5 Seemingly Innocent Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Reputation at Work
Looking to grow in your career? (Of course, you are.) We know you’re putting your best foot forward each day, taking on extra work, asking for help, and being communicative — but make sure you’re not undermining all your hard work with silly, preventable slip-ups. Communication expert Stacey Hanke clued us in on the seemingly innocent mistakes that might ruin your rep or cost you a job. Scroll down for her top tips.
1. Misbehaving in Meetings: No matter if your day is back-to-back conferences or you just connect with colleagues occasionally, good meeting etiquette can make or break your reputation, Hanke says. The most common meeting mistakes she sees? Being late, interrupting other participants, and getting too far off track.
“Do whatever you can to avoid running late, because it can negatively impact the perceptions others have of you,” Hanke advises. “If you are late, enter the meeting with grace. Always allow people to finish talking before you speak, and plan ahead to make sure you’re prepared for the conversation. The more you plan, the more control you have.”
2. Texting Troubles: There’s nothing wrong with texting professionally. In fact, it can be an efficient way to communicate when you’re headed to a meeting, to exchange contact info after an event, or quickly catch up with your teammates. But Hanke warns that spelling mistakes, oversharing, or texting when you should be focused on what’s happening can reflect poorly on you.
Ready to rescue your reputation? “Double check your spelling and keep it short — no more than two sentences,” Hanke says. “Pay attention too. No matter how effective you think you are when it comes to talking and texting at the same time, sending messages during a meeting or conversation is rude. Trying to hide it won’t fool anyone!”
3. Keeping Your Head Down: This is another phone no-no: Don’t wander around your office space with your head buried. “Don’t walk and talk or text; we’ve all seen the funny videos of people who walk into objects because they were paying more attention to their phone,” Hanke reminds. “Your coworkers don’t want to be your next victim.”
Keeping your eyes up brings additional benefits as well — you can easily establish eye contact and connect with your coworkers. “It’s easier to build positive influence by saying hello,” Hanke says.
4. Forgetting Your Workplace Manners: “Someone is always watching in work environments: it could be a camera overhead or a person sitting nearby,” Hanke says. “All you need to do is stay present and connected.”
Keep things positive and make your work environment work for you by keeping things professional. Check your baggage at the door and ditch the gossip; behave in ways you’d be publicly proud of in private. “Your office isn’t the place to pick your teeth or nose; your car isn’t a place to do your makeup. Handle your personal matters before you get to work, or head to the restroom if you have to. Work to have strong posture and a confident stride,” she said. It all matters!
5. Losing Sight of Your Personal Life: Working around the clock might seem like it’s a great way to show you’re dedicated, but this unhealthy approach can totally backfire. To avoid earning a reputation as a person who doesn’t have boundaries, Hanke advises avoiding after-hours work. “When you respond to messages after hours, you communicate that you’re always available,” she notes.
If you manage others, boundaries become even more important. “Try to save your communication for others for the next day so your employees have time to decompress without worry or fear,” Hanke adds. We agree! Showing respect will help earn the reputation you’re looking for.
How do you fix mistakes or a bad reputation? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)