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Bad work habits that impact the way your boss perceives you

When your working relationship with your boss is challenging, it’s easy to lay the blame at their feet. Perhaps you have judged them to be ineffective, unethical, power-hungry, a bully, a narcissist, a perfectionist, a micro-managing control freak, or some other not so lovely adjective that defines how you see them.

They may be all that and more, or perhaps there’s more to it. It’s almost impossible to assess a situation accurately if you aren’t willing to challenge yourself and evaluate whether you are bringing your best self to work every day.

Here are seven bad habits that could be impacting your performance:

Are you firing on all cylinders?

Downtime and holidays are essential for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s the chance to reconnect with friends and family, and to reflect on life, where you are going and what you want to do next.

If you frequently burn the candle at both ends — working late, taking work home and always working weekends — you will eventually burn out. When you aren’t in good shape, your work suffers, as does your ability to handle stressful situations.

Are you getting enough sleep?

When your brain is tired, you tend to take the path of least resistance, letting past expectations and assumptions drive your thoughts and actions, and you’ll decide the way you’ve always decided.

When you are rested, you’ll be far better equipped to deal with work pressures, manage a heavy workload and make well-reasoned decisions.

Are you a meeting junkie?

When you rush from meeting to meeting or event to event, you can get to the end of the working day exhausted yet having achieved little on your to-do list.

It’s essential to structure your day so you get the most important things done first. Allow time for regular breaks, during which you get away from your desk for at least 30 minutes. As well, having daily intentions and a prioritised work schedule helps you stay on track, better enabling you to meet the commitments you’ve made to your boss.

Are you always late?

When you keep people waiting you are effectively saying, ‘my time is more important than yours’, unconsciously implying that you regard yourself as more important.

When you miss deadlines, you show yourself to be unreliable and difficult to work with. A regular pattern of tardiness does nothing to enhance your reputation. You’ll be known as the person who continually misses deadlines, and you’ll be letting your colleagues down.

Are you setting the bar too high?

We are often told we need to set goals, but not just any goals — BIG GOALS. Yet research shows that setting goals that are too high and too hard inhibits progress. You are far more likely to progress when you break projects and activities down into bite-size, manageable chunks.

It’s great to be ambitious and set stretch targets, but what’s more important to a boss is reliability and consistently good performance.

Do you avoid saying ‘no’?

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are drowning in work and yet are unappreciated as more and more work comes your way. It’s easy to say ‘yes’ when a request comes in, yet there will be times when you need to say ‘no’.

It helps to set realistic boundaries around what you will and won’t do, and how you will respond to requests outside standard working hours. If you don’t set limits that you are comfortable with, you’ll ultimately end up resenting your boss.

Are you the office energy thief?

An energy thief saps you of energy, drains your focus, wastes your time and can throw you off track.

Energy thieves focus on their needs, showing little or no interest in those of other people. They continuously focus on the negative, seeking to drag others down with them. They expect people to do things for them, demanding attention and support, yet are not prepared to offer the same support to others.

Being seen as political, a gossip or an energy thief will do nothing to endear you to your boss.

Having poor work habits impacts productivity, working relationships and your reputation, as well as ultimately affecting how your boss treats you. If you want success, then you have to be honest with yourself, especially when it comes to your performance and behaviour.

Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert, working with global leaders to build workplaces where leaders and employees thrive and great things happen. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’, ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’ and the new book ‘Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one’. Find out more at michellegibbings.com.

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