“Achieving success requires more than just doing the right thing,” says Geoffrey James, contributing editor and award-winning blogger at Inc.com and author of Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. “Success also means changing the behaviors that hold you back.”
Here are nine habits you can avoid at work and do without in 2016:
1. Doing the bare minimum.
If you accept a task, you owe it to yourself and to others to make your best effort. If you don’t want to do something, have the courage to refuse the task. Doing a half-*ssed job is just being passive-aggressive.
2. Telling half-truths.
Honesty is the best policy. However, if you’re afraid to speak the truth, it’s cowardice to tell a half-truth that’s intended to mislead but leaves you “plausible deniability.” Either tell the whole truth or tell a real lie—and accept the consequences if you’re found out.
Few human behaviors are more pointless than fixing blame. In business, it’s usually irrelevant who’s at fault when something goes wrong. What’s important is how to avoid making the same mistakes again.
4. Bucking accountability.
Finger-pointing is common in business because some people aren’t willing to admit their mistakes. If you’re going to take credit for your accomplishments, you must also take credit for your failures. The two go hand in hand.
5. Hating on successful people.
When you direct your hate at success, you’re telling yourself that being successful means being hated. Since nobody in their right mind wants to be hated, you’ll subconsciously sabotage yourself so that people will continue to like you.
Taking a secret pleasure in the failures of others makes your own success less likely. You end up gloating over what other people did wrong, rather than doing whatever it takes to make yourself more successful.
7. Workplace gossip.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” When you spread gossip, you’re identifying yourself as small-minded and also showing that you can’t be trusted to keep secrets.
8. Creating your own stress.
While work may be stressful, you make it worse when you fail to disconnect on a regular basis. Rather than answer yet another email, take a walk, read a book, or listen to some music. Turn off your phone when you go to bed; whatever it is, it can wait.
9. Giving or accepting flattery.
An honest compliment is always welcome, but flattery truly gets you nowhere. When you flatter, everyone knows that you’re brown-nosing. Similarly, when you accept flattery, you’re marking yourself as gullible and self-absorbed.
Geoffrey James is a veteran business journalist who now writes a daily column for Inc.com. His latest book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, won the following praise from Publishers Weekly: “The author’s pithy and frank style matches his title…a quick, impactful primer for anyone wanting to be more effective on the job.”