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How to stop self-sabotaging at workplace

YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST enemy. Many people have repeated this observation over time and across cultures because its accuracy and insight are irrefutable.
 
The prevalence of self-sabotaging behaviours and attitudes is especially applicable to the workplace, where you may indulge in habits that undermine your success. Better performance and outcomes on the job are only possible if you're aware of these psychological and behavioural gremlins and take active steps to keep them at bay.
 
When you act in ways that counter your own goals, you end up sabotaging yourself. Indeed, the factors that hold most people back at work are not external or environmental but internal and personal.
 
It is beyond the scope of this column to delve deeply into the psychological reasons why people act contrary to their obvious self-interest. Suffice it to say that poor self-esteem and self-doubt underpin many thoughts that lead to deleterious habits and tendencies.
 
Some of these internal narratives are profound while others are more superficial in nature and more easily dismissed. In all cases, however, adherence to basic principles will markedly improve career outcomes and job satisfaction. High-achieving workers make sure their attitudes, priorities and behaviours aren't self-sabotaging. 
 
Attitude
 
Cynicism and negativity are the twin enemies of a good attitude. Most people indulge in a little peer bonding over the apparent absurdity of a given policy, but chronic griping will mark a worker as a low performer. Pollyannaish or slavish devotion to the party line is not necessary, but granting co-workers the benefit of the doubt will go a long way toward keeping you in good spirits.
 
Part of what informs positive attitudes is a genuine empathy and intellectual curiosity about the needs of other people. If the sales manager keeps asking for client status reports, she is probably not just trying to be difficult. Perhaps the pressure she feels to grow sales with the current account base is so intense that she has lost sight of the big picture. Still, other members of her team should do what they can to support her mission.
 
Appearance
 
When business casual dress crept into American companies in the late '90s, traditionalists warned that there might be a slippery slope to sloppiness. In some industries and organizations, that prediction seems to have come true.
Still, it behooves all ambitious employees to dress at least a bit better than they feel required. Dress like your boss or the way your client expects you to look. Don't settle for what your peers seem to get away with. Exceeding expectations will impress peers and seniors, even on a more subconscious level.
 
Communication Habits
 
American teenagers face criticism for immature speech habits, such as peppering their sentences with "like" as a form of unnecessary punctuation. Similarly, some workers undermine the value of their ideas by starting or ending their sentences with weakening phrases. Openers such as "This may be nothing but...", "It is just my two cents..." or "I could be wrong but..." tend to sabotage your efforts at building credibility.
 
The substance of your contributions is paramount, of course, but the way in which you communicate your ideas can be as important. After all, who wants to hear from or follow someone who doesn't think his own ideas are worthy of effective communication? Make sure you're taken seriously at work by cutting weakening statements from your vocabulary. 
 
Strategic Clarity
 
Successful employees understand both the day-to-day detail and the big picture context of their jobs. Furthermore, understanding what your whole company, department or team is trying to accomplish and making sure your work complements those objectives is key to being perceived as valuable.
 
A shockingly large number of workers are uncertain why they do what they do beyond vaguely sensing "this is just the way things are done." Intellectual curiosity and the ability to understand the big picture will set you apart.
 
Tactical Focus
 
We live in an age of distraction. Digital devices like phones and tablets are literally programmed to encourage addictive behaviours. Many contemporary workers have convinced themselves that they can multitask through their day. Yet there is no way that most employees who monitor minute-by-minute trends on Twitter or Instagram are also giving enough attention to their primary work responsibilities.
 
To combat technological temptation, start each day with a detailed plan. This will markedly increase productivity, efficiency and output. Eschewing distractions and executing a plan will go a long way toward helping you create a good reputation with your boss and co-workers. 
 
Altruism
 
A great way to build credibility as a workplace contributor is to prove yourself to be a team player. Everyone has his or her own challenges at work. The employee who can accomplish her own work while making everyone else look better is valuable indeed.
 
Sports coaches will agree, for example, that there are good players who can accomplish a lot, but truly great players make everyone else play better, too. That is why ambitious people are so good at putting the needs of others ahead of their own.
 
An employee who comes to work each day focused on immediate tasks clearly understood in the context of organizational goals will earn the respect of peers, subordinates and seniors alike. Achievement tends to reinforce confidence, which in turn builds further accomplishment. 
 
When you cease to sabotage yourself, and instead act as your own best advocate, there is little that you cannot achieve at work.

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