Time to Stop That Career-Limiting Habit

by Chris Rhatigan on Aug 8, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Breaking the habit

A VitalSmarts study found that 97% of employees have a single habit that is preventing them from moving up the ladder. Whether it’s a volatile temper or a tendency toward procrastination, most report that they have at least one behavior they’d like to change.

It’s difficult to make long-term changes. Most people have something they’d like to change about themselves. It’s easy to say you’re going to commit to change and to start on a path toward change, but it’s tough to stick with it.

Top Career-Limiting Habits

The following were seen as the biggest problems holding employees back in terms of leadership qualities:

  • Unreliability: Being late, not following through on projects, lack of communication
  • “It’s Not My Job”: Avoiding taking responsibility for the whole organization’s success
  • Procrastination: Quality of work suffers when a task is put off until the last minute
  • Resistance to Change: Organizations need to evolve to improve
  • Negative Attitude: This trait can poison an entire team

Managers reported that these traits are very difficult to change, with only 10% to 20% of employees successfully changing a career-limiting habit.


How to Stop That Habit

Joseph Grenny, the author of Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, says that most people view willpower and commitment as the keys to changing behavior. However, he said these traits aren’t the most important factors. Maintaining other specific habits to combat the career-limiting habit is key to long-term success.

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For example, if your problem is reliability, you might think that what you need to do is work harder and be more on top of things to be consistent. But that’s not necessarily the case. Many people lack reliability because they agree to take on too many things at once. In fact, they might even get a reputation as someone willing to tackle a lot of projects. To resolve this issue, work on saying "no" more often. This one habit could make your workload substantially more manageable.

Don’t Go It Alone

Grenny also recommends connecting with people to support you. So hang with the hard workers in your office. Find a mentor who will push you to break the career-limiting habit. Going it alone isn’t going to work. You need a support system to make long-term change.

Overall, investing in changing the habit is the way to go. While deciding to change is important, putting that down on paper and coming up with a plan ensures that you won’t be back where you started a few weeks later. Don’t let that career-limiting habit linger, tackle it today. TINYpulse



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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.