Slay Those Bad Habits

Once you become aware of a bad habit, the work has just begun because you now have to consciously take steps to get rid of it.  Every situation is different so the actions you take will also be different.

Suppose that you have been told that you talk over people in conversations and in meetings.  Initially, you may not believe it and may need to prove to yourself that you have that habit. In this case, you could get a small voice-activated recorder.  Simply take it to meetings and record the proceedings.  That evening, you can replay the recordings you have made.  Approach this activity clinically.  Try to remove your defensive feelings.  Just listen as though you were an impartial observer. Once you have done this, you may be surprised at how prevalent that habit is for you.  Your co-worker would never have approached you about it unless they felt that it was more than a minor problem.  They believe it is affecting your work and the way that you are perceived in the work place.

If you still feel that you don’t have that particular habit, you can ask the co-worker who mentioned it to you for some examples.  You can enlist their help as coach.  They can give you some signal when they believe you are doing it in meetings or in conversations.  Maybe they could pull on their ear or something.

Talking over people means that you are not listening.  Taking the recorder to meetings will serve as a reminder to you to be conscious of this problem.  That little reminder may be enough to help you eliminate or reduce that bad habit but you can do other things as well.  Force yourself to mentally count to three after someone finishes speaking before you start speaking.  You can ask ‘Can I respond now?’ which allows the speaker to set the pace of the conversation.  The important point is that you do something to address the problem.  You may not get any direct feedback but as the problem dissipates, people will begin responding to you in a more positive way.

Correcting bad habits takes time and effort on your part but it actually represents an investment you are making in yourself.  You will be a better consultant.  Your professionalism will increase.  You will better represent yourself and your company in the workplace.  That sounds like great return on the investment of your time and effort.




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