Signs of a Poor Attitude at Work

Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on August 6, 2014

There are attitudes that say loudly: “this job doesn’t matter to me,” “I’m not interested in what I’m doing,” or, even worse, “I’m not good at doing it.” These attitudes have a negative impact on our careers and our interpersonal relationships and take all the brilliance away from our personal brand. Here are some examples of these poor attitudes.

  1. Not apologizing for errors, and even looking for excuses to cover them up. It’s so common and so irritating when people don’t take responsibility for their actions, invent all types of reasons to justify them, or, even worse, blame others for their mistakes.
  2. Not treating the boss well or even disparaging him for no particular reason. The ideal boss doesn’t exist, and, more importantly, our effort and commitment to helping him be successful in his role are clear indications of maturity and professionalism. We should not confuse respect for authority with obsequiousness.
  3. Not making deadlines or honoring commitments assumed. This is a very negative sign, especially when it happens frequently. It communicates ineptitude, lack of dedication, and little respect for other people and the job itself. Taking longer than 24 or 48 hours to respond to calls or e-mails is also a sign of poor organization and a lack of consideration for others.
  4. Leaving everything for the last minute. This generates unnecessary stress on everyone and compromises the quality of the results. It’s typical of people who are inefficient, disorganized, or careless and also fail to report advances or delays in their projects on time. These are obviously not the ideal attitudes for people that you’re looking to promote or recommend for positions with more responsibility.
  5. Not being grateful or not taking the time to acknowledge and validate the efforts of others. This shows a lack of consideration and indifference to other people’s work, with a negative effect on relationships. Timely thanks and frequent recognition motivate and inspire everyone to work with greater satisfaction and commitment.
  6. Not fully completing assignments or tasks. Being informal, not focusing on delivering quality work that is 100 percent ready, or being known for submitting incomplete, mediocre, or superficial work takes all reliability and competitiveness away from our personal brand.
  7. Being the negative person in the group. Always complaining about everything, making yourself the victim, or speaking badly of others makes us unpopular, since no one wants to work with that kind of person. A sour face or permanent frown signals unhappiness, lack of success, or even some aggressiveness.
  8. Not participating in the office’s social events shows indifference and little team spirit, and the same is true when one shows no interest in the personal lives of others. Jon Gordon, author of the book “The Carpenter” (Wiley 2014), recommends doing so regularly –but genuinely– to avoid being labeled as stuck-up or arrogant.
  9. Not paying attention in meetings or not participating actively in them because you’re answering e-mail or sending text or WhatsApp messages. Not only is it a sign of disinterest in the job and in the other people present, but it also indicates poor manners. Paying attention and participating actively, as well as being polite, are fundamental aspects for success in our careers and our personal brands.

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