The Greatest Mistake People Make in the Workplace

September 30, 2011 by  Filed under: Management 

For some people, the biggest mistake they could possibly make at their job would be not working hard enough. As long as they spend a grueling 12+ hour days in the office, they think they’re set. The fact is, nothing could be farther from the truth. Just because you’re working harder doesn’t mean you’re getting ahead. To get ahead, you need to avoid making a mistake that a lot of corporate newbies tend to make. What am I talking about? Nothing more than lacking good, old fashioned character.

Think about it. How many people do you know that lack character? You know, the kind of people who would just as easily push you front of a bus if it serves their own greed. Chances are you can name at least a couple of people who live like that. And believe it or not, they probably aren’t your bosses.

This is because of a simple fundamental principle:

Lack of Character Means Lack of Promotions

As I said, contrary to popular belief, most upper level (read: NOT middle management) bosses have incredible character. That’s what allows them to succeed in life. If you’re one of the people – and there are many – that are on the fence as to whether you should be as honest as Abraham Lincoln or try to cheat your way through your job, consider the following quote:

“The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” – J. Carla Nortcutt

Most people who have incredible amounts of success didn’t get where they are accidentally. They followed certain principles and had very solid character. If you’ve ever had the good fortune of having a boss who made you feel good and respected you, then chances are you’ve met a person who lived by the above quote.

People who internalize these sort of principles are the people who are most often seen as fit to ascend the corporate ladder and get promotions. The lesson is simple: if you want to be promoted, then have rock solid integrity.

But that’s not the only reason to have great character.

Poor Character Means Poor Work Relationships

If there’s one thing that will quagmire you into the depths of lower level corporate hell, it’s not getting along with your coworkers. One thing that we humans have built into us is a rather elaborate “snake detection system”. We intuitively know when someone is lying to us and not watching out for our best interests.

If you’re one of those people, then chances are that everyone around you knows – even if they aren’t telling you. And you can bet that their relationship with you will be forced at best, and extremely negative at worst. This means no one is going to work with you or try to help you, which is absolutely essential for any job.

As you can see, having great character really pays. There’s no excuse not to develop that kind of integrity in yourself. All you need is a solid plan and a little practice.

If you want some powerful tips on how to gain integrity, then check out my article: how to build character

Fred Tracy runs a personal development website where he shares his insights and quirky stories. He is practical and eclectic, borrowing ideas from psychology, spirituality, and common sense, among many other sources. All of this information is distilled into articles with the sole purpose of this: teaching you, the reader, to live consciously and achieve the life of your dreams.

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