How can you improve your work productivity and relationships in 2014? By not doing the same old, same old. To stop making the same mistakes over and over, you need to understand what it is that you're actually doing wrong in the first place, and learn how to fix it. I've listed the 12 mistakes I know you're making, even if you don't. What are they?
1. Not paying attention. More work and less time equaled some sloppiness on your part. Documents went out the door with errors, and at some point you were the victim of an email snafu—you answered so quickly you either “replied all” by accident or forwarded something you shouldn’t have.
2. Focusing too much on you, you, you. Were you perhaps a bit selfish this year? Yes, you're the boss and you're extremely busy, but if you're too self-absorbed, your workplace relationships suffer. Remember, as cliche as it may be, "There's no 'I' in team."
3. Lying to cover up an honest mistake. There’s nothing wrong with a little fib, right? Until you get caught, that is. If your employees catch wind of it, you'll lose their respect and trust. Nobody’s perfect. Next time, just come clean.
4. Not pursuing professional development. Maybe you’ve been around the block a few times and don’t think you need to learn anything new about your industry or job. Training is not just for junior level people; if you didn’t take your skills up a notch in 2013, make it a goal in 2014.
5. Expecting other people to change. You were frustrated this year by all the incompetent, annoying and unethical people at work and found yourself saying “if only this person would X, my life would be so much better.” When your happiness depends on other people’s behavior, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus instead on improving yourself.
6. Believing that the grass is greener. Complaining about your business didn’t do you any good this year. Stop comparing your business to everyone else's. First of all, you don't know the full stories on any of those businesses. How's employee morale? What do the books look like? Stop lamenting your current situation, and start to consider how you can find personal satisfaction in what you do. And use your own business for comparison: Where were you five years ago?
7. Failing to have a master plan. You spent much of this year in reaction mode, frantically rushing from one task to the next. By failing to see the big picture and mapping out clear career goals for the year, you missed a huge opportunity for growth and achievement. Be more strategic in the future, even if it means slowing down a bit.
8. Resisting new technology. It’s tempting to dismiss all the latest apps as passing fads. However, you should recognize when a program is really taking off in your organization and affecting productivity in a big way. The digital world is here to stay, so be open to new efficiencies. The old way is not always better.
9. Worrying about things that never happened. My grandmother used to say that most of the things we worry about never come to pass. Think about all the things you fretted about this year—how many actually happened? In 2014, try to be more objective about the issues causing you anxiety: Are they really worth it?
10. Managing by consensus. It’s one thing to ask your team for feedback, it’s another to be unable to make a decision without 100 percent agreement from all sides. When you insist on total consensus, you subject your organization to group-think and prevent meaningful progress.
11. Being too insular. You operated in a bubble this year, cutting yourself and your team off from outside opinions and perspectives that could have helped your mission. You may think you know best, but innovation will only flourish when you're willing to look in other directions. Beware of the rut.
12. Failing to show appreciation to staff. You didn’t say “thank you” enough because your people were just doing their jobs. You took for granted that they’d always be there and didn’t go out of your way to make them feel valued and supported. You still have a little time left in 2013. Do it now!
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