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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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5 Bad Business Habits You Should Ditch Right Now

As a manager, in many ways you set the tone for habits and interactions throughout your entire team - even your whole company. This means it’s vitally important you don’t slip into any bad habits that could taint the whole operation.

It’s hard to be on top of your game all the time, but so many people look to you for leadership, it’s vital that you demonstrate the qualities you’d like to see in your team. I know it’s hard when the pressure is on, and that’s why managers commonly slip into certain bad habits.

Here are some of the bad business habits you should try to avoid. Are you slipping into one right now?

1. Trying to Do Everything Yourself

We’ve all fallen into the perfectionist trap at some point in time. But it’s important not to make it a habit. Do you constantly feel as if everyone around you is incompetent? Is your desk always piled high with other people’s work? Do you often describe yourself as a “perfectionist”?

It’s time you learned about the power of delegation and teamwork.

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Taking over every task stifles your team and ensures that no one will emerge as a leader. Take a step back. Look at every piece of work on your plate and ask, “Is this part of my job description? Is it more important that this gets done, or that I do it? Who in the team should be responsible for this?” Then, hand it over, and don’t look at it again until it’s finished and shipped. Get used to letting go of control and watching your team fly.

2. Stressing about the Competition

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Are you constantly checking out what your competitors are doing and stressing about how their success could damage your business?

While you should be keep up-to-date in your industry, if you’re getting worked up about what your competition are up to, it’s time to step away. Don’t focus your energy on what others are doing - that’s out of your control. Instead, pour your energy into making your products, services and customer service as best as you can make them.

3. Encouraging a Toxic Environment

One of the worst things a manager can do is promote a work environment that encourages toxicity. Company culture plays a huge role in workplace satisfaction, and a huge part of this comes from you. Here are some do’s and don’t’s for creating a supportive environment:

  • don’t demand an explanation if an employee takes time off. Trust that your employees are being truthful and that their personal circumstances are none of your business.
  • encourage everyone to take their allocated annual vacation days. Stress the importance of taking time out to be with family and friends. Find ways to accommodate employee’s vacation requests.
  • don’t tolerate bullying, sexism, racism or any other kind of inappropriate behaviour in your office. Encourage equality. People can have fun and make jokes without them being at another’s expense.
  • encourage collaboration, instead of competition.

4. Micro-managing Your Team

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I know how you feel. I really do. It’s your company. Your name is on the door. It’s your legacy in the balance. You want every project, every interaction to be perfect, because when people look back on their interactions with your company, all they see is your face.

Let it go. You have to let it go.

Micro-managers stifle the creativity out of their teams. They make people afraid of showing up to work. They make intelligent, competent people feel worthless and useless. Is that what you want of your team?

You have to let it go. No, they won’t do things the way you would do them. But if you give your team the space and the tools to shine, they may just do things better than you could’ve imagined.

5. Assuming You’re Always Right

I know. I know. You’ve done the time, bought the postcard, and have been around the block a few times. You know the biz inside out, and you’ve got the skills and qualifications to back it all up.

But if you’re not careful, instead of coming across as an expert, you risk sound like an arrogant bastard. Even if your client or colleague is talking complete bollocks, it’s important to listen - really listen - to their ideas before barging in with your own.

Instead of heading into every project and meeting with the attitude of “here’s how we’re going to do it,” cultivate a collaborative methodology, where the ideas of others are explored and incorporated. Remember, no matter how much experience you have, there is still something new to learn, and you only learn when you close your mouth and open your ears.

Go on … what bad habits do you want to break? Chime in in the comments.

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