Often at work, we run on autopilot, course-correcting when we get specific feedback that requires a change of approach.
However, that sort of direct, specific and valuable feedback is dependent on the people you work with and the performance culture of your organisation.
My own experience is that the quality bar for effective feedback is low and, as a result, most of us continue with our own working practices, without someone holding that mirror up to us.
As a result, many of us exhibit behaviours day in and day out that are holding us back.
Some of these things are so subtle that you might not even realise you’re doing them. I’ve had my radar on alert for these behaviours for a while now, both in terms of my own performance and that of people in my team, and I’m seeing some common themes.
These themes aren’t the obvious things that you might have had feedback on before, but I imagine you fall victim to at least one of them.
1. Not asking for help
For some people, there is an ingrained belief that asking for help is an indication that you aren’t capable. It is linked to the idea of having a ‘fixed mindset’ (for more on this, watch Carol Dweck’s TED presentation below) and it’s a real blocker to people’s development.
Asking for help has many benefits. It draws on the strength and knowledge of others, it invites collaboration and it shows humility.
Operating with the ambition of knowing everything so you don’t need help is a career limiter.
Think about the last time you asked for help. If you’re drawing a blank you may be operating in your safety zone or it may be an indication of a confidence issue that you may need to focus on.
2. Saying sorry (a lot)
Several years ago, a mentor told me about a habit she had got into of saying ‘sorry’ every night to her team when she left the office at 5pm to pick up her children.
She received some direct feedback from a peer that this made her seem unconfident about the boundaries she had put in place.
Similarly, I have found myself falling into the ‘sorry’ trap, running from meeting to meeting or replying with it over email when my response is later than I would have liked.
Obviously, there are times when ‘sorry’ is required, but say…