The new year is a perfect time to say “hello” to workplace happiness and “good-bye” to the bad habits that make you miserable and hinder your professional success.
You’ll enjoy your time in the office a little more—and improve your professional reputation—if you make it your New Year’s resolution to cut down on these 11 counterproductive behaviours:
1. Excessive complaining
Enough already. Constant whining about insignificant things (“It’s horribly unfair that Department X got a casual day and we didn’t!”) doesn’t serve a purpose and keeps you in a perpetually bad mood. Plus, happy people will avoid you.
Ditto for gossiping. The next time a colleague tries to engage you in the office drama du jour, offer a one-word response, like “interesting” or “wow,” and follow it with, “I’ve got to go. See you later.” Repeat as necessary.
3. Heartlessly criticizing others
Credit: Good Therapy
Sometimes you must criticize a colleague’s or subordinate’s performance. But have a heart when giving feedback. If possible, mention a few positives for every negative, and try to be constructive rather than cruel.
4. Beating yourself up
So you made a mistake, or your brilliant idea actually turned out to be a bad one. No one is perfect. Own up to your mistake, or take responsibility for your failure. Then move on.
5. Taking yourself too seriously
C’mon, lighten up. Admittedly, this may be tough for overworked employees in a difficult labour market. But that is precisely the reason to flash those pearly whites and crack a joke now and then (even of the “gallows humour” variety): Everyone benefits when the tension is brought down a notch, even for just a minute.
Are you content to be bored at work? Do you want your boss to consider you uninspired? Probably not. So make it a resolution to learn something new or try something different.
7. Isolating yourself
In today’s topsy-turvy job market, professional networking is more important than ever. So this year, don’t hole up in your cubicle. Get out there and meet some new folks—both inside and outside the company—who share your profession or work in your field.
8. Blending into the woodwork
Even if you’ve always had a hard time speaking up in meetings or expressing your opinion to your boss, it’s never too late to start putting in your two cents. Pick one work-related issue that is close to your heart and that you’re knowledgeable about. Contribute a few comments on this issue during a meeting—you may be surprised at how seriously people take the input of someone who speaks sparingly!
9. Blabbing unnecessarily
Stating your mind is important, but don’t just talk to hear your own voice in meetings, either. Speak up only if you’re adding something of value to the discussion.
10. Burning bridges
Don’t assume that colleagues, customers and others who cross your professional path will forgive and forget when you do them wrong. So make it one of your resolutions to stay on good terms with your professional acquaintances. Yes, it’s sometimes hard, but oh-so-worth-it in the long run.
11. Wasting time via social media
Wasting time at work is as old as work itself. But a particularly timely pet peeve of many bosses is the overuse and/or misuse of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media. Alas, this final resolution—to curb your social media addiction—may not make you happier at work in the short term, but it will protect you professionally in the long term.
By Megan Malugani
This article first appeared in Monster.