Habits to Get You Hired or Fired

Jeff Cochran


The quality of employees boils down to two things: they must perform efficiently and work well with others. Mastering these two traits requires discipline. Pouring a lot of effort into creating good habits will cause an employee’s performance improvement to be noticed, increasing the likelihood of getting hired or promoted. Likewise, bad habits may get employees disciplined, demoted, or fired.

Good Employee Habits 

  1. Repeat your boss’s words. Supervisors are often unsure if employees really understand and accept their instructions. The simplest listening tactic that communicates understanding is to repeat instruction in your own words. This gives your boss the assurance that you know how to do your job well.
  2. Anticipate requests. Instead of doing the minimum, do the maximum. You probably have a decent idea of what your boss wants you to do next without them telling you. The more you act responsibly without forcing supervisors to micromanage you, the more they will respect you and favor your service.
  3. Build relationships. Supervisors like a team player who works well with them and with other employees. Put some effort into small talk and build connections that will improve your work environment and productivity. Fostering good relationships at work can carry over into personal life, which is often encouraged by management when possible. 

Bad Employee Habits 

  1. Triggering your boss’ pet peeves. Everyone has irrational behaviors. When supervisors exhibit these, employees tend to respond in bitterness and resentment instead of humility and forgiveness. Instead of resenting your boss and intentionally provoking them or doing things your own way behind their back, consider their pet peeves as opportunities. If you are the only employee who successfully communicates empathy in this area and does not anger your boss, they will notice and favor you.
  2. “That’s not the way we’ve always done it.” This is one of the most crippling bad habits. The lack of willingness to think creatively or change one’s routine causes employees to resist changes in instruction. Instead of reacting with bitterness at the inconvenience, change your mind and be eager to win your boss’ favor through quick adaptation.
  3. Exploiting benefits. You’ve got free coffee in the break room or have an allotted time for breaks. Exploiting these and pushing your boundaries doesn’t go unnoticed as you may think. Continuing to abuse benefits may cause supervisors to enact stricter policies, decreasing your freedoms. Treat your freedoms responsibly and they will expand.

When you stick out as one of the few employees who has a good relationship with management, anticipates requests, follows direction, and doesn’t exploit benefits, your supervisors will notice and may give you added freedoms or privileges.

7 Tips on Maintaining Motivation

Jeff Cochran


To be honest, even the most exciting jobs have times of drudgery and boredom. Many factors on and off the job may kill motivation, and productivity with it. How does an employer or employee boost his or her own motivation and keep production efficient?

Negotiations Work Desk Apple

1. Reduce stress. Think about things in your life that cause stress and start working on them. Relationships may need more attention to fix problems. Obstacles at work may need to be delegated to someone else. Employees can inform supervisors they’re struggling to be productive in certain tasks; usually they will offer help in some way. Engage in stress-relieving activities. Lighten your workload and cut down your busy schedule.

2. Boost confidence. Motivation is often killed by lack of confidence. Sure, you’re not good at everything; nobody is. Don’t let being normal get you down. Instead of thinking about your failures all the time, think about your successes. Employees may ask their supervisors to be reassigned to tasks more suited for their skills. Keep the conversation going and find encouragement in other employees.

3. Take criticism constructively. Nothing kills motivation more than criticism. When you receive it, write it down. Think about whether it is true and either accept it or deny its ability to get you down. Corrections are often given with good motives, but people are not always the best at wording things gently. Give people the benefit of the doubt and be thankful for the feedback. Many people covet good feedback and instruction for improvement.

4. Challenge yourself. When the task is boring, make a game of it. Set a time-sensitive goal, trying to get a certain amount accomplished by lunchtime or the end of the day. When break time comes, reward your success. If you failed, keep the challenge going. Keep setting new personal records and chart them out. As you see yourself improve, this chart can be a reminder of your abilities that boosts your confidence.

5. Maintain momentum. When you are on a roll with some good speed and quality, don’t entertain the temptation to take a break. Rewarding yourself too early can be counter-productive. Keep the momentum up and push through for a bigger self-reward later.

6. Don’t complain. There’s always something to complain about. This is a broken world and everybody has problems, including you. Don’t dwell on them or speak of them to others or you will kill the motivation of yourself and your coworkers. Thinking often about problems causes bitterness to fester and decreases your job satisfaction. Fight temptation by immediately thinking of the positive side. It will be hard at first because you’re in the habit of noticing inconveniences more easily than blessings, but changing this habit will help you maintain motivation.

7. Keep Good Company. Friends gravitate toward each other based on common experiences and interests. That’s why complainers seek each other out and collectively decrease each other’s motivation. Those who work hard, think positively about their work environment, and spend their conversation swapping jokes and stories will keep a higher motivation throughout their day, workweek, and career.

Change your disposition through these practices and help others do the same. These behaviors are their own reward, and as you enjoy them you’ll become more pleasant to others. Hopefully, your new habits will be contagious and affect your entire team of employees.