10 Bad Habits That Can Kill A Promising Career

Too many people think that just being good at your job is enough to get you promoted. They think that talent is enough to make it to the top.

But surely, if you are good enough people will put up with some of the bad that comes with the package.

We’re not all perfect, are we?

The truth is, it’s often the small things that make all the difference. The world is full of talented people, and it’s more likely your attitude that will be the deciding factor, rather than your aptitude.

Here are ten bad habits that could be holding you back from getting the promotion you desperately want.


There is a big difference between arrogance and confidence; one builds trust, the other can very quickly destroy it. Bragging just makes you look arrogant, someone who wants to claim all the credit for themselves. Leadership is just as much a team role as is a team member, and being a braggart makes you look more like a lone-wolf than either a team member or leader.

Share the credit with your teammates, and if you have to brag, brag about the team rather than your contribution.

Showing up late to work

Leadership defines culture, and no company wants a culture of tardiness. You might think that no one notices, but you’d be wrong. People spot these types of things very quickly, especially if they are persistent.

You may even find that people joke about it behind your back.

Being 5-minutes late to every meeting

Just like being late for work, I am sure you feel like you have a valid excuse for being late for the meeting, but it doesn’t matter.

Showing up late to meetings shows disrespect to your colleagues, and also if it’s their meeting, disrespect to your boss.

Do you really think your boss would promote someone who openly disrespects them?

Punctuality shows respect and creates respect. It shows that you value people’s time and that you can be relied upon.

Complaining too much

As a leader, one of your key roles is going to be creating a positive atmosphere and building confidence in your teams.

Complaining does exactly the opposite. Complaining shows and breeds negativity, it can bring down the morale of a team. Most companies don’t want negative people on their teams, let alone running one.

Be a font of positivity, don’t go overboard, but do eliminate any negativity.

Poor hygiene and grooming habits

My dad always said to me, “if you want to get the part you have to look the part.”

How many bosses do you see that have poor grooming or hygiene?

It’s true that not everyone wears a suit, or has perfectly quaffed hair, but there are very very few who look like the spent the night sleeping in their clothes either.

Calling in sick when you aren’t

Reliability and dependability are two key leadership qualities, and you don’t show either of those when you “throw a sickie.”

Being ill is unfortunate, but if people know that you’re just skipping off, it will become a bad mark that can be difficult to erase. It can also make you unpopular with colleagues who have to pick up the slack, and it’s difficult to promote unpopular people.

I remember a colleague of my wife who called in sick because his grandmother died and he needed to attend the funeral in Italy.

Over the course of 2-years, he had three grandmothers die.

It wouldn’t have been too noticeable if his other grandma hadn’t been known by many of his teammates and was actually still alive!!!

Not paying attention in meetings

Employee engagement is a challenge with the current surveys showing that only around 30 percent of staff are engaged. Not paying attention, fiddling with your phone or your laptop in meetings is a dead giveaway. As leaders need to create engaged teams, no one is going to promote someone who doesn’t seem engaged themselves.

Don’t just show up to a meeting on time, but participate.

Be engaged and engaging. It will help make you stand out.

Constantly Interrupting

Listening to people, hearing them out shows that you value their input. It shows that you respect their point of view, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with them, but it is respectful.

Interrupting people is the complete opposite, it’s not only disrespectful it can be downright rude, and those are not qualities that people are looking for managers.


You might think it’s cool to swear. To throw and odd curse word in here and there, but you would be surprised at how many people get turned off by that. Yes, it happens on TV all the time, maybe some of your current bosses and colleagues do it, but there are still many who don’t appreciate it.

Knowing it all

Being knowledgeable is a great quality for a boss, but being a ‘know all’ well that’s a completely different thing. This comes off as arrogant and mentioned before, arrogance is not the same and confidence. In fact, it can come across as a lack of self-confidence, making you look like you need to prove yourself all the time.

Give others the chance to shine, don’t hog the spotlight.
Yes you need to stand out but not every day and not on every topic.

Competition for promotions is tough. Your talents will get you noticed and give you a chance.

But if you can avoid these bad ten habits you will show that you have the attitude to go with the attitude which will significantly increase your chances of landing that promotion.


Article first appreared in Inc, to read the original click here.