Common Misconceptions at Workplace that can Potentially Cost You!
Whether you be a fresher or an experienced professional, whether you have just joined a new organisation or are a veteran, there are a few misconceptions we may fall victim to from time to time…I discuss a few here that I have come across:
- The “I know it all” Syndrome!
I call this a syndrome because I find it more specific to a certain group of people, chiefly those of us who have just started working and are new to the mythical beast- the Corporate World. Packed with enthusiasm and the drive to achieve something significant real quick we often forget we are more susceptible to follies than our much experienced fellows. This could eventually lead us to ignoring valuable pieces of advice and contradicting the well scrutinized and time tested systems that we are supposed to follow. I remember my initial weeks when I first started working; I would question and challenge almost every method or approach. Being inquisitive and curious however constructive it proved to be, excess of it occasionally also landed me in trouble. A prolonged attitude of the sort gives your employer a reason to doubt your adaptability and stability. It is therefore very important for us to be able to draw the line whenever there is a situation of conflict and to absorb & understand the existing processes.
In other instances, this scenario arises when a person joins a new organisation but is unable to cope with the transition. A friend of mine would often complain about how his new boss would keep on rambling about the merits of his previous employer and compare them to the faults in the current one. This becomes problematic especially if the new joinee is at a leadership position. Not only does it become a constant nuance for his colleagues but it also makes your team lose respect for their employer and eventually you. The result- a perpetually de-motivated workforce with no one to look upto!
- The Boss is always right!
Yes! The colloquial phrase returns but this time devoid of the perennial, underlying criticism. More often than not this statement holds true. The boss is after all more experienced & aware and has been through the same challenges that you now face. But in the very rare, next to impossible events [trying to save my own hide here ;)] in which you find out your boss is wrong, I know you will be tempted to have him / her take the fall…But don’t! Don’t just sit by and watch. Here is why: For those of you who believe in “Karma”, good on you, you probably don’t even need to read my explanation. But for the benefit of the rest of us I shall substantiate… Organizations in general are pyramid like structures, which leads to an unavoidable trickledown effect. So although you might not be the one wearing the cone of shame when the dominos fall, you still might end up being subject to greater work pressures and a foul environment to work in.
This brings us to an even more important question- how to avert a crisis like this from happening without offending your senior? If you come to think of it, it really isn’t very difficult. All you need to do is be reasonable, support your opinion with instances and avoid using personal opinions or temperament. Say for example you know a company has a history of bad debts and your boss approaches it for a probable business liaison… now keeping this information from your otherwise grudge full boss might give you an opportunity to see him fall and make a mockery of himself but a carefully expressed information / opinion shall exalt your worth in his/her eyes. Hence, also giving you a firmer hold in future decision making and providing you with a strong trustworthy image.
- Interpersonal relations & soft skills are for newbies & marketeers
How many times have I heard people complain about someone being absolutely obnoxious in office or someone else being a people pleaser…Believe me I wish I had a rupee for everytime! People skills are no less than an art. Like any other job skills they too play a crucial part in your professional development. Interpersonal etiquettes might not seem important to all functions in an organization but absence of these can sometimes create irreversible troubles for you. A common misconception that rides along in almost all organizations is that interpersonal etiquettes are required only when you are new in a company – during the initial ice breaking phase and for jobs related to marketing /PR/any form of client & vendor interaction. Well, let me politely correct you here. These skills are relatively more important in the afore mentioned scenarios but cannot be completely ruled out in day-to-day work environment.
Things like talking loudly on the phone next to somebody’s work station, making personal jokes or yelling down at your subordinates publicly might not seem too consequential. But a colleague you might have been impolite to might be in a position of advantage during your appraisals, your referrals, or just the usual slander. All these consequences added up over a period of time could pile up to create a troublesome situation for you.
- If nobody saw it, it never happened!
To err is to human! We all make mistakes at work, it’s like every other thing / process, its difficult to always get something right the first time or for some of us like myself, even many consecutive times. When something like that happens we wish and pray that we don’t get caught. We might also try and cover it up, hide it or pin it on someone else / the system. Well to be honest, this is my reflex too but over time I have learnt and observed it is better to simply come clean. Some errors are pardonable but some if not brought to the right authorities notice could lead to a much bigger catastrophe. This isn’t an easy thing to do, to simply admit and then hope for redemption and it might not always work. But what does work is a solution presented with the admission of guilt. Assess the goof up and the extent to which it can affect things and plan upon a subsequent course of action which can be used for damage control. Acting in this manner not only contains the crisis but also portrays one’s integrity and problem solving ability. Believe it or not these are characteristics that undoubtedly stand out while assessing future leaders. And even more importantly it acts a memory to last for reducing the chances of your committing the same mistakes repeatedly!