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Ten Surefire Ways to Tick Off Your Coworkers









Let's face it, not everyone gets along perfectly. To be successful in your work, you at least need the respect and support of others—your customers, suppliers, coworkers and management. But sometimes, despite your best efforts to win their support, bad habits creep into your daily work life and drive others crazy. Here are ten surefire ways to make sure your efforts to win their support don't backfire. If any sound familiar, you could be leaving your coworkers fuming.

1.  Is it always all about you?
Are you preoccupied with your own career path and looking good at the expense of others? Do you put others down while you pump yourself up? Instead, conduct yourself in such a way that other people will want to see you succeed-- let their genuine support and admiration of who you are pull you to success.

2.  Answering cell phone calls during meetings.
A surefire way to aggravate people is to consistently respond to calls, emails and pagers when in conversation with others. This sends a message that they are less important than the caller. Let the calls go and return them when your current conversation is over. If you are expecting an urgent call, alert those present. They will appreciate that you value their time and that you stay focused on matters at hand.

3.  Sending voicemails that go on and on and on.
At the end of a voice message, replay it and hear how you sound. Difficulty in getting to the point? Just like giving a speech - state your objective or main message first and follow it with brief, supporting sub-points. Some people prefer voicemail, some email - each workplace has its own expectations.

4.  Acting like a bureaucrat.
Do you drag out turnaround times and play control games? Do you create obstacles or barriers for others to do their work? Making mountains out of molehills is another surefire way to alienate people. Teach people how to navigate your organization efficiently, knowing when to stick with the rules and when to break them.

5.  Reading the newspaper or hammer on your laptop during training sessions or meetings.
Yes, there are way too many meetings and you've got more important things to do. Yet doing non-relevant tasks when there is a set agenda sends a clear message that this event or these people are unimportant to you. Instead, be fully focused - chances are if you completely engage, you will make important contributions while you show you are a committed team player.

6.  "I'm like, ya know . . ."
You are your words even more so in virtual relationships. You may be communicating with people worldwide who know you only by the sound of your voice or the tone of your emails. Become conscious of how you use language and stop communicating in ways that cause you to sound inexperienced or unprofessional. Ask those you trust and respect for feedback.

7.  Doing your bills at the office.
Whether you are paying your bills, planning your wedding, or placing an online order for a special gift, avoid doing them on office time. People understand short personal calls and respect emergencies, but they don't appreciate seeing you get paid to manage your life.

8.  Skirting around the dress code.
Ask ten companies to define business casual and you have ten different definitions. Dressing for work has never been more complicated - especially if you work at multiple locations. Prioritize matching your customer's dress code and if visiting more than one on a given day and the codes conflict, go for a classic, neutral look and be prepared to flex - adding or losing a jacket or tie between locations.

9.  Taking it too easy on telecommute days.
Run a few errands and throw in a load of laundry? Hey, you're a hard worker and deserve work-life balance. Telecommuting can be a tremendous win-win but if you stretch it to its limits, you may blow the policy for yourself and others. Meet your deadlines, be readily available during business hours, and do great work -- skip the temptation to make it appear like you are working but you're really not.

10.  Acting unethically.
Make sure you are clear on your organization's ethics policies and have the courage and conviction to uphold them. It's easy to draw the line on major violations but watch for the subtle ways you may be pulling others in the wrong direction to achieve goals—massaging numbers or data, violating copyright, or providing misleading information. Raise the ethics bar high and hold yourself and others to it.