinking capabilities increase, making you more adept in your role.

There are a handful of fashion do’s and don’t I share when it comes to workplace attire, but a great rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the one you have. And if you have to ask yourself if an outfit or accessory is appropriate for work, it likely isn’t. Keep the club-inspired trendy attire for the weekends and be the credible professional you want to be viewed as.

Don’t let these habits wreak havoc on your career credibility. Take responsibility for your actions, thoughts, and words. At the end of the day, you’re the one that makes yourself credible.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you’re excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Publishing, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.

Source: 6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Credibility And Your Career

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Break The Psychological Barriers Holding Back Your Career

athlete running in red smoke

We tend to find reasons to blame others when our careers are not moving forward. Most of the time we don’t look critically at ourselves. It could be attributed to a bad boss, back-stabbing coworkers, bad luck or some sort of discrimination and prejudice.

These things, unfortunately, occur all too often in the workplace. Those are not the only reasons that hold you back. Sometimes you are your own worst enemy and do harm to your career development and advancement.

People have negative thoughts that play on endless loops. We experience feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Many of us have a fear of failure and are scared of the unknown. This prohibits us from taking action and moving forward in our careers.

To become successful, it’s important to counter these bad thoughts and feelings. You need to adopt a positive mindset which motivates you into action. Waiting, wanting and wishing for a miracle to happen is not a realistic plan. What’s required is a burning desire to achieve a desired goal, along with assertive actions.

We have all experienced difficult and and some traumatic events in our younger years. You may be thirty or fifty years old, but still view the world through the eyes of young, afraid kid who was bullied in school. These feelings are real, but you have to find a way to effectively deal with and rise above it. Incessantly reliving bad events from the past will inhibit you from living in the present. The constant negativity will eat-up your energy and restrain you from achieving great things.

To move forward with your career and succeed you must let go of the past. Stop reliving bad memories and quit being the victim. You can’t undo the past but you can build a bright new future. Forgive yourself and others so that you can move on with your life and career with a clean slate. Clear you mind to focus on the present moment and your goals for the future.

You may feel stuck in a rut but don’t know what to do next. Time goes by and you become increasingly frustrated. It’s easy to start getting resentful and angry at your situation. You will promise that a change will be made next week or after the New Year.

Stop saying it and start doing something positive. Take constructive steps to move forward. Keep in mind, an object in motion stays in motion. If you don’t move forward, you are falling behind. It’s too easy to become complacent and take the path of least resistance by staying in a bad situation.

It gets harder to change the longer you remain in a bad work relationship. Acknowledge your  feelings and start taking proactive steps. Devise a plan to change your circumstances. Write down the ideas to keep yourself honest, then take proactive measures every day. Push forward even if you’re tired and don’t want to do it. By cultivating these habits you will build mental and emotional muscle. You will become stronger, more confident and feel better about yourself as you take charge of your life.

We teach our children that if they try hard enough they can become anything they desire. Somehow as we get older, we’re not so sure about this. As grown working adults we doubt our abilities. After some setbacks, we believe that great success is solely for other people and not us. You need to heed your parent’s advice. Use the unique skills, attributes and gifts that you possess and relentlessly build upon them to achieve want you want in your career and life.

To succeed you need to let-go of the past, ignore the negative voices in your head, take bold initiatives and don’t give-in to excuses.

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I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

Source: Break The Psychological Barriers Holding Back Your Career

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New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement And The Long-Lost Lunch Break – Alan Kohll

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Many American employees strive to perform their best in the workplace. They work overtime, agree to take on extra projects and rarely take a step away from their desk. In reality, this “work hard” mentality isn’t effective – and it’s definitely unhealthy. Employees who believe that they must work 24/7 to achieve a good standing in the workplace have the wrong idea. And unfortunately, employees often gain this idea through employers’ attitudes.

Chaining yourself to a desk or scarfing down your lunch in your cubicle isn’t a recipe for success – it’s a recipe for disaster. Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance begin to suffer. Overworked employees often deal with chronic stress that can easily lead to job burnout. While this not only negatively affects employee health and well-being, it negatively affects the bottom line, too.

This is why it’s important that employers start encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the workday – especially lunch breaks. These breaks are essential in helping employees de-stress and re-charge for the rest of the workday. Regular breaks can also help improve overall job satisfaction. A recent survey by Tork shows exactly how important lunch breaks are, along with how rare they are in the North American workplace.

According to the survey:

  • Nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks, while 13% worry their co-workers will judge them.
  • 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take a lunch break.
  • 22% of North American bosses say that employees who take a regular lunch break are less hardworking.

