Dead man walking! That’s what you are, especially if you have these 20 qualities that will make you fail at work. If you’re feeling the heat and suddenly your panel made cubicle feels like a 6 by 8 jail cell. Or lunch breaks feel like a last meal delivered by a prison warden. Or, you feel that your co-workers are secretly conspiring to have you executed, you need to read on. Your work life doesn’t need to feel like you’re a prisoner on death row. Save yourself from the walk of shame by avoiding these 20 damaging qualities that will make you fail at work.
Robert Steven Kaplan, author of What You’re Really Meant To Do, says that people need to be brutally honest about who they are. In fact, most people have a tendency towards illusory superiority. What does that mean in dummy terms? It means that people have a grave misconception that they are above average in their performance and abilities.
2. Not listening to people who are brutally honest with you.
The truth hurts. Naturally, we have a defense system that protects us from pain, both physically and mentally. So when someone criticizes you, by telling the brutal honest truth, the neurons in your brain are charge to lash out in defense. They may send signals that trigger certain behaviors such as withdrawal: denial, telling offbeat jokes, or lashing out at your boss or co-workers in retaliation. Just understand the criticism can only offend you if you feel that a part of what others are saying is true.
3. Not preparing for criticism.
First, you need to mentally prepare yourself for criticism. Just imagine the worst possible feedback from a colleague or loved one. Then, visualize how you’re going to react. Once you have the scenario rehearsed in your head, ask your boss or supervisor to evaluate your performance. Then, ask how you can improve your performance.
4. Lack of long-term vision.
“I have a theory and I really believe it. I think your worst weakness can become your single greatest strength.” Barbara Corcoran
Barbara Corcoran, renowned real estate agent, investor and momma shark on the hit show Shark Tank, explains that her success stemmed from a series of failures. One of which, was a flower company that she had invested a great deal of money in. Her friends and colleagues eventually convinced her to quit, mainly because she was losing her shirt. Corcoran then took the information from her failed business by turning a $1000 loan into a multimillion dollar real-estate firm. Corcoran understands that your greatest failures can become your greatest successes.
5. Confusing dreams with goals.
Someday is not a day of the week. We have dreams. Sadly, we all don’t craft those dreams into goals. There is nothing more satisfying than dreaming for a better life. However, with each dream, do one little goal to move toward it. For example, if you’re writer, commit to writing a page, or even a sentence each day. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish over a short period of time.
8. Lack of perceived willingness to accept advise or mentorship.
Be honest with yourself. Admit that you have certain limitations and are in need of guidance. So maybe you told a few white lies during your interview. Or maybe you omitted some pertinent information on your resume. You can still save yourself from failing at work by asking for help.
9. Not knowing where to look for help.
Now, it’s easier than ever with Google Help Outs. You can get help from real live experts in real time. You don’t need to travel or pay exorbitant fees. You can also keep your sessions 100 percent private. If you can’t find what you need on Google Help Outs, try doing a Linked-In search. Look for consultants in your field that have a great deal of contacts, referrals, and endorsements.
10. Wasting Time
Stop burying yourself with busy work. Too many people deter their long-term goals for minuscule goals that don’t amount to anything. Do you really need to check your emails every hour? Do you really need to answer the phone when it rings? All of these things burn pertinent energy that is needed for more important things like strategy planning, creativity, and innovation.
11. Not knowing how to prioritize tasks.
Stop allowing yourself to be pulled in 1000 different directions. Instead, create one email for your important contacts and check that. Return phone calls at certain times of the day. And be sure to spend the bulk of your time and energy doing work that is most rewarding and will lead to accomplishing long-term goals.
12. Not understanding your employer’s mission.
Sadly, many of us live in a bubble. In many situations we are hired based on specialized skills that we may have acquired through college or other forms of training. Although your goal may be to be the best consultant, teacher, developer, or executive assistant, you can possibly be. Your employer’s goal is to make money, and lots of it. I happen to believe that the more profitable a company is, the better it treats its employees. So work to contribute to the company’s objectives, goals and overall mission.
13. Not understanding your company’s bottom line.
If you want to stick around for the long haul, I suggest you learn what services or products carry the best profit margins. For example, fast food restaurants make a great deal of money selling soft drinks. So if you’re a cashier, waiter, or waitress, you need to ensure that all customers get charged for their cokes.
