SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
There is a great quote by Julius Irving that went, “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”
You may not realize it, but you could be engaging in workplace habits that make you look unprofessional. While many of these habits violate the basic rules of common decency and respect, sometimes you do need a reminder of how to behave at work. And since your co-workers are not going to speak up, I am going to give you a list of what you could be doing all wrong that makes you look unprofessional.
Late, late, late again
“It’s only human to be late sometimes, but some humans are late most of the time.” Many times, if you ask employers what irritates them most about some of their employees, most of them are going to tell you that it is their tardiness. Being chronically late will not only make you look unprofessional but also has a very negative impact on your career. According to Chrissy Scivicque, a career coach and corporate trainer, people who are late are perceived as selfish, disrespectful, unreliable and disorganized. Most of people really hate being late and have tried many times to fix it, therefore, I am going to give you a few tips on how to better manage your time and never be late again.
Never plan to be on time. Late people always aim to arrive at the event at the exact minute. You should plan to be everywhere 15 minutes early.
Utilize the 15 minutes of wait. You can bring a magazine, play a game on your android or call a friend you haven’t spoke to in a while during the time you wait.
Set two alarms. Set one alarm that lets you know it is time to stop doing whatever you’re doing, and a second alarm that means you need to walking out the door. Obey the alarms.
If you have serious problem with running late all the time, read this step-by-step instruction on How to Stop Running Late by WikiHow.
Whether you’re in a formal environment of suits and high heels, or a laid back jeans and polo workspace, it is always wise to meet the required standards of your company culture. Many offices do not have an official dress code, if you do not know what is appropriate to wear to work, look around and observe other employees during your interview. If you are still unsure, it is always a good idea to ask HR about policy surrounding proper fashion. For more information, read this very helpful article 8 Rules for Dressing Appropriately at the Office provided by Mental Floss.
Being on Facebook all the time
With the prevalence of social media, it is getting harder and harder to separate our personal and professional lives. Being on Facebook every time your boss walks by looks really bad, it could even get you fired if you post the wrong kind of information about your boss or colleagues. Read here to learn about how these 17 people who were fired for using Facebook, by Business Insider.
We are all human. We are mammals. We notice alluring members of whatever gender we are biologically predisposed to be attracted to. Yet that same humanity also means we should have the self-control to keep the “up-and-down look” under control.
People hate accepting responsibility when something goes wrong. We avoid blame even when it is justified, and we are quick to pin it on others whenever we can. If you work in a place where people play the blame game like it’s professional dodgeball, morale is bound to be low and it is definitely not what the managers would like to see. You should make sure you completely understand your role and responsibilities when you’re given a new assignment. And when things go wrong, admit it and take the blame. Of course you feel bad for messing things up, but you’re not only doing the right thing by owning up to your mistakes; you will also end up gaining respect from your boss and colleagues.
Spreading rumors, badmouthing, backstabbing
It is fun to make friends at work and spend time socializing with them, especially if you have a lot in common and plenty to talk about. However, you should draw certain lines between your professional and private lives. After two drinks at happy hour, it might seem like a good idea to tell Tom from marketing that your boss is incompetent. But if he spends the next morning telling your boss you’re disloyal and makes a play for your job, you will learn a painful lesson. In one recent study, the facts were somewhat alarming:
21% regularly gossip at work
15% occasionally gossip
86% gossip regarding corporate challenges
Each gossip session averages 15 minutes.
It is difficult to control workplace gossip, but you can control your reaction to it. Don’t get drawn into the drama. If you have to say some things about your coworkers, make it a point to say positive things. If you want to learn more about ways to deal with coworkers who gossip, read this article published by Joshua Miller.
This habit can seriously hurt you in a work setting and sabotage your career. If you believe that you do your best work at the last minute and put off projects or assignments until the day before they’re due, it is most likely that your last-minute rush requires others to work quickly. This is going to seriously hurt your relationship with your co-workers and you will be the first one to be blamed when a project fails or is not complete on time. Learn how to stop procrastinating with 11 simple steps by WikiHow.
Constant complaining in the workplace is toxic. It can drain the happiness, motivation, creativity and fun from a whole company. When people complain, they focus only on what’s wrong. The more you complain, the easier it gets. In the end, everything is bad, every situation is a problem, every co-worker is a jerk and nothing is good. The more you focus on the negative, the harder it gets to switch into a positive mindset. When it becomes a habit, people would not want to be associated with you because they do not have a lot of gain from being partnered with a seasoned complainer. Do you want to understand why complaining if killing your reputation at work? Here is an article by Forbes that can help.
Lack of manners
The most important things we learned when we were little are manners. When you ask for something, say “Please.” When someone gives you something, say “thank you.” If you do not know someone, introduce yourself. If you need to interrupt someone, say “excuse me”. Manners are important, and they can take you very far at your workplace, so do not be rude. To learn more about office etiquette, check out the list of tips to overcome bad manners at work by Forbes.
Last but not least, failing to report unprofessional behavior to a supervisor
Since grade school, authority figures have embedded in our minds the key differences between tattling on someone and telling someone information they need to know. Little did we know these definitions would be essential terms that would carry over into the workplace. So what’s the difference?
Tattling: ratting out a coworker so you look better; always mentioning every single time they slack off or make a personal call at work.
Telling: expressing your discomfort or concern about when you witness something that could hurt the company’s reputation.
Many people believe telling makes others see you as having loose lips and being untrustworthy. But the truth is, with enough cause, people will support you and intervene to help you resolve the situation in order to protect the company. When you approach your boss about another employee’s unprofessional behavior, do not dump a bunch of accusations. Instead, share your concerns and ask for advice on how to handle the situation. Chances are, your boss will take matters into their own hands.