7 behaviors unsuccessful people exhibit at work every single day

We hear a lot about the behaviors of the successful people out there.

Those who rise and shine at 4am and hustle ‘til the sun goes down.

But what about the less favorable behaviors that actually work against your success?

Turns out, there’s a certain set of traits that those who never reach their dreams have in common.

And if you’ve got your sights set on going far, you would probably benefit from avoiding them.

So if you’re looking to make your work life more efficient, read on for an overview into those 7 behaviors unsuccessful people exhibit at work, every single day:

1) Saying no to change

Change happens constantly – that we know.

Yet we all seem to be rather terrified of it.

And this is something which those who don’t do too well at success usually have in common…

They resist change, and stick their heels into the ground when new pathways or new technologies are on offer.

They’d far rather do it the safe and comfortable way that they’ve always done it than try something new.

(The something new often offering a swifter and more efficient way of getting things done…)

Think refusing to sign up to a new software which promises project completion in half the time, sticking to old and sticky monitors, and generally just living in the ways of the past.

Your old whiskery boss who refuses to get anything more modern than a BlackBerry, for example (though who knows where he’s finding the discontinued models).

Progress and success are intertwined, and those who resist change are often the ones who struggle to achieve success in their professional life.

And if you’re not moving forward, you’re actually moving backward. And that’s a behavior unsuccessful people exhibit at work every single day.

Ask yourself:

  • Does change scare you?
  • Can you think of any recent situations in which you’ve stuck to what you already knew instead of learning something new? 

2) Avoid any risk-taking

The comfort zone.

So delightfully safe and comfortable, with everything exactly as you left it. 

But few good opportunities actually land right at your feet. Often, you need to go knocking to find these good things for yourself.

And unfortunately, that almost always means stepping outside of the comfort zone.

A risk in itself, those who decline traveling beyond the same comforts of what they know miss out on all of these golden opportunities.

Without risk comes no reward, and an intrinsic fear of risk-taking holds you steadfast and glued to wherever you are.

Risks are a part of life; especially in the professional world. 

Taking calculated risks can open doors to new opportunities, innovative ideas, and better ways of doing things.

Those who avoid taking risks, who prefer to stay in their comfort zones despite opportunities for growth and advancement, often struggle to find success. They miss out on chances to learn, to innovate, to make a real difference in their workplace.

Ask yourself:

  • Can you name any recent situation in which you opted not to try something risky out of fear of it going wrong?

3) Blaming anyone else for their mistakes

Making mistakes can be a daunting prospect at work, when the dark cloud of getting fired hangs heavy over your head.

The weak ones take a wrong turn and frantically start pointing fingers at everyone bar themselves in a desperate bid to stay on safe footing.

They often don’t know (or don’t care) how destructive this behavior is. 

Not only does blaming others for your mistakes breed resentment among the team, but it also hinders the mistake-maker’s professional growth.

Because the reality is that everyone slips up. Part of growth is taking accountability for when it happens to you, being ready to accept the blame on your shoulders, and learning how to avoid said mistakes in future.

Not the easy route; making it out to be someone else’s fault and never changing your own behavior.

Hence why in the professional world, what sets successful people apart is their ability to own up to their errors, learn from them, and use them as stepping stones to improvement.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you take accountability and accept blame readily when you’re the one making the mistakes?
  • Can you think of any recent scenarios where you made an excuse to cover your part in something?

4) A lack of self-discipline

Success isn’t usually the result of one big, dramatic effort that suddenly secures you a lifetime of glory (unless you’re winning the lottery…)

More often, it’s the product of small, consistent actions taken every day.

This is where self-discipline becomes the make-or-break-it of success.

Because if you have the ability to control your actions and make choices that align with your long-term goals, even when you don’t feel like it, you’re well on track to completing tasks even when they’re challenging or boring.

Without self-discipline and even the smallest life-admin tasks or chores become draining and never end up completed.

