5 Workplace mistakes to avoid

May 13 2014

By Julia Richardson – We should already know the workplace mistakes to avoid if we consider our manners. Each social situation has its own set of rules, but what about work? We’ve been briefed on how to react in social situations – whether at home with family, friends or acquaintances.

Surprisingly, even the most well-mannered, socially astute people let their guard down at work. Maybe it’s the fact that we spend most of our time there and feel as if work is an extension of family. Or maybe we just don’t spend much time thinking about how manners apply in the workplace. Even so, manners in the workplace are important- especially since we spend most of our days at work.

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Even so, your words and actions at work have consequences. So let’s review 5 things you should never (ever, ever) say or do at work.

  1.  Never, ever gossip.
    This is a simple concept but admittedly difficult. It’s especially difficult when you’re frustrated and you just want to vent. But venting about others can have consequences. In fact, if the gossip qualifies as name-calling or slander, it may even get you fired. Even if no name-calling is involved, you never know how relationships at work evolve and who will be your boss. Gossiping can burn bridges quickly, so you have to learn how to manage it when others do it and refrain from doing it yourself. Gossip is the most important of the workplace mistakes to avoid.
  2. Never, ever make assumptions
    You know what they say about assumptions, right? Just because you assume someone you’ve tasked with a job is going to do it, doesn’t mean they will. Likewise, just because you assume you’re going to get that raise, or you deserve that promotion, doesn’t mean you’ll get either. Instead, follow up with others and ask questions. Use your words and let others know what you want, what your goals are, and what you need (and when.)
  3. Never, ever say that you don’t need your job.
    It may seem like a harmless statement and one that you use for yourself other than for bragging rights, but it still makes you look arrogant. Another variation of this is, “I don’t need the money.” If you don’t need the money or the job, then maybe you should quit. Especially if you are unhappy enough that you feel the need to share. Otherwise, reserve those statements for your non-work friends and family. There are better ways to deal with not liking your job than proclaiming it’s not essential. This ranks high as one of the workplace mistakes to avoid.
  4. Never, ever claim to know it all.No one likes a know-it-all.
    In the workplace, as well as in other settings, humility is key to survival. You want to be assertive and claim responsibility for tasks, but let your actions speak for you. There’s no reason to boast or demean others by telling them your unsolicited thoughts. If you know an office know it all, here are some tips on how to deal.
  5. Never, ever blame others for your mistakes or take credit for someone else.
    One of the most career sabotaging things you can do is to constantly blame others for your mistakes or to constantly take credit for other people’s work. Why? Because this workplace mistake shows you lack respect for your coworkers and, in the end, your workplace as a whole. If those around you feel devalued and don’t trust you at work, you’re in trouble in the long run. We want to learn from our mistakes. This gives credibility and shows perseverance. So take credit for those mistakes.

While these five things do not cover everything, they’re a good start. If any of these apply to you, take note. Your career may depend on it.

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