Covering up your mistake is the worst mistake you can make
Idutko/ShutterstockWe all make mistakes. In fact, your boss expects you to make mistakes from time to time. What they don't expect is for you to lie about it. "I wish my employees understood that it's OK to make an honest mistake," says David Laplante, owner of Advanced HVAC. "But I want them to take ownership of their work and their actions instead of deflecting or making me chase for the truth. I'll respect you a lot more if I hear it directly from you instead of a co-worker or a client." Here are some of the worst mistakes you can make on the job.
15 minutes early is "on time"
LuckyBusiness/ShutterstockShowing up on time is so important to doing a good job. After all, you can't do your job at all if you're not there. But "on time" doesn't mean simply clocking in by 9:00:59 on the dot. To be on-time you actually need to show up a few minutes early, says Laplante. "Everyone should aim to be at the office 15 minutes before they plan to start. This gives you some wiggle room to deal with traffic delays and so on. If you do get in by 8:45, you can take a few minutes to grab a coffee or read the news or just take a deep breath to be ready for the start of your day," he says. Start with these 13 must-steal habits of people who are always on time.
Promotions aren't simply about checking off a list of boxes
fizkes/ShutterstockPromotions—getting one, being denied one, or working towards one—are one of the trickiest things for employees to navigate. But while you may think you're a shoe-in for that managerial role, you aren't the best judge of your own work. "Employees need to understand that growth takes time," says Kimmie Marek, MS, chief creative officer and co-owner at 7 Charming Sisters. "Employees, particularly younger employees, want to move up the ranks quickly and the reality is, experience matters. You may be great at your current role and get glowing reviews but that doesn't mean you're ready for that promotion. Get that experience, learn and grow and then talk to me about moving up." And make sure you know these you don't make these mistakes when asking for a raise.
You get what you give
Stokkete/ShutterstockJobs aren't always fair but it's fair to assume that if you are only giving 50 percent of your best effort then you won't be rewarded fully. "Passion and grit are high commodities these days and fewer and fewer employees have it," Marek says. "Look at this job as more than a paycheck and I'll look at you as more than just another employee." How important is this? Check out the crucial skill for success, according to billionaires.
Learn to take criticism
tsyhun/ShutterstockBosses aren't giving you criticism because they hate you and they enjoy pointing out people's faults, they're doing it because it's their job. Part of being the boss is helping your employees learn and grow and they can't do that if you think you're already perfect. "Don't debate everything on your performance review," Marek says. "Yes, I want your feedback on your review but please don't provide a rebuttal for every piece of constructive feedback I give you. It comes across as combative... and honestly it's annoying."
We notice when you sneak in the back
sirtravelalot/Shutterstock"Don't be late to meetings," Marek says. "My time is just as valuable as yours. Being late tells me this isn't a priority for you." And if your boss thinks that you don't prioritize your time with her then she won't be as eager to give you her time in the first place. (Here's how you can convince your boss to hold less meetings.)
It's not enough to know what you're doing, you have to be able to share it with others
SydaProductions/ShutterstockBeing an expert in your field is great but if you can't communicate your data, results, or plans well to others then all your hard work will be stuck behind a screen, says Lyn Hastings, VP of Marketing & Operations, The Powerline Group. Communication skills are every bit as important as "hard" skills. "Strategy and execution are important, but if you're putting together a spreadsheet of company data, you need to be able to speak about the data, not just put the numbers together," she explains.
Despite what your parents told you, you are not a special snowflake
Pressmaster/Shutterstock"Special snowflake" is a criticism often leveled at Millenials, but everyone would do well to remember that when you work for a company, you are one part of a larger machine. Expecting to always have your work lauded or to get special favors isn't realistic and is setting you up for some uncomfortable confrontations down the line. "You can't always be the star," Hastings says. "How an employee rebounds from a tough situation says more about their work ethic and character than the easy win."
eggegg/ShutterstockIt's one thing to vent a little about a difficult project to a coworker, it's entirely different if you're known as the complainer of the group, constantly finding fault and using it as a way to not do your job. No one wants to be surrounded by your negativity, Hastings says, so if your complaint isn't productive—meaning it leads to an actionable fix—then keep it to yourself. "A particular pet peeve of mine is when employees waste time complaining about minor things instead of fixing them," she says.
Give bad updates as well as good ones
Pressmaster/ShutterstockEmployees are usually excited to give good progress reports and managers are usually excited to get them. However, most projects are not simply a series of one success after another and it's just as important to report the failings as it is the successes, Hastings says. "Even if something isn't completed, let a boss know that you're working on it and give an estimate of when it will be finished," she adds.