14. Not having proper communication skills.
“Truth is the easiest thing to sell.” Daymond John.
Daymond John is a fashion retail mogul who is one of the more laid back sharks on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. He explains that he is just a regular guy. Stricken with dyslexia and resigned to being a lifetime worker at Red Lobster in Hollis Queens, New York. Daymond John didn’t accept his fate. He sold T-shirts and hats on street corners, until he was able to create the iconic label that is known today as FUBU. Now, he is well respected by the most educated people in the industry. He signs multimillion dollar deals, despite his difficulties with reading and writing. What’s his major form of communication? Truth.
15. Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses.
People mistakenly assume that having great communication skills entails being a phenomenal orator or writer. That’s not entirely true. Henry Ford was rumored to have difficulties reading and writing. He was very open about his weaknesses and therefore became one of the best communicators in the world. He communicated ideas and recruited the best and brightest in the industry to join his team. Henry Ford shows us the tremendous power that comes along with owning our weaknesses and turning them into strengths.
16. Having unrealistic assessment of timing.
“Know your business industry better than anyone else. Love what you do, or don’t do it.” Mark Cuban.
Mark Cuban can tell you that success is all about timing. Some people may call it luck; others may call it a coincidence. Whatever you decide to call it. Timing is something that we all must adhere to. It involves synchronicity between your talent and skills and a given opportunity. Good timing can make you or break you. Mark Cuban used his sense of timing to diversify all of his assets right before the housing market bubble burst. While others lost their massive fortunes, Mr. Cuban was able to increase his tenfold, all because he understood the importance of good timing.
17. Becoming comfortable or complacent.
So many people settle, simply because it is the easier thing to do. It’s easy to go on earning bad wages, or taking abuse from a terrible boss. Sadly, very few people understand that when they’re confronted with choices, they need to make the one that challenges them the most. Just understand that if you’re uncomfortable and you’re constantly doing things you don’t want to do, you’re growing. You are also becoming stronger with each courageous step.
18. Allowing arrogance and success to cloud your judgment.
In the words of Mr. Wonderful from ABC’s Shark Tank, “we live in a binary universe and if you’re not making money, you’re losing it.” Kevin O’ Leary doesn’t take too many chances. Instead, he takes tried and true approaches and uses business models that are guaranteed to increase his wealth. He doesn’t have the “I can do anything attitude,” despite his snide remarks and snarky comments on the show. He structures virtually all of his deals the same, because he understands what works, and what doesn’t.
19. Lack of integrity.
No one screams lack of integrity louder than Jordan Belfort. Yes, the Blockbuster movie The Wolf of Wall Street was based on his life. Sadly, Jordan Belfort was successful only on the surface. Beneath it all, he was teeming with guilt that he quelled with Quaaludes and cocaine. So there are a great deal of lessons that need to be learned from Mr. Belfort. Don’t have sex in public bathrooms, do drugs or consume alcohol while working. Most importantly, don’t indulge in lewd or offensive behavior while representing your company. Just understand that Jordan Belfort made millions cheating average people out of their hard-earned money. In the end, he lost everything, his house, his cars, even his family. So what’s the moral of this story? What you take from other people will eventually be taken from you. Be wise and don’t make deals that you won’t accept yourself.
20. Not keeping up with trends and modern technology.
Capitalizing on trends is how a lot of people make their money. No one understands this concept better than Robert Herjavec. Herjavec built several IT companies and sold them to Fortune 500 companies such as At&T and Nokia. Now is known as one of the best business leaders in the world. And is a reoccurring cast member on the show Shark Tank. The secret seems to be to know what’s hot and trending, then to climb on board and ride the wave all the way to the top. Now, it’s easier than ever to identify trends with blog directory sites such as Technorati. You can also find out what’s trending on bookmarking sites such as Digg and Reddit. Don’t forget tried and true approaches of finding hot-topics by searching Twitter using popular hashtags. If all else fails, you can always search on the Trending Topics on Google Plus.
Learn from the cast of Shark Tank on how to avoid the 20 qualities that will make you fail at work.