One Hundred Annoying Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
We love to idolize entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have ambition. They have a strong work ethic and refuse to accept the ‘status quo.’
Of course, everyone also has their flaws; in fact, results from a recent MSN Zogby data poll found that 20% of workers say that their co-workers have at least one habit that drives them crazy. For many people, bad habits are unconscious. These habits can be dangerous, seeing as they can easily discourage others from working with you. We’ve compiled a list of 100 annoying habits that even the most successful entrepreneurs have been cited for – are any of them yours?
100 Most Annoying Habits
1 Reading Over Someone’s Shoulder
It makes people nervous for no reason, don’t do it.
2 Sending Spam Email
Spam makes up for 45% of all emails sent globally. Spam has decreased public trust in the internet, so sending spam emails can affect trust between co-workers.
3 Not Enough Eye Contact
Shy. Tired. Lying. These are the three words associated with lack of eye contact. Don’t have them associated with you.
4 Too Much Eye Contact
It can be hard to tell if you’re making too much eye contact. A good resolution to the eye contact issue is to look at the space right between someone’s eyes. This way, you look engaged without staring right into the pupils.
5 Taking Unreasonable Risks
Sure, risks are necessary…but be responsible.
6 Awkward Body Language
One of the things we learned from Seinfeld is that nobody likes a “close talker.”
7 Using a Few “Key” Words Repeatedly
“Like, one time I went to this restaurant and like it was really cool. They had like really great decor and their food was like amazing.” …Annoying, isn’t it?
8 “Air Quotes”
You are not Steve Martin doing stand up. No one wants you to air quote.
9 Bad Grammar
Bad grammar happens, but it shouldn’t be a habit. It’s not bad for an individual, but for a business bad grammar can be debilitating.
10 Loud Typing and Clicking
11 Constant Worry
Entrepreneurs dare to walk paths which only little travel down. Chronic worry can be destructive. See why here.
In the Zogby study, 15% of workers said that their colleagues constant complaining drove them crazy.
13 Being Boring
More than just an incorporated community in Oregon, boring is a characteristic which is entrepreneurial suicide.
14 Being Conceited
“Ego has a voracious appetite, the more you feed it, the hungrier it gets.” – Nathaniel Bronner
15 Presentations With No Pizzaz
The human brain can maintain focus on a presentation for roughly seven minutes. In order to make the most of that short time, try following this presentation format featured in Forbes.
16 Being Insincere
As Oscar Wilde put it, “What people call insincerity is simply a method by which we can multiply our personalities. ” When you’ve gotten this far by being yourself, why change entirely?
17 Seeing The Glass As Half Empty
Being pessimistic can make you a real pain to work with. By constantly preparing yourself for the worst, you may find trouble inspiring yourself and others to push forward in any endeavor. Check out this site to help gauge your pessimism.
18 Being Uptight
Even if you’re just chewing gum, the sound can be incredibly distracting to the ear on the other end of the receiver.
20 Being Condescending
A problem with an easy fix. How to stop being a condescending person.
21 Not Answering Emails or Texts.
Email Etiquette Tip #6 as Defined by Emailreplies.com
An email or a text message signals that the sender is expecting a quick response, so respond quickly you must. If the situation is complicated, and it may take longer than one business day for you to respond, send out a quick confirmation that you received the original text and will be following up with a more detailed response at a later time.
22 “I Don’t Mind,” “I Don’t Know”
If you find yourself saying these two phrases a lot, you’re coming off as lacking confidence. Check out “10 Ways to Instantly Build Self Confidence.“
23 Not Saying Anything
This habit can include those who never have anything to say, and those who always talk, yet fail to ever arrive to a point. Improve this habit by writing down your ideas as you have them; you’ll be better prepared to communicate them.
24 Too Many Lists
In attempts to stay organized and productive, the most natural response is to create a list. When we go shopping, we create a list of what to buy, when we work, we create a list of tasks. This method works, but only if done well. We’ve found that the Ta-da Lists app brings the to-do list to the modern era.
