Habits That Help You Stand Out in the Office

Are you doing all or some of these habits? Which habits are most difficult for you to adopt? Share in the comments section below.

Habit #1: Suit Up
No, you don’t have to wear a suit and tie or a business suit or pant suit every day (unless that’s the norm in your industry). However, you should dress professionally. I’d recommend dressing as well or better than your boss — you’ll be noticed. While you’re at it, establish a wardrobe that indicates a sense of personal style.

Habit #2: Meet Deadlines
When you’re assigned a task complete it on time. If you’re not given a deadline, ask what the expectations are. If you don’t know what the expectations are, you can’t exceed them.

Habit #3: Treat Everyone with Kindness and Respect
Each person in the office plays a vital role, whether they’re the CEO, department manager, or a junior copywriter. Treat the boss, the boss’s boss, and the person you’re mentoring with the same respect and kindness. This can be as simple as greeting everyone, whether they’re “in your department” or not, and listening to people regardless of their position on your org chart. Say hi to the janitor, thank the person who fixes the lights, ask people in meetings whether they have an opinion. Earn a reputation as a person who treats everyone the same. (By the way, treating everyone with kindness and respect is Life Habit #1.)

Habit #4: Don’t be Boorish
Listen more, talk less. Don’t dominate meetings and resist the urge to interrupt unless it’s necessary. You are smart or they wouldn’t have hired you, but you don’t need to prove it by droning on with long speeches.

Habit #5: Be Careful with Other People’s Time
If you’re invited to a meeting — be on time and prepared (ask what is expected of you). If you organize a meeting —start it on time. No exceptions.

Habit #6: Be Responsive
If a co-worker takes the time to send you an email, respond, even if it’s a quick reply. It’s courteous and they will appreciate it. If you have a preferred method of communication, convey that to your colleagues. For example, instant messaging may not be your way of sending interoffice communication, so let your co-workers know you’d prefer a phone call, email, or face-to-face.

Habit #7: Take Responsibility for Mistakes
If you make a mistake, own it and move on. You’ll earn respect for this.

Habit #8: Find a Mentor, Be a Mentor
This was passed on to me years ago when I worked in a museum. Find someone in your organization you respect and ask them to mentor you. It can be anything: maybe you want them to help you be a more skilled writer or to become a better manager of people. Seek someone out who has something you’d like to have. Conversely, be a mentor to someone else. Find someone you see great potential in and offer to help them. Give them any advice they ask for and offer to help them reach their goals, Do it for no other reason than to “pay it forward”, since there was certainly someone along the way who helped you.

Habit #9: Practice Patience
Remember that not everyone knows what you know. Others in your office also know things that you do not know. So, when a co-worker doesn’t understand something that you take for granted because you are skilled at it, be patient and thoughtful in your response. There was a time when you were learning something and someone explained it to you. Treat your co-worker the way you’d want a good teacher to treat you. At times in our lives we are the master and other times we are the pupil.

Habit #10: Participate
If the boss asks for ideas for the new logo, give them thoughts. If volunteers are needed, raise your hand. If extra work needs to be done and overtime is necessary, earn the reputation as a person who can be counted on. Participate in discussions too, don’t be afraid to share an opinion or ask a question.

Habit #11: Don’t Complain
This is an easy trap to fall into. Don’t do it. Every office has areas where they can improve. Everyone has clients or customers who can be exasperating. This just in — we all have areas that need improvement and we can all be exasperating. Don’t be that co-worker who is always complaining about something. Instead of complaining, work harder.

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