Discover 20 workplace habits to break

At the Chamber of Commerce’s second annual Women in Leadership luncheon held this past week, I had the opportunity to “Discover the 20 Workplace Habits You Need to Break!” Developed by author Marshall Goldsmith and presented by our keynote speaker Laura Prisc, the 20 workplace habits can create dysfunction in your office, can stifle work relationships and can ultimately inhibit your ability to be the best employee/executive you can be.

To the best of my knowledge the habits were not in any specific order on our handout, but Houston we have a problem, I didn’t make it past No. 1 before identifying a rather challenging “habit” in my repertoire.

Workplace Habit No. 1 – Winning too much

Really? Is it a bad thing to win too much? I am the most competitive person that I know. On the tennis court I hate to lose. At the stoplight, I like to lead out first. I fret if I leave more than five unfilled letters in the Sunday crossword and that’s just competing against myself.

Wait a second, maybe the habit should be phrased “Wanting to win too much.” I can see where it might be a little destructive to want to win too much. Do I cheat to win? No. Do I dance around belittling my opponents? Only when playing euchre with really good friends. Looks like this is going to be a hard habit to control, maybe I should check out the rest of the list.

Workplace Habit No. 5 – Starting with “no,” “but” and “however”

I hate to say no, however when I do, I always try to give an alternate option. Great – I just used two of the three words in Habit No. 5. This is not going to go well for me

Workplace Habit No. 18 – Punishing the Messenger

My version of Punishing the Messenger is a version of 20 Questions. For example, the messenger tells me, “Mary called to let us know she has to cancel the event.” I then turn into the Spanish Inquisition.

“What time did she call?”

“Is she cancelling forever or does she want to reschedule for a later date?”

“Did you ask her about the email I sent her last week?”

You get the drift – it’s not pretty and I’m going to have to work hard to shift this habit to a more appropriate behavior. The messenger is just that – the messenger. Just because I have 9,000 questions floating around in my head doesn’t mean that I have to impale the messenger with them.

Jill to messenger:

“Thank you for taking the call. I will send Mary a quick email to see if she’s like to reschedule.”

That should work. It illustrates to Mary that I received her message and validates that we want to work with her again in the future.

The messenger just informed me that I also turn into the Spanish Inquisition when I get back from meetings.

“Did you have a chance to call Bob about the Business After Hours?”

“Did Sue stop by while I was out and pick up those maps?”

“Has anyone else registered for the Lunch & Learn?”

Obviously I crave information. I’m not asking because I want to trap the messenger (although I once had a boss like that and I hated that trait in him); I’m asking to find out the status of our activities and to know which tasks I need to help with. I’m asking because I feel bad about being away from the office for the last two hours in a meeting and not able to do it myself. The intent of the questions is just not appreciated when it comes out like a machine gun in rapid fire succession.

And for years I thought my only bad habits were my Diet Coke addiction, cracking my knuckles and waiting until April 14 to do my taxes.

Upcoming Events:

* Camden Clark Diagnostic Center Grand Opening, Monday at 2 p.m., 2838 Pike St., Patriot Plaza, open to Chamber members and the public.

* Lunch Mob at Shoney’s, Wednesday, from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m., 1120 Garfield Ave., Parkersburg. Lunch Mob guidelines: bring a co-worker/friend and support a Chamber member by having lunch. Open to all Chamber members and the general public. No registration required.

* May Business After Hours hosted by Oxbow Golf Course, May 14 from 5-7 p.m., Oxbow Golf Course, Belpre. Free for Chamber members. $20 for non-members. Register on-line at

* Chamber Public Relations Workshop, guest Rob Fouss with Suddenlink Media, May 15 from noon to 1 p.m., at the Judge Black Annex, Parkersburg. Consumers are changing how they interact with media from smartphones to Twitter to traditional forms of advertising. At May’s meeting, Fouss will engage attendees and discuss these current media trends. Open to all Chamber members; you do not need to be a member of the PR Committee to attend. Register on-line at Lunch is $5 at the door (registration required for $5 lunch) or you are welcome to bring your own lunch.

* May Lunch & Learn with Northwestern Mutual Financial, May 17 from 11:30 aa.m. to 1 p.m., WV Central Credit Union, 2nd floor Conference Room, 809 Division St. Are you properly preparing for retirement? No one wants to work any longer than they must, but will you be able to retire when you want? Join financial planner Patrick Klesel for guidance and tips to guide you and your employees through the process of planning for retirement. Free for Chamber members. $20 for non-members. Seating limited to 30 attendees, so register today. Register on-line at