25 Visiting Unannounced
Respect the schedules of those who you work with. It’s always worth it to invest the extra effort to notify.
26 Repetitive Throat Clearing
While it is completely normal to clear one’s throat every now and again, doing so constantly can seriously disturb those around you. If you find yourself needing to clear your throat several time each hour, talk to your doctor about Chronic Throat Clearing.
27 Pausing Every Few Seconds
For solutions, see #22 & #23
28 Stating the Obvious
Making a habit out of saying what everyone already knows can effect the value of your words.
29 Taking Themselves too Seriously
“A sense of humor is no longer a desired trait in the business world – it’s a required trait!” says Nick Arnette, comedian and speaker who encourages clean humor in the workplace as a way to improve efficiency and reduce stress.
30 Surrounding Themselves With People Just Like Them
31 Trying to Always be the Salesman
This short article highlights the importance of offering you’re customers the kind of value that they can’t get from a sale.
32 Annoying Ringtones
Don’t be a Carl.
34 Smelling Like an Ashtray
Everyone knows that smoking is a terrible habit. Smoking before work or a meeting leaves the smell of the smoke lingering on your clothes and in your hair. You may not notice, but others around you will. Keep the smoking until after work.
35 Emailing ‘Reply all’ Unnecessarily
Not everyone is going to find the same news as important as you are. Make sure to take the time to send the appropriate emails to the right recipients.
If you’re not in a conference call with a group of people, keep the conversation private. A great alternative to speakerphone is bluetooth. Check out our review of the Jawbone ICON Headset.
37 Popping up out of Nowhere
More people than you might think are extremely sensitive to being scared or suddenly surprised. Such people can spend days being sick after one incident of being sneaked up on. For others, being disturbed this way is just plain annoying.
38 Making Your Business Their Business
An exchange of personal information between co-workers should always be mutual. Telling too much burdens others and can make them feel uncomfortable in your company. See what we mean here.
39 Inviting Themselves to Everything
40 Punishing The Messenger
Oftentimes, those who take out their frustrations on the bearers of bad news become increasingly left out on important info. Gee, I wonder why.
41 Making Excuses
Habitually making excuses can harm your credibility. Check out this unbelievable list.
42 Clinging to the Past
More than an interpersonal mistake, clinging to the past can also prove to be bad business, see what we mean here.
43 Playing Favorites
If you have a team of employees, it’s perfectly natural, and okay to have a favorite. After all, good business is built upon trusting relationships and closeness. What is not okay however, is allowing your favoritism to interfere with fairness.
44 Refusing to Express Regret
Apologizing does not mean that you’ve lost a contest, or that you’re a weak leader. Apologizing is a major component of leadership, and if done correctly it can show that you are a mature, confident person. A good apology should always be done in person, face to face, and with true sincerity.
Extroverts are more likely to experience problems with interrupting others. To an extrovert, often their ideas do not seem real until they’ve been released from the mind. If you find that you have this problem, try carrying a small notebook with you to every meeting so that you can write down your ideas as they come to mind.
46 Not Listening Carefully
Hearing is a physical ability, listening is a skill. By learning how to effectively listen, you will find it easier to communicate with others.
47 Failing to Express Gratitude
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy
48 Taking Up Too Much Space
Part of being a good co-worker is your respect for others work. Personal space is very important. Remember to keep your work area neat and respect others areas as well.
49 Passing the Buck
In a professional setting, everyone always wants to put their best foot forward. This can make it hard for some people to accept a fault when they do something wrong. Passing blame can be very hazardous to relations between workers and hierarchy. What’s more is that this habit stunts professional growth as the ‘buck-passers’ do not get the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
50 Being Overly Critical
If done correctly, criticism can be a rather productive. However, being overly critical of someone can be dangerous. It is important to reevaluate situations in order to ensure that you are getting a clear picture of what is going on before you make any statements.
Stealing work or ideas is illegal, and highly frowned upon. Leave the copying to Fed Ex.
