With the new year well under way, this is an excellent time to expunge work habits that irritate coworkers and make you less effective.

Here are nine habits you can do without, starting now:


1. Doing the Bare Minimum

If you accept a task, you owe it to yourself and to others to make your best effort. If you don’t want to do something, have the courage to refuse the task. Doing a half-assed job is just being passive-aggressive.


2. Telling Half-Truths

Honesty is the best policy. However, if you’re afraid to speak the truth, it’s cowardice to tell a half-truth that’s intended to mislead but leaves you “plausible deniability.”


3. Participating in Finger-Pointing

Few human behaviors are more pointless than fixing blame. In business, it’s usually irrelevant who’s at fault when something goes wrong. What’s important is how to avoid making the same mistakes again.


4. Bucking Accountability

Finger-pointing is common in business because some people aren’t willing to admit their mistakes. If you’re going to take credit for your accomplishments, you must also take credit for your failures. The two go hand in hand.


5. Hating on Successful People

When you direct your hate at success, you’re telling yourself that being successful means being hated. Since nobody in their right mind wants to be hated, you’ll subconsciously sabotage yourself so that people will continue to like you.


6. Committing Schadenfreude

Taking a secret pleasure in the failures of others makes your own success less likely. You end up gloating over what other people did wrong, rather than doing whatever it takes to make yourself more successful.


7. Engaging in Workplace Gossip

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” When you spread gossip, you’re identifying yourself as small-minded and also showing that you can’t be trusted to keep secrets.


8. Creating Your Own Stress

While work may be stressful, you make it worse when you fail to disconnect on a regular basis. Rather than answer yet another email, take a walk, read a book, or listen to some music. Turn off your phone when you go to bed; whatever it is, it can wait.


9. Giving or Accepting Flattery

An honest compliment is always welcome, but flattery truly gets you nowhere. When you flatter, everyone knows that you’re brown-nosing. Similarly, when you accept flattery, you’re marking yourself as gullible and self-absorbed.


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