Unsurprisingly, people who are unsuccessful at work often exhibit behaviors like procrastination or delaying. They allow their feelings or impulses to dictate their actions, rather than their goals or plans.

As a result, they find it difficult to stick to a routine, meet deadlines, or stay focused on tasks. 

And don’t think for a minute that this lack of discipline doesn’t affect and hinder their professional growth – every single day.

Ask yourself:

  • How would you rate your self-discipline out of 10?
  • Are you a regular procrastinator, or are you good at getting things done when they’re needed?

5) Neglecting networking

“Your network is your net worth” is a quote often heard in the professional sphere, and for good reason too.

Those who overlook the importance of building connections and maintaining them often fail to obtain any form of professional success.

Because the key is in these connections; networking isn’t just about collecting business cards to throw away later, or adding faceless contacts on LinkedIn. 

It’s about building meaningful relationships, helping others, and learning from people with different skills and perspectives.

But unsuccessful people often neglect this aspect of their professional life. They keep to themselves, hide in the shadows at social events, and miss out on the chance to learn from others and expand their horizons.

And this lack of networking is a behavior that prevents them from accessing new opportunities or gaining new knowledge – both of which prevent long-term success at work.

Ask yourself:

  • Name a time when you networked efficiently
  • What types of questions and icebreakers are you using to make networking connections?

6) Being closed off to feedback

Feedback – both positive or negative – is a crucial part of growth.

It’s not always easy to hear where you could have chosen a different route or where you didn’t complete something quite perfectly…

But without this constructive criticism, how can you grow? How can you learn?

Feedback enables us to learn about our strengths and weaknesses, and how we can improve. It’s an absolutely vital tool for personal and professional development.

And those who stay unsuccessful have one thing in common; everyday, they choose to shut down or to ignore any feedback that comes their way.

They think themselves too good already, or too self-conscious to take on any feedback, so they choose to dismiss it altogether or simply to ignore it.

This reaction not only hinders their growth but also impacts their relationships with colleagues and superiors.

By ignoring feedback, they miss out on an important opportunity for improvement, and subsequently remain stuck in their ways, repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Ask yourself:

  • Would you say you’re open to feedback?
  • Does hearing feedback hurt? 
  • Is there any way you could reframe feedback so you can focus on how you can improve more so than the sting of the words?

7) Having a negative attitude

No one is asking you to dance around with baskets of flowers and a big happy smile every single day at work.

But there’s a big change between being able to focus on what you can learn from mistakes, how you can level up, and how challenges can pivot you to the next level…

Versus focusing on problems over solutions, getting pinned down by failure, and seeing every challenge as a huge hurdle you’ll never be able to climb over. 

You’re allowed to feel daunted by a challenge, but learning to take a deep breath, to focus yourself and to tackle it head on will carry you far further than a forever dismal, negative attitude.

Because this negative attitude affects not only their performance but also their relationships at work, it also creates a toxic environment that hinders productivity and teamwork.

After all, success thrives in positivity, optimism, and a can-do attitude.

Ask yourself:

  • Would you say your attitude is more positive or negative?
  • As of tomorrow, what changes could you make to start seeing more of the silver-lining in your professional interactions as opposed to only the negatives?

Final words

If you see yourself in these behaviors, don’t be disheartened. Many of us could still benefit from a little learning when it comes to our professional attitudes.

In recognizing which of these traits show up in your own life, you’re already taking the first step towards improvement. Being conscious of the changes you need to make in your daily work habits means you’re already demonstrating that open-mindedness and willingness to learn.

Using the prompts above, reflect on your own attitude and behaviors at work.

Having identified these behaviors, it’s time to act. 

Aim for small, consistent changes that you can make each day, adopt a positive attitude, embrace change, and take calculated risks.

With time and effort, you can replace these unsuccessful behaviors with successful ones. 

And who knows? 

You might just be on your way to becoming the most successful person in your workplace!

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