52 Cutting Corners
Don’t get so lost in ‘getting ahead’ that you end up going in an entirely different direction.
53 White Lies
White lies are innocent fibs which can buy you more time, or ease a hectic situation. However, making a habit of telling such lies can turn into a real issue and can significantly damage your credibility.
54 Finishing Peoples Sentences
Interrupting someone to finish their sentence is only okay when they can’t find the words to say and are obviously struggling getting a point across. Otherwise, it is interpreted as rude and careless. Visit this blog to help you learn how to curb this bad habit.
55 Stealing Parking Spot/Desk/ Chair, etc.
Remember, what goes around comes around.
56 The Overwhelming Desire to add 2 Cents to Every Discussion
57 Misrepresentation of Oneself
If you’re misrepresenting yourself, you’re potentially making your job much harder than it needs to be. Keeping honest is a sure-fire way to keep you stress-free.
58 Not Replacing Things They Take
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill
59 Not Turning off TV/Music When Someone Visits
…It’s distracting to your visitor and shows no respect for their presence.
60 Playing Loud Music
It’s tough news to swallow, but not everyone loves your taste in music. Lucky for you, high-quality headphones are affordable and stylish. More importantly, they cancel noise. Check out these earbud headphones.
61 The Need to Win at all Costs in all Situations
62 Adding Too Much Value
As entrepreneurs, the skill of being able to add value translates into a wider range of opportunities for you and your company. However, those who make a habit out of adding too much value risk being held accountable when the chips don’t quite stack up as promised.
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” -David Bok
64 Passing Judgement
It is important to remember that we all are diverse and live different lifestyles. Keep your feelings on issues of judgement to yourself and only disclose them when asked to by a superior.
65 Making Destructive Comments
Making negative statements not only harms the workplace environment, in Marshall Goldsmith’s office, it can cost you. He focuses on turning a negative into a positive by fining workers for destructive comments and giving that money to charity.
66 “No,” “But,” “However”
Using these negative qualifiers in a conversation to make a response can make you come off as conceited and aggressive.
Usually, this annoying habit is caused by anxiousness and stress. If you’re experiencing both of these at work, take a break to relax. If the problem persists, consult this handy guide which outlines “Ten Ways to Relaxify Your Workspace.”
68 Withholding Information
69 Failing to Give Proper Recognition
Learn how to give ‘props’.
Props, short for Propers, -Don’t forget that the entire word “propers” is used in the song “Respect”, written by Otis Redding and most famously recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1967. At least, I think it is (“all I’m askin’ in return honey is to give me my propers when I get home.”)
70 Taking too Much Credit
If eavesdropping is a problem in your workspace, check out Babble. This gadget will leave you feeling secure about the confidentiality of private conversations.
Remember: “If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.” -The Talmud
73 Unnecessary Sarcasm
To many, sarcasm is a foreign language. It can be really hard to decode and can easily offend or hurt someone.
When it comes to resolving conflict, most recommend to avoid conflict in the first place. This is incredibly unrealistic advice. In fact, avoiding conflict will put a strain on business and failing to address issues as they appear encourages them to grow into even worse problems. When confronting an issue, the key thing to remember is that the goal is not winning, but is rather to compromise. Peter Suber offers great strategy advice in his article “Stages of Argument.”
Check out how these four women in New Hampshire were fired for gossiping.
76 Kissing and Telling
In this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep private information well…private. Help yourself along by not offering up any information about certain issues. Even if you are just chatting around the water-cooler, information has a way of getting around quickly.
77 Name Dropping
In “Deconstructing Name Dropping” we learn that the act can help you look established and experienced with your chosen field. However, those who often name drop are seen as conceited and pretentious.
78 One Upmanship
Trying to be better than the next company is a fantastic plan, and competition is indeed a great motivator. However, there is a fine line between significant progress and mindless one upmanship.
79 Walking Down Memory Lane too Often
Sure, sharing past experiences can be a great way to learn something new, but those who excessively dwell on the past are purposely avoided and left out of conversations.
