Maybe it’s just the profession I’m in or the era in which we live, but I’ve always been intrigued by the way co-workers have viewed themselves. Frankly, I must have worked around optimistic people because by and large, they seemed to have an inflated sense of their talent, skills and value. I rarely have come across people who were actually better than they thought. As the years pass and I meet more people, I’ve come to the conclusion that people need to think of themselves as good at their jobs if they are going to be productive at all. A measured ego is important, if only to serve as motivation.
Now, along comes John M. McKee with his “7 Deadly Workplace Sins,” applying centuries-old Christian values to a modern job setting. McKee, a career coach and author of books such as 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot (Wheatmark, 2006) and the just-released e-book Career Wisdom, tweaks us with self-observations we all should be taking from time to time. See what you learn about yourself in his list of workplace sins.
Pride. When was the last time you took full credit for a project you did with others? It happens all the time. Bosses take credit for the work of those around them or co-workers want the glory for themselves. Next time, getting grassroots support from those around you might not be so easy.
Envy. The biggest problem with envying the success of a co-worker is that you damage your self-esteem, which is vital characteristic all successful people seem to share. Let envy serve as a motivational and positive force in your work. Don’t let it consume you.
Anger. There is nothing productive about anger. It can impair your objectivity, poise and self-control. Plus, it makes those around you uncomfortable and doesn’t do your reputation any benefit.
Greed. Greed is a powerful motivator, so strong that it often impairs the judgment of otherwise reasonable people. Workers figure out sooner or later that careers and reputations are built a day at a time and the aggregate total spells success.
Sloth. You probably don’t need any reminder in today’s workplace that you have to bring value to the table every day, or pretty soon your chair will be taken away. Past accomplishments are great, but they don’t give you a license to coast today.
Gluttony. Just because you see a corporate ladder doesn’t mean you have to take the steps three at a time. In fact, there are probably reasons for each step. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to move up the ladder, just climb at a reasonable pace so when you get up to where you want, you’re prepared to stay there.
Lust. All successes can’t be yours and don’t get fixated on thinking that success by others is your loss. Co-workers admire those who congratulate others and go back to pursuing their own successes. Wanting someone else’s success as your own is not healthy.
An honest self-assessment is important as a gauge of how you are doing and what your co-workers think of you. Nobody will score perfectly in this evaluation, but it can serve an important reminder of the role you hold in your workplace.