The right behavioral and ethical habits can lead to good work habits and increases productivity.
In last month’s article, I started with the definition of a good work habit. It’s a routine action or behavior that increases your productivity and improves workflow, makes the work you do easier and quicker to complete, and enhances the quality of your work product. I covered the first (Tactical – the actions you take) of three good work habit categories in this article. The other two categories that I’ll cover now are:
- Behavioral (how you conduct yourself)
- Ethical (living out core values)
Behavioral habits describe how you conduct yourself at work, acknowledging that your actions impact your co-workers and clients.
- Active listening – Give the speaker your undivided attention, make eye contact, be mentally present while the speaker is talking and not thinking about how you will respond, nod head/respond appropriately, ask appropriate questions, take notes, paraphrase information back to confirm your understanding, keep a positive attitude in an intense or confrontational situation.
- Seek feedback from clients/peers – Actively ask peers and clients for feedback. “I wanted to ask for your feedback on this project that we worked on together. From your perspective, what do you think I did well? What did you think I could have done better? I’d appreciate your input.” Don’t just ask for feedback, be prepared to take action if possible. Asking for feedback demonstrates that you value the input/perspective of the peer or client, and taking action demonstrates your willingness to improve your work habits.
- Ask for help if you need it – Rather than waste time and struggle alone to the point of frustration, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. When asking for help, outline what you have already done/acted on that didn’t resolve the problem.
- Be respectful of other’s time – Don’t be late to meetings. If it’s unavoidable, send the organizer a chat or text to let them know that you will be late to their meeting and why. When sending emails, only include those folks on the distribution that need to know the information in the body of the email. If you need to talk to someone for help, ask them “When would be a good time to get together?” Don’t just assume that they have time to talk right now – they may be heads-down doing some intense work that requires uninterrupted focus time.
- Don’t gossip about others – Consider the type of impact that your words can have (positive or negative). Before you speak, use the acronym T.H.I.N.K.: Is what you are saying True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? For additional tips, see “How to think before you speak.”
- Celebrate other’s achievements – If someone on your team reaches a goal or milestone, recognize their achievement! Everyone’s success is important and celebrating with your team shows that you care about them as well.
- Promote positivity in the workplace – Actively turn problems into opportunities. Spot the good in each situation, and help others see the silver lining as well. If you can’t find the good, make a gratitude list. Positivity should be the default behavior in our work environment. It promotes better mental health and makes us more hopeful, more self-confident & more resilient. Positivity lessens anxiety & depression, and can help lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, and lower our level of stress.
- Exhibit professionalism – Punctuality goes a long way. Be trustworthy and live up to your word. Always seek to improve your actions and conduct. Demonstrate strong ethics. Avoid foul language. Avoid dishonesty & deception.
- Be open to learning – Be coachable. When feedback is given, treat it as a gift and take action on the feedback. Understand that coaching and feedback can be difficult to give to another person, but it should be done in a respectful, caring manner to build a successful team where everyone feels valued.
- Adopt work/life balance – Maintain a healthy work/life balance. Over working yourself for an extended period of time can lead to burnout, which is not good for you or your co-workers. Take time to eat well and exercise, stay healthy and spend time with your family/friends. Work/life balance is key to long-term success in your career path.
- Emotional intelligence – While we can get caught up in the task list, understand that tasks are completed by humans. Recognize and manage your own emotions. When there are disagreements, always assume the best and give the benefit of the doubt to all parties. Understand that most people genuinely want to do a good job. When there are emotions around a problem, recognize them, then shift focus to the facts before moving forward. Replace assumptions with open ended questions to help reduce the tension.
- Self-care – It’s your responsibility to make sure you bring your best self to work each day. Don’t come to work sick and share your germs with others. Be sure to inform your staff manager/boss, and any clients or co-workers that you are working closely with if you are taking a sick day and won’t be available to work.
Ethical habits can be seen in how you live out your core values at work. Business ethics guide executives, managers, and employees in their daily actions and decision-making. If non-ethical values are at the foundation of a company, the actions taken can have legal and social repercussions that can damage a company beyond repair. Therefore, every business should develop ethical models and practices that guide employee actions and ensure that the interests and welfare of the company, clients, and the community are a priority. Doing so not only increases revenues and profits, but it also creates a positive work environment and builds trust with employees, clients, and business partners or vendors.
At Keller Schroeder, our core values include active listening, teamwork & mutual respect, honesty & integrity, and transparency & candor. It’s how our employee-owners build “Raving fan” relationships with our clients and each other.
Now that I’ve covered the 3 categories of good work habits, it’s time for you to reflect on how YOU can build on your good work habits. What good work habits are you doing well? Is there some good work habit that you could improve on? My mother always said that it takes at least 7 repetitions of the action/behavior for it to become a habit. Is there a good work habit that you need to start practicing today? If you need assistance applying these good work habits with your team, contact our Applications Team. We are happy to help!