80 Being Jealous
Jealousy is a perfectly natural emotion. However, as with anything, jealousy can be destructive if it’s too bold. Learn how to curb your jealousy in order to avoid problematic situations.
81 Abusing Social Media
Updating your status every 5 minutes is not the only way to abuse social media. In fact, Monica O’Brien found “13 Ways Entrepreneurs Abuse Social Media Tools.“
82 Hosting a Meeting With the Same Staff Every 5 Minutes
Giving in to panic during stressful situations reflects several negative character traits such as lacking confidence and being too sensitive. Keep calm when times get tough.
84 Personal Hygiene in Public
The office is no place to floss your teeth or style your hair. Take a short break to relocate such activities to the restroom. Your co-workers will be glad that you did.
85 Working Too Hard
There’s a reason why work is a daily thing – it takes time to finish. Focus on quality over quantity and maintain an appropriate pace while finishing work. Also, don’t make a habit out of working overtime. While it’s good to put in some extra effort, making a habit of it can leave you burnt-out and overly stressed.
86 Changing Contact Information Too Often
To avoid permanently losing contact with others, make sure to collect contact info as you distribute your own. Then, keep a manual record of this information. This way, if your number/ email ever does need to abruptly change, you’ll have a complete list to fall back on. You’ll also be able to use that list to contact others and keep them updated.
87 Eating Smelly Food
88 Turning a Phone Completely Off During a Workday
During the past 10 years, the use of mobile communication in the business world has significantly grown. Since the status of a business now moves faster, the need to have the leaders of such businesses readily available has become common protocol. Completely turning off your phone during lunch, a cigarette break, or a trip to the restroom can keep you closed off from activity and a potential emergency.
89 Ignoring the Dress Code
“In general, business casual means dressing professionally, looking relaxed yet neat, and pulled together.” -Monster.com
90 Falling Off of the Map After Reaching Success
You may have recognized that after some small businesses receive a large investment or an important distinction, they almost immediately fall off of the map. Could it be that these businesses are knuckling down and getting to work? …hope so.
91 Short Temper
Whether you’re the one with the temper, or you’re simply trying to deal with an ill-tempered person, the most important thing to remember is that engaging in argument is the worst thing that you can do. See #74.
92 Being Anxious
93 Rejecting Faults vs. Working on Them
In #50 we discussed how to give constructive criticism, but what do you do when you’re on the receiving end? Check out “7 Guidelines For Accepting Constructive Criticism.“
A very destructive habit, procrastinating can be annoying to not only the victims, but the perpetrators as well. The first step to addressing procrastination is to identify the problem, and implement ‘checkpoints’ in tasks. This will help gauge how much work should be done at any given point.
95 Being Lazy
Laziness and work go together like oil and water. Put these “18 Ways to Stay Focused at Work” to use, and get more done.
96 Being Shy
It’s okay to be a shy person. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs describe themselves as shy people. To make your shyness work for you, rather than against you, learn how to shake it when necessary. The easiest step to take is letting people know that you’re shy. This up front info will help strangers interpret your personality more accurately. Secondly, keep conversation topics handy – find some here.
Amazon.com offers a great read: “Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.” Available for download on the Kindle for only $9.99.
98 Chronic Lateness
“The Chronically Late have their reasons, but the price can be high.“ Dealing with lateness sometimes requires a negotiation between both parties. If you do find yourself constantly late, there are a few ways to improve your habit.
Using ‘sailor talk’ in the office has been cited for relieving stress and promoting camaraderie among members of an office. While this may be true, businesses are supposed to be places of refinement, more importantly professionalism. If you must curse, keep your use of colorful words to a minimum, and only around those who you closely know and trust.
Much like cursing, flirting in the office is not without its positive impact. Several university studies have shown that a little extra workplace friendliness increases energy, positive attitude and can therefore have an indirect impact on professional performance. But this is an area where you have to put your maturity and experience to work. Keep your words/actions appropriate and discrete enough to avoid disturbing or offending fellow co-workers. Or landing you in a law suit.