One study conducted by VitalSmarts (a corporate training and leadership development firm) discovered that 97% of us have at least one career-limiting habit, something that keeps us from greater success or enjoyment in our career.
Unfortunately although most of us have been aware of this deficiency for years, few successfully overcome it.
Here are a few new ways to think about the real causes behind some of the most common career-limiting habits, reported by Joseph Grenny (bestselling author, keynote speaker, and social scientist).
Reliable people allow bosses to dismiss a task from their minds because they know it will get done. But many of us fail to meet that 100% mark, so our bosses still carry psychological ownership of the assignment.
Cause: people who don’t keep promises usually have a difficult time saying no. They’d rather disappoint you later than invite your disapproval now.
Cure: learning to say no is essential to becoming more reliable.
1) Break eye contact. If someone is pressuring you to make a commitment, slow down the process and break off eye contact.
2) Pause the action. Have a script you can use to delay responding, such as “I’d really like to help. Let me look at what I’m already signed up to do and get back to you by the end of the day. Will that work?”.
3) Count before you speak. Remember all the other requests you’ve said yes to. Saying no doesn’t mean you’re letting people down; it means you’re delivering on your other promises.
Technology has made it incredibly easy to do immediate-but-unimportant stuff at the expense of anxiety-provoking- but-important stuff. We have texts, voicemail, e-mail, and lots of busyness which can create the illusion of productivity.
Cause: procrastination is almost always about fear of failure. Almost always, there are unexamined and exaggerated expectations associated with our tendency to procrastinate on certain tasks.
Cure: your motivation is malleable so invest in it, nurture it, learn about it. Find ways to structure your involvement in tasks that heightens and extends your motivation.
1) Break it into chunks. Break a large undesirable task into small parts and allow yourself a celebratory pause after completing each one.
2) Make it social. Involving colleagues can change your ex- perience. Their interest and excitement can be contagious and spur you to finish the task.
3) Stop early.
Most people believe that bosses are fundamentally selfish jerks. They tend to attribute drive and temper to a lack of concern for others.
Cause: there’s nothing wrong with giving appropriate attention to your goals or position. What’s wrong is investing too little in noticing the goals and opinions of others.
Cure: small actions can yield big results. If you struggle with empathy, patience, and selflessness, pay attention to your body language when you’re in tense situations.
1) Maintain eye contact. One of the most effective ways to humanize someone is to look him or her in the eye.
2) Get curious. Interrupt your sense of urgency about proving your point. Ask sincere, curious questions that will help you learn why others think what they think.
3) Reframe. The goal is only to understand them, not to agree with them.
If you learn to think more carefully about the causes of your behavior, you’ll be far more successful at changing it.
Adapted from Joseph Grenny, Almost All Managers Have at Least One Career-Limiting Habit, HBR OnPoint, SPRING 2018