Building a good reputation at work can take weeks or even months. However, one innocent mistake can ruin it. This is why, no matter how innocent it seems, you need to be conscious of the little things you do or say. There’s a lot that goes into keeping a job besides your intelligence and wits.
If this were the case, then every smart person could easily breeze into a meeting late or talk the boss down, and still have their job secured. However, we live in a reality where there’s a lot more required than “hard skills” to secure a job.
Research conducted by Harvard University shows that “85% of job success comes from having well‐developed soft and people skills. In the same way, 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge, known as “hard skills”. Hard skills get you the job, while soft skills ensure you keep it.
Therefore, you need to ensure you keep your job by taking note of these mistakes that could ruin your reputation at work. They may seem innocent but could go a long way in ruining your chances at securing your job. Given all it takes to actually get a job, you probably don’t want to join the job hunt anytime soon. Take note of these mistakes and the fixes to ensure nothing goes amiss in your job security.
Five innocent mistakes that could ruin your reputation at work
1. Your appearance
Looking your best at all times says a lot about you, and vice-versa does likewise. When you dress like you just rolled out of bed, you send out a message that you don’t care about your job. Even if your salary is your source of daily manna, and you find a sense of ‘fulfilment’ from working, you lose out by sending a wrong message. People can easily judge you from a dishevelled appearance.
Therefore, try your best not to look less than your best. Or at least be presentable enough to pass security without getting a bewildered look. Your goal isn’t the front page cover of a magazine It’s to gain the respect you deserve.
2. Being tardy
Being the best dressed at work wouldn’t earn you the best staff of the month if you are never punctual. There is no excuse for tardiness as your grasp on punctuality can either make or break your reputation.
Communication expert Stacey Hanke advises, “Do whatever you can to avoid running late because it can negatively impact the perceptions others have of you. 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.”
3. Keeping your head low
There are a number of reasons you could be caught with your head low, one of which is to type on your phone. This could seem slightly innocent and harmless, but imagine walking into a colleague or a wall. That’s your reputation down the drain!
“Don’t walk and talk or text. We’ve all seen funny videos of people who walk into objects because they were paying more attention to their phone,” Hanke says. “Your coworkers don’t want to be your next victim.”
4. Cry baby
So we all need a good cry every now and then. It’s a therapeutic way to ease stress and purge emotions. However, you need to be certain where you do the purge. We suggest you go to a secluded corner like the restroom to cry, and not in front of your colleagues. Crying or yelling in front of them is considered unprofessional. Avoid it at all cost.
Also, improve on your Emotional Intelligence to help you understand how you feel and why you feel the way you do.
5. Taking your baggage to work
It’s easy to get carried away by complaining or gossiping. Coming to work and complaining about your personal issues or even talking about other coworkers’ issues can be frowned upon. You need to dump your baggage at home before coming to work. Don’t mingle your personal issues with professional issues, and ensure you don’t engage in office politics.
As Hanks puts it, “Your office isn’t the place to pick your teeth or nose.” He also advises workers to handle their personal matters before work. “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.”