Mr. X was a marketing executive on the high road to success. His outgoing personality and inherent intelligence won him a spot in his supervisor’s core team fairly early on in his career. But soon people began to notice that Mr. X was finding more problems with others’ ideas than bringing ideas of his own to every brainstorming session. When the time came for his boss to promote someone from the team to the next level, guess who DIDN’T make the cut? Mr. X, of course. Miffed, Mr.X demanded to know the reason for being overlooked for a promotion he thought he clearly deserved. His boss’s answer left him stumped. “X,” he said, “you are great at identifying problems. But what I am looking for is someone who can solve problems. So, unless you can work on the attitude, you are going to have to stay where you are.”
The rather long story above may be a figment of my imagination, but it’s not too far from the truth, which is that attitude, behavior, and work ethics play an important role in your professional success.
According to this CIO article, Why Your Negative Outlook is Killing Your Career, only 25% of job success stems from intelligence and technical skills. The article goes on to state that a growing body of scientific research reveals an indisputable connection between a positive mental attitude and career success.
Do you also feel your career is not progressing the way it should? Are you often overlooked for promotions, new opportunities, or additional responsibilities at work? If yes, it’s time for introspection.
Your attitude might be holding your career back!
Here are 5 behavioral traits that might be killing your career (slowly but surely):
- Focusing on the negatives
We just established the importance of a positive attitude for professional success. Think back to all the times you had a one-on-one with your boss. Did you focus too much on the negatives? Were you constantly whining about “low salary” or “long working hours” or “too much/too little travel?” What about when you are working with the team on a project? Do you complain too much about the client, the amount of work, your boss and such? If yes, you need to understand that your negative attitude won’t go unnoticed by people and you’ll soon corner yourself into becoming a professional pain-in-the-back who no one wants to work with.
- Taking it easy
We have all been there. There comes a time in every job where you may get complacent and start taking things easy. Slacking off on your work is, more than anything, an attitude problem. You get too comfortable, you stop learning and growing, and in worst case scenarios, you start underperforming. You behave this way because you think you have become indispensable to the company. Well, guess what? No one is indispensable and you may pay a heavy price to learn that.
- Unprofessional behavior
So, you like to indulge in some harmless gossip by the coffee machine — who doesn’t? Just to make it clear, there is no such thing as harmless gossip and gossiping at the workplace is as poor a work ethic as any. So are bullying your co-workers or being rude to them. You may have worked in a place for 25 years or be in a position of authority despite being fairly young – it does not give you the right to be rude to people or bully them.
- Low morals
“It’s a jungle out there.” “Survival of the fittest.” “Winning the rat race.” Who hasn’t heard these cliches? Unfortunately, some of us tend to take these cliches way too seriously and indulge in morally corrupt behavior to get ahead. Hasn’t happened to you? Never taken credit for work done by someone else? Never bad mouthed a co-worker in the running for a promotion along with you? Never inflated your work hours? Never misrepresented your sales numbers? There you are. Doesn’t sound so outrageous now, does it? But the bad news is that this kind of behavior, when it comes to light, can pretty much put the lights off on your career.
- Being too goody-goody
There’s a difference between being flexible and being a doormat. Being too nice or agreeable usually stems from the need to please others, but it can leave your career stranded. You may be perceived as someone who cannot stand up for what you believe in; take unpopular decisions; or use authority when needed. So, say goodbye to promotions if you can’t want to drop the Mr. Nice act.
To quote from the CIO article once again, the good news is that we can improve our outlook and our happiness by engaging in certain habits that promote positivity. High time we made sure we learnt some of these habits, don’t you think?
For more career advice and tips, visit Career Step. The online career training school offers a range of career-related blogs and articles on its website that you could read to get a better understanding of how things work and what’s required of you in the professional world.