Warning signs you can’t deny
by Barry Barrientos, Contributor
Forget blind items and blind spots. In this issue, we’ll take a look at obvious, observable, overt, sometimes palpable, signs and symptoms of potentially harmful attitudes and behaviors in the workplace that can mess up happy and healthy relationships and careers.
If you find any or some of these warning signs in your own attitude and behavior, don’t be harsh on yourself. Be glad that you’re still sensitive to your own shortcomings and limitations and thus, you’re capable of taking action. Acknowledgment of the problem, after all, is always the first step to finding the right solution.
Signs of Workaholism
Workaholics are unaware of their addiction; if they are, they overtly deny it. Workaholism isn’t bad per se; it’s only so when working too hard becomes the central focus in one’s life at the expense of personal, family, and social relationships.
Like when you can’t take your mind off from work during meals (some you even skip), during bedtime (you think of work solutions before sleeping), even on your vacation (you call up the office or worse, cut short your vacation to report back to work).
What to do: Balance is key. Compel yourself to take a break and take stock of your priorities. Do you have an interest or hobby you long wanted to pursue? Start it. Avoid bringing your laptop or any paperwork at home.
Signs of Procrastination
Do you find yourself neck-deep in pending tasks but can’t seem to find the “right moment” to start? You know your high priority projects (and their value to your career) but you opt to preoccupy yourself with the irrelevant (like excessive online surfing or taking longer breaks). You wait for all resources to be available before acting. But when time is up, you scramble to complete the job—hoping for an extension!
Experts claim that self-imposed delays are indications of people’s fear of failure: they put off what they perceive is a difficult task in the vain hope that it becomes easier tomorrow. And when procrastination becomes habitual, the results are ugly: projects are poorly managed, opportunities are missed, and personal work standards become mediocre.
What to do: Ask help from colleagues or friends on how to manage the task—you’ll be surprised at some ingenious suggestions that can spark your interest to get started. Break down the task into small milestones, taking track of your progress along the way. If you’re neither confident you can do the job nor have the interest to do it, say no to your boss from the very start—sometimes we procrastinate because we don’t really like what we do. And when you complete a major task successfully, indulge yourself with a reward.
Signs of Insecurity
Lack of self-confidence is noticeable in two types of people: those who show it and those who try hard to mask it. People who are excessively withdrawn, who compromise too easily or belittle their own abilities, are most likely suffering from poor self-esteem. Then there are those who exaggerate their accomplishments, who deliberately control everything around them even those beyond their command, who grab credit from others, and who always have scapegoats—these are “power-hungry” individuals who use power to cover up their lack of self-confidence.
If you find yourself unable to find joy in other people’s success or unwittingly feel satisfied at their failure, especially those whom you perceive to be direct competitors for fame and power, then it might be insecurity getting the best of you. When this happens, your insecurity becomes all the more apparent and people around you notice it—sooner than later!
What to do: Come to terms with yourself. If you have poor self-esteem, focus on your strengths; recognize your weaknesses as motivations to find ways to be better, like attending a presentation skills workshop if you a need the confidence to speak before an audience, or getting a mentor to coach you on career and professional development—look around you and you’ll be surprised to find accomplished people who are willing to be mentors. Benefit from their wealth of experience. If you’re the type with the tendency to disguise insecurity, remember that others around you will always find out so begin by taking an honest stock of yourself and avoid pretending to be who you are not.
Signs of Superiority Complex
Are you fond of using “I” or “me” instead of “we” and “us”? Do you take every opportunity to flaunt your abilities, whether real or imagined? Do you dominate conversations with stories about yourself? Do you join discussions thinking only your opinion matters or is best? Do you feel the need to be always heard? When looking at other’s work, do you always think you could do a far better job?
Self-confidence is a necessary ingredient in professional development, but when it’s too much, it becomes self-defeating. The effects of such egotistical behavior are very discernible: people avoid talking to you, except when their jobs require it; when you enter a room to join a discussion, people suddenly become silent or they walk away; people always agree with you, even if they actually don’t.
What to do: Stop, look, and listen. List down all your weaknesses and next to each, write the name of the person in your circle whom you think has the same weakness. Do the same for all your strengths. Do you recognize that you share common traits with people around you? Take mental note of your list when you interact with others and listen more than talk. In time, you’ll win people over not just as your audience, but as your true good friends.