It’s not you it’s your Bad Habits and Blind Spots that are holding you back

In a working environment too many bad habits and blind spots can seriously hinder your success. You don’t need a whole list of these as it only takes a few left unchecked and allowed to accumulate to really annoy your colleagues. To succeed you need to recognise your faults and practice corrective behaviour. With focus and dedication the corrective behaviour will become second nature and ultimately replace the instinctive bad habit or blind spot.

There is a difference between a bad habit and blind spot. A bad habit is a conscious decision to handle a given situation in a certain way.  The application of this course of action is predictable, consistent and driven by a predetermined attitude that has a negative component. A blind spot is an automatic reaction to a given situation that is also predictable and consistent. The main difference is that the bad habit is recognised and acknowledged whereas the blind spot remains hidden.

We are aware of other people’s responses to situations and from our 3rd party perspective the error of their actions are blatantly obvious, but the person appears to be oblivious of the negative results.  Likewise your peers will observe your similar faulty behaviour and wonder how you don’t see that what you are doing is creating problems and potentially fatal to your career.

Blind spots are like the invisible cracks in your armour that weaken the structural integrity.

Avoidance behaviour  – Avoiding tackling the important tasks by finding distractions that waste your time. These distractions can be inventive, elaborate and even seem essential to work performance. The reality is that all jobs have their drawbacks and require tough or unpleasant actions. While it is natural to want to avoid uncomfortable situations the problem will generally escalate through neglecting to take action.

Team exclusion – A tendency to exclude others from your decision making processes and task handling can make you feel like you are in control and dynamic. For others in your team however, you will appear weak, untrusting and isolated. The lack of interaction and peer to peer communication in your team will undermine their enthusiasm, performance and support.

Venting or bottling – External stressors such as family issues, debt, legal problems and internal work related conflicts can create unnatural reactions in a pressured situation. In the case of venting the unrelated stress issues will cause an acute reaction that the present situation did not require. Bottling will create avoidance behaviour until the pressure cannot be contained and then the response will be an extreme over reaction.

Inward focussed – Some leadership styles and personality types are insensitive to the effect that their behaviour has on others. Persistent insensitivity will drain trust, cause people to feel unappreciated and reduce the team potential and contributions.

Bad habits are like the unsightly spot on your nose that constantly draws your attention.

Bad habits are not necessarily caused by an attitude problem they can also be a result of poor role models, tuition or leadership.  The key to discerning the cause of the bad habit is the body language and willingness to relearn the faulty behaviour.

Bad work habits are tardiness, inefficiency, surliness, time wasting, negativity, calling in sick when you are not, poor response to customers or superiors, bad communication skills, resistance to change, foot in mouth syndrome, lack of proper attention, etc.

No one likes to have their bad habits pointed out to them but to survive and improve we need to adapt. In the case of blind spots recognising that we actually have them is the first step of a long process of correction.

Team Building exercises are excellent way to help individuals discover their blind spots and bad habits. With the support of the team and a facilitator to introduce corrective actions the bad habits and blind spots can be overcome.

Talk to us to find out more about our Team Building options

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Mastering the art of networking for conferences and events

One of the top reasons for attending a conference is networking. Swapping cards and showing industry peers that your face is the face of your company and that you are open for business. Increasing your circle of influence through face to face contact and nurturing those contacts is still the number one way to expand your client base.

Consistency and persistence with networking is the key to success – the old school sayings about taking hard knocks, getting back on that horse and practice makes perfect are still very much alive in this field.  For some it looks easy, even natural and contacts seem to line up to hand over their A list card, but for others it can be a sweaty palmed, fumbling, stumbling nightmare where generic cards are hard won.

Networking can be as easy as you make it or as hard as you make it – the choice is up to you. Preparation is always a confidence builder, as is applying a few skills.

1) It’s not about you (it is really but you won’t get the results you want by being too obvious about it)

Develop the mind set of “I am going to find out about people – their business and their interests”. This takes a lot of pressure off feeling like you are going in for the hard sell or feeling like you have to impress. Most people like talking about themselves and those that don’t still feel comfortable talking about their business. Focus on them first by asking questions, be genuine, make good eye contact, don’t interrupt, remember what they said ( this will come in handy later) and then lead the conversation to your field so you can have your turn. It is not required to immediately try to do business with this person, just find common ground.

2) A solid contact is engineered not spontaneous.

Know who you need to meet at the conference venue or networking event. Remember that you don’t have to go for the jugular, besides the top players can be hard to get quality time with and while you lurk in the background waiting for your chance to pounce your credibility will start to dwindle. Court the connected players and look for an introduction to the kingpin through a 3rd party and if it comes with a bit of edification, the quality of the contact will be enhanced.

Placement and timing are also important – if you are trying to network while your prospect is trying to snag the last piece of sushi, you will only get lip service at best.  Wait until the registration has been signed, gift bags collected, sushi squared away and move in when their attention switches from getting organised to looking for someone to talk to.

3) Play the numbers

Picking off the singles takes time, requires more effort and you could get stuck with a clinger. Conversely approaching the big group with the popular people and getting any decent networking done will be difficult unless you can cull a few off the main group. Groups of 2 can be closed, rather approach smaller groups of 3 or 4, here you will get better results and be able to build strong relationships.

4) Watch the language

Understand that while you are out to get some decent contacts the person you are currently with is doing the same. Have your elevator pitch ready so you can deliver a concise professional picture of your business and get them interested so you can give more detail. No over selling, complaining (about anything), going off topic uninvited or giving out too much personal information. Time is short so don’t over-deliver and watch out for the handover signals when it is time for you to move on or when they want to speak to someone else.

5) Complete the contact cycle

Having lots of cards collecting in a drawer is not the same as having contacts. The amount of time that passes after contact is made erodes the strength of that contact. Don’t let all the hard work come to nothing – be the first to get in touch. This is where your listening skills come in handy and the contact can be easily refreshed.

Remember that this is a process and developing the art of networking takes time and you need to be willing to grow and learn to get better.

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