Most of us are talented at excusing personal habits as trivial idiosyncrasies or minor infractions. Yet, they can come together to form a clear picture of who we are in the eyes of others.
Here are nine habits, among many others, that we can easily overlook or ignore. However, if we do, they can cause us unnecessary trouble, both personally and professionally:
1. Winging It
What is it? It’s assuming we’re so smart or experienced that we don’t need to prepare for a presentation. It starts out innocently. We run out of time and decide to “wing it.” Before long, it’s a habit. By then, we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re getting by with it. Don’t kid yourself. Everyone knows — customers, prospects, co-workers, and the boss.
2. Thinking We’re Indispensable
“Which of us can resist the temptation of being thought indispensable,” wrote Margaret Attwood. When leaving to take a new job, some want to think they’re leaving a hole that can’t be filled. But, as Dene Ward notes in Medium’s The Ascent, “The reality is that every organization can survive a departure, unless you are a sole proprietor!”
(Related: Checking Out the CEO Before Taking a Job)
It’s much better to leave a legacy of quality performance and training a capable replacement.
3. Missing Deadlines
No matter the task or assignment or how much pressure is put on some people, they’re still late, even though they may be bright, capable workers. Missing deadlines can a form of job protest, like slowing down a production line. A better way is to establish credibility by being on time and then speaking up. Others are more likely to listen.
4. Saying Yes But No Intention of Doing It
It’s a good way to get off the hook for the moment, but it comes back to bite us. In the workplace, it’s called task avoidance. Yet, it doesn’t solve a problem, it only delays facing it, creating doubt and undermining personal trust. Even though it may be stressful, many people repeat it throughout their work lives.