A colleague told me that she had to fire one of her employees because he hadn’t shown any initiative in her fast-paced, creative work environment.
I thought for a second and responded that he had committed one of the Workers’ Seven Deadly Sins — the work traits that cause employees to be ignored, not promoted, or even fired.
In today’s workplace, you want to be seen as a valuable and vital employee. You want to become someone with whom others want to work.
Ask yourself if you exhibit any of the following traits, and resolve to eliminate them if you do.
1. Not showing initiative. Do you try new and possibly better ways to accomplish your work? Be proactive. Is your employer gaining anything extra from you? As my colleague’s employee found out, most employers want you to go above and beyond the basic requirements.
2. Not paying attention to details. Are there mistakes in your work? Do you notice the little things, proofread your writings, and double-check any numbers? There can be consequences if you don’t. One engineer wrote the wrong house number on a work order, and his employees ripped up the wrong driveway.
3. Not conveying enthusiasm for your job. Show interest in your work. Be eager to get the job done. Arrive on time, or early. Stay late when necessary. Avoid downbeat topics and stop complaining. Don’t criticize your employer, boss or co-workers on your social-media sites. If you are unhappy with your position, take action to change it — whether by talking to your boss, moving to a different department, or taking a position with a different company. The job market has improved, and according to a recent MarketWatch article, job openings are at a 14-year high.
4. Not staying current with changes in your profession. You don’t want to be left behind. Continue learning. Stay abreast of any trends in your field. Take advantage of any training your company offers. Stay up-to-date with technology, including social media.
5. Not offering to help. You need to do your work, but whenever possible you also should offer to help others. You come across as a team player when you do — somebody others want to work with. Plus, you learn new skills and meet new people. Added benefits!
6. Not having a professional demeanor. You want to convey a confident and credible image. Be aware of your verbal and nonverbal communication. Are you speaking too softly or too loudly? Are you dressing appropriately for your position? Do you use filler words (“okay,” “all right,” “like”) that take away from your comments? Additional information on professional presence can be found in my book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat and Tweet Your Way to Success.
7. Not connecting with others. People don’t like to work with colleagues who ignore them. Be friendly. Smile. Make an effort to say “hello,” “good morning,” and so on, not only to people you know, but also to those you don’t know. Engage in a little small talk with others.
Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on career development, business etiquette and communication skills. For additional information, please contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or joyce@ .