Praveen Sharma

Ten Irritating Behaviors that Will Ruin Your Career

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10 Irritating Behaviors that Will Ruin Your Career

 Talent, skill, education, experience all are important. But since no one does anything worthwhile on their own, treating other people with courtesy and respect is a key ingredient in long-term professional success.

 Yet heres how some people get that really, really wrong:

 1. They thoughtlessly waste other peoples time.

 When you’re late to an appointment or meeting, what you’re really saying is that your time is more important. When you wait until the grocery clerk finishes ringing you up to search for your debit card, you’re really saying you can’t care less if others have to wait.

 Every time you take three minutes to fill your oversize water bottle while a line stacks up behind you, you’re really saying you live in your own little world… and your world is the only world that matters.

 Small, irritating things, but basically no big deal? Nope. People who dont notice the small ways they inconvenience others tend to be oblivious when they do it in major ways.

 How you treat people when it doesnt really matter – especially when youre a leader says a lot about you. Behave as if the people around you have more urgent needs than yours and you will never go wrong… and you will definitely be liked.

 2. They ignore people outside their "level."

 Theres an older guy at the gym that weigh over 300 pounds and understandably struggles on the aerobic and weight equipment. (Hats off to him; hes trying.)

 Yet nobody talks to him. Or even seems to notice him. Its like hes invisible.

 Why? He doesnt fit in.

 Occasionally we all do it. When we visit a company we talk to the people were supposed to talk to. When we attend a civic event we talk to the people were supposed to talk to. Or breeze right by the technicians and talk to the guy who booked us to speak, even though the techs are the ones who make us look and sound good onstage. (Or maybe that fortunately used to just be me.)

 Heres an easy rule of thumb: nod whenever you make eye contact. Or smile. Or (gasp!) even say hi. Just act like people exist.

 Well automatically like you for it and we’ll remember you as someone who engages even when theres nothing in it for you.

 3. They ask for way too much.

 A guy you dont know asks you for a favor; a big, time-consuming favor. You politely decline. He asks again. You decline again. Then he whips out the Need Card: "But its really important to me. You have to. I really need [it]."

 Maybe we do, in fact, really need [it]. But our needs are our problems. The world doesnt owe us anything. We arent entitled to advice or mentoring or success. The only thing we’re entitled to is what we earn.

 People tend to help people who first help themselves. People tend to help people who first help them.

 And people definitely befriend people who look out for other people first, because we all want more of those people in our lives.

 4. They ignore people in genuine need.

 At the same time, some people arent in a position to help themselves. They need a hand: a few dollars, some decent food, or a warm coat.

 Though I dont necessarily believe in karma, I do believe good things always come back to you in the form of feeling good about yourself.

 And thats reason enough to help people who find themselves on the downside of advantage.

 5. They ask a question so they can talk.

 A guy at lunch asks, "Hey, do you think social-media marketing is effective?"

 "Well," you answer, "I think under the right circumstances..."

 "Wrong," he interrupts. "Ive never seen a return on investment. Ive never seen a bump in direct sales. Plus awareness is not a measurable or even an important goal...." And he drones on while you desperately try to escape.

 Dont shoehorn in your opinions under false pretenses. Only ask a question if you genuinely want to know the answer. And when you do speak again, ask a follow-up question that helps you better understand the other persons point of view.

 People like people who are genuinely interested in other people, not in themselves.

 6. They pull a, "Do you know who I am?"

 OK, so maybe they dont take it to the Reese Witherspoon level, but many people whip out some form of the "Im Too Important for This" card.

 Maybe the line is too long. Or the service isnt sufficiently "personal." Or they arent shown their "deserved" level of respect.

 Say you really are somebody. People always like you better when you dont act like you know youre somebody or that you think it entitles you to different treatment.

 7. They dont know when to dial it back.

 An unusual personality is a lot of fun… until it isnt. Yet when the going gets tough or a situation gets stressful, some people just cant stop "expressing their individuality."

 We know youre funny. We know youre quirky. We know you march to the beat of your own drum. Still, theres a time to play and a time to be serious, a time to be irreverent and a time to conform, a time to challenge and a time to back off.

 Knowing when the situation requires you to stop justifying your words or actions with an unspoken, "Hey, thats just me being me," is the difference between being likeable and being an ass.

 8. They mistake self-deprecation for permission.

 You know how its OK when you make fun of certain things about yourself… but not for other people to make fun of you for those same things? Like receding hairlines, or weight, or your spouse and kids, or a struggling career.

 Its OK when you poke a little gentle fun at yourself, but the last thing you want to hear are bald or money or, "Do you want fries with that?" jokes. (Bottom line: I can say Im fat. You cant.)

 Sometimes self-deprecation is genuine, but its often a mask for insecurity. Never assume a person who makes fun of himself is giving you permission to poke the same fun at him.

 Only tease when you know it will be taken in the right spirit. Otherwise, if you feel the need to be funny, make fun of yourself.

 9. They humblebrag.

 Humblebragging is a form of bragging that tries to cover the brag with a veneer of humility so you can brag without appearing to brag. (Key word is "appearing," because its still easy to tell humblebraggers are quite tickled with themselves.)

 For example, heres a tweeted humblebrag from actor Stephen Fry: "Oh dear. Dont know what to do at the airport. Huge crowd, but Ill miss my plane if I stop and do photos... oh dear dont want to disappoint."

 No one wants to hear how stressed you are about your upcoming TED Talk. No one wants to hear how hard it is to maintain two homes. Before you brag humbly or not, business or personal think about your audience. A gal who is a size 14 doesnt want to hear you complain that normally youre a size 2 but youre a size 4 in Prada because Prada sizes run large.

 Or better yet, dont brag at all. Just be proud of what youve accomplished. Let others brag for you.

 If youve done cool things, they will.

 10. They push their opinions.

 You know things. Cool things. Great things.

 Awesome. But only share them in the right settings. If youre a mentor, share away. If youre a coach or a leader, share away. If youre the guy who just started a paleo diet… please dont tell us all what to order – unless we ask.

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