We are obviously in unusual times and eventually our lives regarding work will return to some type of new normal. Working from home has given us greater freedom and some companies have reported an increase in productive from their “at home” staff. Regardless of where we are working from, there are still things that can destroy your career.
When I was in an officer in the Navy, we had an understood practice in the wardroom that we never spoke about politics, religion, women (there were none on our ship at the time) and work. As a junior officer in the wardroom I also came to learn there are mistakes that can destroy your reputation and career in the military. I am assuming these lessons can apply to any person in any industry in any position.
Negativity is cancerous and it can spread like wildfire. You are in your job to make other people’s jobs easier and negativity can affect everything from communication, productivity, and retention of employees. It creates mistrust, effects moral and a loss of interest in your work. Employees are less willing to share ideas and working together towards a common goal. Giving recognition, an opportunity to express their opinions and providing appropriate leadership will let people feel that they are part of something bigger and they understand the contribution and the results their work provides.
Not Embracing Change
“We’ve always done it that way” is a dangerous mantra to follow as the world is ever changing, which impacts every business in every industry. Change is a constant in our lives and successful employees are the ones who can adapt to change quickly and easily. Understanding your purpose, or as some well-known speakers phrase it as your “WHY”, allows you to be better prepared for change that aligns with your intention. If you work for a company or yourself, the industry you are in will continue to move forward with or without you. It is imperative to recognize the changes and how you can best apply yourself. We all adjust to changes in technology and how we engage with it and there is no reason we cannot do the same in our jobs.
Pretending you know everything
The most know examples are the Dunning-Kruger effect and the Imposter Syndrome. Dunning-Kruger is described as “the psychological phenomenon of those with little ability in an area, grossly overestimating their competence”. The imposter Syndrome describes the “underestimation of an experts view or mastery of a given topic”. It is my belief that most people who present traits as described above, are not being malicious, but instead are trying to do their best. And, in all our careers, me included, we may have at one time may show mild attributes of Dunning-Kruger or the Imposter Syndrome. It is vital to clearly understand the scope and requirements of any project before making a commitment you cannot keep. It is essential to have detailed conversations about a project, maintain open communication with all parties involved, monitor progress, and adjust timeframes as needed. If you make a mistake, apologize, take ownership and responsibility to fix the issue. Your reputation will remain intact if not improved.
“The ego considers social realities and norms, etiquette and rules in deciding how to behave”. Sigmund Freud.
Individuals with huge egos require recognition, are always right, lack empathy and have an exaggerated view of their own abilities and worth. An enormous ego will trigger the same harmful effects as being negative. Repairing your own ego begins with personal reflection and self-realization by proactively addressing the characteristics associated with big egos. Try compromising with others by deciding what is important to you versus just trying to be right. Welcoming a different perspective allows one to learn and to better understand others. Take a genuine interest in others by actively listening and engaging in conversations about them, asking questions and paying a compliment. I try to remember two sayings when I’m meeting with people; “You have one mouth and two ears, which means you should listen twice as much as you talk” and “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
There are numerous other matters that can derail your career: dishonesty, distrust, rudeness, insults, inappropriate comments and jokes just to name a few. When we finally all do get together in some form with our associates, it is essential to consider that there are some common rules of decency, respect and beliefs that should be observed and preserved regardless of what has transpired.
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