- Complaining and gossiping. Building a friendly rapport with your colleagues and clients is important, but relationships that are primarily based on this type of conversation don’t always endure.
- Oversharing or undersharing. If you rarely talk to your co-workers and never share anything personal, it can be tough to create camaraderie and trust. Talk about your weekend – and ask them about theirs. But find the balance between appropriate sharing (“My spouse and I went out to dinner at a great new restaurant.”) and oversharing (“My spouse made us 30 minutes late for the reservation and then lost his temper when the restaurant gave away our table.”).
- Not advocating for yourself. You’ve heard that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” – and this is true in a variety of professions. You don’t want to be known as the braggart or take credit for someone else’s results, but it’s important to occasionally shine a light on your successes and growth.
- Throwing others under the bus. It should go without saying that self-serving or malicious actions might work in the short term, but they’ll undermine your long-term reputation and credibility.
- Apologizing when it’s not warranted. Watch Shark Tank and you’ll notice that when entrepreneur Lori Greiner decides to make to an offer she prefaces it with helping information and then says, “I’m sorry. But I’m out.” The men (and even another original shark, Barbara Corcoran) typically leave out the apology. While Ms. Greiner is clearly a strong and successful businesswoman, it highlights the way women often embed an apology into their response. If you don’t have time to take on an extra project, find a way to politely decline without making it seem as though you’ve done something wrong.
- Posting defamatory messages on social media or inadvertently exposing company data. Something as simple as an open email on your computer in the background of a photo or during a video chat can reveal proprietary information.
- Not maintaining a current professional online presence. Even if you already have your dream job, it’s important to keep your LinkedIn profile and other online information current. This helps you develop a larger professional network and increases your visibility to prime employment or philanthropic opportunities.
- Taking at-home habits back to the office. Talking loudly on speaker phone, enjoying a noisy crunchy snack at your desk, rolling out of bed right before your start time or keeping your work area messy might have been okay in your apartment or house, but your co-workers might not appreciate those actions when you’re in close proximity.
- Being inconsiderate. Similar to the above item, it’s important to remember that you’re part of an on-location group. Restock whatever you use (reams of paper, water in the coffee pot, etc.), don’t leave dishes in the breakroom or old food in the fridge, avoid camping out in the comfy conference room unless you need it for a business purpose and keep in mind that you’re part of a community that’s sharing space and resources.
As with most relationships, common courtesy and thoughtfulness go a long way toward building a positive reputation – and can lead to long-term success in your field.