Undermining At Work – There are some unwritten rules in professional life. But as they’re not written, very few bother to look deep and find out. Do you think you’re one of them who are quietly undermining themselves without realizing it?
In this article, we will go deep into those unwritten rules and will tell you how they are creating obstacles on your career path. They are tiny, insignificant things that you may not even notice. But you have been doing them without realizing that they are undermining your possibility of having a great career.
Let’s dig in.
Ways you are Undermining Yourself;
When you’re 5-10 minutes late for meetings/appointments
Even if you don’t realize that how 5-10 minutes matter to your colleagues or boss, this insignificant amount of time matters a lot. What if you see that you’re just about to arrive at a meeting and your clock says you’re 5 minutes late! While entering into the room where the meeting is taking place, with wonder in your eyes, you see that all other members are present except you. Rather they’re waiting for you to start the meeting. How would you feel? Yes, we know, it’s not a good feeling. Now think if it happens again and again and again. What your colleagues and boss will think about you? Can they rely upon you? Can they think that when she said she would maintain the deadline she would? No. And that’s where you’re undermining yourself steadily.
Leadership Guru Robin Sharma says – “If you can’t be on time, be early.” A simple solution to this is to set your watch 15 minutes fast and forget about it. You will be always early in all your meetings and appointments.
When you don’t read the agenda before coming for the meeting
You are undermining yourself too much when you don’t take meetings seriously. Yes, meetings don’t have much reputation. But they’re held to solve a problem or brainstorm new ideas. So, it’s mandatory to at least browse through the items that need to be discussed in the meeting. There are few reasons for which you may not care to read through the agenda before any meeting –
- First of all, you’re not that interested in the meeting because there’s no room for you to say or do anything. Instead of undermining yourself by not reading the agenda of the meeting, talk to the host of the meeting and tell her that you have little to say or do in this meeting and you don’t want to join as there are other works which need to be done.
- There are a lot of things on your plate right now and you seem to be juggling with all of them. If this is the case, it’s better to put something off by choice. Otherwise you will be undermining yourself by being jack of all trades while not being the master of anything. Put off works that you don’t need to do. Say sorry if required and pay attention to what’s most important.
- You always have a casual attitude about work. This is dangerous because this will eat up all your reputation and you will be behind always. And soon you will be out of company without realizing why.
When you don’t pay attention
You have been undermining yourself when you’re not paying enough attention to the people who are talking to you in the office. Even when you look at them while they talk, you may not pay attention and everyone gets that. Thus make it a point to tell people when you can’t pay attention. We know that you have a lot of work and you can’t always say no to people. But still it’s worse to pay half-hearted attention than not paying attention at all. Stop undermining yourself by fidgeting with pen and paper, playing with mobile or shaking your toes. You’re undermining yourself because by doing other things while trying to pay attention, you’re also undermining the one who is speaking. Rather pay attention. Listen intently. If you can’t pay attention for any reason, say that politely and do your work.
When you don’t keep your promises
People don’t like people who keep promising but never deliver. And here in professional arena if you’re not keeping your promises you’re actually not sincere about your work. Thus you’re undermining your chances of success. The organization hired you for a reason. It needs something from you. But you don’t work as you promised in the interview room, how would you expect they will treat you? Like a king? Of course not! They will soon show you the exit door. But you’re not realizing now. As breaking promises don’t have any instant failure you
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allow yourself to sit back, relax and break on little promises you did with your colleagues, peers and bosses. Breaking promises is contagious. Thus once you begin, gradually it becomes a habit. And soon you lose yourself in breaking big promises until that day when your boss says that you’re fired. I just illustrated what may happen if you keep on breaking promises. Undermining yourself is of course bad. And you do it by breaking promises. But more than undermining yourself it’s demeaning yourself to your own self. The best way to make amendments is to keep your promise list short. Promise less, deliver more. And don’t promise until you’re more than sure that you can deliver it. Promises are staircases if you imagine trust as a summit.
When your tone of voice is rude
You may say that – Do you think my tone of voice is undermining my career? We will say – Yes, most certainly. If you go through research you would see that almost 93% of our communication is non-verbal. Out of 93%, 38% is our tone of voice. So how you modulate your tone matters a lot. Now for example, how would you differentiate between two of your co-workers who use the same language but speak in completely different manner? You know by discovering the tone of voice. Thus, if you are not able to understand whether you’re undermining yourself through your tone of voice, simply record it whenever you’re speaking in casual occasion. Of course, don’t tell people about it. But just for your own improvement, record your voice and see whether your tone of voice is rude or nasty or not. The only valid tone of voice in professional arena is polite but firm. Being polite is okay, but being feeble is not. Thus you also need to firm in your tone. Otherwise, you will not only be undermining yourself in a professional setting, you will also be undermining your bosses, colleagues and peer groups.
