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10 annoying habits Indians should avoid at work

By Lakshmi Murthy
June 13, 2017 08:26 IST
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Do you lose your cool easily at work? Indulge in mindless gossip, pass off judgements easily?

Here's why you must watch your behaviour at work right now!

Indians at work

An office is a place where passionate individuals come together and work towards a common achievable goal.

For an organisation to function and achieve success, it requires an able team of employees who work with minimal distractions and prejudices.

Whether you are working in a small or large organisation, be watchful of your behaviour; it can affect your organisation and impact your career and reputation at work.

1. Being casual

Within the premises of the organisation, one should be formal in approach, relationships as well as grooming.

There is a thin line between informality and indiscipline and we do not realise when we cross the line. It is better to be safe than sorry!!

Being informal is not being casual. This ensures that we focus on work and work related relationships and do not digress or get into personal spaces.

This does not mean that one should not interact with people, have fun at work place, do talk about your issues and pains but check relevance to the audience and the forum.

If there is anyone who provokes you and tries to drag you into casual conversation, steer clear and excuse yourself.

2. Lack of commitment on performance

Whenever you are assigned a task, take time; try to understand as many aspects as possible.

Ask questions, they are answered only at the time when the task is assigned but not after you are deep into it. But exercise caution while asking questions as you should not be seen as someone who raises queries only to delay work or not to take ownership of the task.

Remember 'the quality of questions you ask determines the quality of your performance'.

3. Being too opinionated 

During informal chats or even during a formal conversation, always restrict your discussion to facts and figures related to your work and work area. Do not pass statements of judgements or comments on colleagues, peers or vendors.

Although people may or may not join your conversation but opinion gets formed about you and your line of thinking.

There are times when you are quoted out of context and relations are damaged. If you do not like someone's behaviour or work, best way is to approach the person directly, set time for the discussion and present the facts/ areas of disagreement or discomfort.

Most of the cases, the issues get sorted in one on one conversations, if not then follow the protocol to escalate.

4. Lack of risk appetite

We generally live in a myth, that one is given promotion and then higher responsibilities are given.

It is the other way around, your current performance and ability to take up new assignments/ tasks and error free execution determines your growth in the ladder.

The higher the risk appetite, the faster the growth.

Promotions and salary growth no longer function based on the number of years you've spent in the organisation. They are linked to your direct or indirect contribution to the topline of the business.

5. Not documenting decisions and deliverables

In order to keep things simple, maintain relationships and to get work done faster, most of us hesitate to document commitments or decisions.

In the long run, this impacts you as a person as well as the organisation because of non-availability of records of decisions.

Remember, most of you do not work with the same organisation for life. Even if we do, there is too much to store in that small processor that God has given. 

The more your document and maintain records for posterity, the easier it is for you to move up the ladder.

This also shows your skills of being organised and meticulous in approach. It also shows your attitude of organisation before person.

6. Tone and pitch of talking

It is human to get emotional at the workplace. The difference is to try to control and avoid any situation where one is required to raise voice, use unparliamentary language or insult or hurt sentiments.

Such behaviour is not only unprofessional but also not illegal. One can land into all kinds of trouble both socially and legally.

When upset or angry, either take time off the situation, have complete control on the self/ones language and then deal with the situation or person.

If you are writing an e-mail or a letter,  then read, review and rewrite before pressing the send button.

It is advisable to write the e-mail addresses after you review the documents. Also if required, always have a colleague or HR as part of such sensitive discussions.

7. Use of office resources for personal work

Knowingly or unknowingly, we tend to use office resources especially the internet or printer for personal work.

Although these are small ticket items, they can impact the impression you create in the organisation.

Other resources could be office staff being sent for personal work or asking colleagues to attend to personal work.

Generally one should take time off to attend to such personal work. If not avoidable, use formal channel of approval or services.

8. Not adhering to office timings 

Every boss would try not having a habitual late comer in the team. These guys spoil the environment and discipline of the team.

It becomes inconvenient and annoying for everyone to align their tasks around such late latifs (late comers).

Attending office on time, adhering to schedules and managing deliverables on time is the first and most critical habit one should inculcate if one has to go up the ladder.

9. Misuse of information

Do not misuse the power of information. Do not share confidential data/ information to get mileage in peer group, especially on social media.

In today’s world of Facebook, Instagram, etc information is power and one gets tempted to share or display 'what one knows' to the external world.

There is an inherent risk in doing this as one might knowingly or unknowingly share information which may be considered as confidential to the organisation. This can have serious repercussions.

Hence, resist the temptation.

10. Lack of enthusiasm

Most important of all, the place you spend minimum eight hours of your day, the place which gives you livelihood and a sense of purpose, you get your best.

Start for office with a spring in your feet and a smile on your face, irrespective of what you are doing or how the situation is.

Believe me, your attitude has the power of changing everything your way!!!

The author Lakshmi Murthy is chief people officer, ITM Group of Institutions.

Lead image -- a still from Bewakoofiyan used for representational purposes only.

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Lakshmi Murthy