These statistics are really a shame because regular breaks create better employees. In fact, according to the Tork survey, nearly 90% of North American employees claim that taking a lunch breaks helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. There are many research-backed health, wellness and performance benefits of taking breaks. Here are just a few examples of the benefits of regular breaks:

  • Increased productivity. While taking breaks might sound counterintuitive when it comes to boosting productivity, it’s one of the best ways to do so. Employees gain focus and energy after stepping away from their desks. A lunch break can help prevent an unproductive, mid-afternoon slump.
  • Improved mental well-being. Employees need time to recharge. Stress is incredibly common in the North American workplace, and it has detrimental effects on employees. Taking some time away from the desk to go for a quick walk or enjoy a healthy lunch helps release some of this stress and improves mental well-being.
  • Creativity boost. Taking a break can give employees a fresh perspective on challenging projects. It’s hard for employees to develop new ideas or solutions when they’ve been looking at the same thing all day. A lunch break will most certainly help get those creative juices flowing.
  • More time for healthy habits. Regular breaks, including a lunch break, give employees time to practice healthy habits in the workplace. They can use break times to make a healthy lunch, exercise, meditate, or engage in a self-care activity.

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Besides these awesome benefits of regular breaks, the Tork survey also revealed that employees who take a lunch break on a daily basis feel more valued by their employer, and 81% of employees who take a daily lunch break having a strong desire to be an active member in their company.

North American employees who take a lunch break every day scored higher on a range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction, likelihood to continue working at the same company and likelihood to recommend their employer to others.

I recently spoke with Jennifer Deal, the Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership and Affiliated Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at University of Southern California (USC). She had this to say about Tork’s research and employee lunch breaks:

“The Tork research shows that employees who take a lunch break are more likely to be satisfied with their job, and say they are as effective and efficient as they would like to be. This is consistent with other research, which shows that taking breaks from work is important for recovery – and adequate recovery is critical for top performance.

Energy isn’t unlimited, and just as athletes have halftime to rest during a game, employees need to rest so they can do their best work. Taking a break in the middle of the day for lunch is a recovery period, allowing employees to come back refreshed and reinvigorated for the second half – as this research clearly shows.”

Both Tork and Jennifer agree: employers will benefit from employees who take breaks. But how can employers change the mentality that “breaks are for slackers” in the workplace? Below are a few tips for encouraging employees to take breaks at your office:

  • Revamp break rooms. Be sure that the office has at least one break room for employees to retreat to whenever they need some time away from their desks. Provide comfortable furniture along with table and chairs for eating lunch. Employees will be more inclined to take breaks and lunch breaks when they have a comfortable space to do so.
  • Provide incentives. As a part of your workplace wellness program, offer employees some sort of incentive for taking regular breaks and a daily lunch break. Try creating a “break challenge” and have employees document their breaks throughout the day. Reward employees for their participation.
  • Discuss the benefits. Many employees aren’t aware of all the health and productivity benefits of regular breaks. Send out an email blast, put up some flyers or have managers give talks about the importance of taking some time away from the desk.
  • Take breaks yourself. Leading by example is always the best route. When employees see that their managers are taking lunch breaks and taking short breaks throughout the day, they’ll feel more encouraged to take breaks, too.

While the act of encouraging breaks is a huge step in the right direction, it’s also important to ensure that these breaks are healthy. For example, employees could potentially use break time for unhealthy habits such as getting fast food, smoking or scrolling through social media. Spending break time practicing poor health habits won’t yield productivity and wellness benefits.

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Although employers can’t necessarily control how employees utilize their break time, they can certainly encourage healthy habits in the workplace. Here are some healthy break ideas:

  • Walking clubs. Team walking clubs are an excellent way to encourage regular breaks and physical activity. Encourage employees to form walking clubs with their colleagues and take two 10-minute walks each workday.
  • Healthy snacking. Stock company kitchens and break rooms with healthy snacking options like fresh fruit, veggies, hummus, and nuts. Encourage employees to take a midday break and do some healthy snacking together
  • Gym time. If employees really don’t want to leave the workplace for lunch, encourage them to use the gym instead. If you have an onsite gym, allow employees 30-minutes of on-the-clock time to use the facility. If you don’t have an onsite gym, consider bringing in a weekly yoga instructor or providing vouchers for gym memberships.
  • Socialize. Quality work relationships improve both mental and physical health. They help reduce stress and boost job satisfaction. Encourage employees to take breaks together by providing a game room or fun weekly team activities.
  • Quiet time. Sometimes break time is best spent as quiet time. Offer employees a quiet area to retreat to when they need to clear their minds and recharge. Employees can use this space to meditate, read or listen to some relaxing music.

Encouraging employees to take regular breaks throughout the day, including lunch breaks, is an easy way for employers to boost employee wellness along with work performance. Employers don’t want overworked employees running their business – it’s terrible for the bottom line. Help your employees feel refreshed and reduce some stress by allowing them to take regular breaks throughout the workday.

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