When you maintain no/too much eye contact
No matter what you do, maintaining eye contact is of highest importance in professional area. Why? Because people judge you through your body language more than your words. If you’re not able to maintain your eye contact or maintain too much eye contact, you’re undermining yourself as well as your colleague or boss whoever you’re talking to. Now why maintaining right eye contact is of utter importance? If you maintain solid eye contact, people know that you’ve nothing to hide. It promotes openness and people begin to trust you in their subconscious mind. Until there’s trust, there’s no relationship. Even in case of professional setting, people don’t change. We all are human after all. So, keep your eye contact right. If you’re at any extreme, either too much or too little, do some investigation and research. Do you know that people maintain low eye contact when they’ve low self-esteem? Can you guess that by keeping too much eye contact people feel that you’re staring at them? Find out what makes you do that and then course correct. You won’t like to be undermining your professional appearance simply by looking into others’ eyes too much or not at all.
When you show too much confidence
Anything is good when they’re optimum. But too much of anything is a way of undermining yourself. Take confidence. If you show too much of confidence, then it will ultimately be treated as arrogance. Someone says it so well when she remarks – Confidence and overconfidence is one part of the same coin. When you think only you can do it, it is overconfidence; but when you say that you can do it, it’s confidence. So, whenever you are feeling that you’re the best, think again. Maybe you’re undermining yourself with arrogance. What’s bad about overconfidence is that it not only destroys your reputation, it also ruins the work you can do well. For example, you’re given a work of preparing a presentation. You’ve prepared several presentations before. But thing is now you’re feeling too confident that you declare to yourself – I’m the best in it. And once you’ve that feeling, you will be undermining yourself by your complacent attitude. But what if you’re only confident, you will have an open mind and you will want to learn and get better, so you will improve. So be careful about too much confidence because this is a prescription to undermining yourself in the long run.
When you say yes to everything
When you say yes to everything, all you’re doing is you’re saying no to what’s most important. If you’re of the opinion that everything is important, then you would be wrong because everything on your plate is not required your attention. Only people who say yes to everything has no priority of their work or don’t know how to prioritize or maybe they don’t know how to say no. If you’re one of them who are suffering from ‘yes’ syndrome, then you’re undermining yourself already. You need to find a way to say no gracefully so that you can take time to invest into the most important tasks. It wouldn’t be easy if you have always said to people’s requests and always adhered to all the rules. But start with little things. First say no to things that don’t matter like lunch request, birthday invitation, party invitation, chitchat time and so on. Then gradually strengthen your muscle and say no to slightly bigger things. Within few months you would see that you don’t need to worry much about saying no to people and unwanted requests. Even you will learn how to say no to the tasks that are not as important as the most important tasks are.
When you try to be likeable to everyone
Appeasing is not a good trait. People do that because either they need approval from all others or they don’t feel confident about themselves. If you’re one of those who try to appease everybody, then most probably, you’re undermining yourself professionally. Why? Because by trying to appease other people, you’re not paying heed to who you are. If you approve yourself, you don’t need other people to like you or be fond of you. It’s kind of paradox. When you try more to get the approval of other people, no-one seems to give you approval. But when you don’t care at all about what people think, you get approved without asking. If you’re always trying to appease other people, go on a people-pleasing-fast for a week. Try this – go out and please yourself. Don’t do anything that doesn’t please you even if it will please significant others in the office. You will soon be able to see the difference.
The above are things that most people don’t pay heed to but subconsciously they undermine themselves by thinking that these things are too small. Remember mosquito is too tiny, but when it bites the elephant, it hurts.
Thus pay heed. Don’t ignore these things as insignificant because they’re not. If you ignore these things in the beginning, soon they will accumulate and become prodigious and you wouldn’t even know and they will destroy your reputation, annihilate all your goodwill and will make you the person you never imagined to become.
Simply pick one thing and follow the process mentioned below –
- First, notice. Be self-observant.
- See whether you’ve that problem or not.
- If you don’t have go to the next one.
- But if you’ve this problem, create a plan to improve a little.
- Once you achieve a little, set a higher aim and make an action plan to achieve it again.
- Gradually you will improve.
If you’re observant, you will be able to help yourself get rid of it. Otherwise, you will undermine yourself subconsciously without even realizing it.