3 Habits That Destroy Credibility in the Workplace

No matter where you are in your career path, your professional habits could always use an overhaul. Your habits in the workplace can influence your success both now and in your future roles. Positive habits can help you build and maintain credibility, while less constructive habits can hinder relationships and influence. In this article, we’ll go over 3 particularly problematic habits.

3 Habits That Destroy Credibility in the Workplace


Procrastination shows up in some form or other for most people. Some people work best under an encroaching deadline, but working preferences aside, being known as a procrastinator at work can be harmful to your reputation if not handled properly.

Superiors and coworkers might not want to give time-sensitive projects to you if they see you cannot handle crises well or mismanage your time. These types of projects can typically lead to raises or greater influence in your position. 

Although it’s important to fix any problematic habits, it’s equally important to be self-aware of how and why you delay projects. Adjust your communication style and pre-planning to match your preferences. For instance, if you prefer to work under pressure, that’s fine, but make sure you don’t back yourself into a corner or allow for zero delays. Don’t complain about your stress level or call in favors to people who know you put things off until the last minute. Not only is this unprofessional, but it also makes people lose confidence in your abilities. Like everything else at work, plan out the ideal process so you can be effective within your preferences.

Apologizing Too Often

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place to apologize. Apologies for anything and everything (no matter the issue) can contribute to your colleague’s thinking you can’t handle the regular job duties. This can also affect your own confidence.

Over-apologizing is especially common with women, as they tend to define offenses more broadly than men, causing them to apologize more often.

Run an audit on your apologies; understanding where and when you choose to do so (and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your colleagues as well). Being mindful of this habit will help you to determine when it’s best to apologize and when it’s best to reframe your response to something more positive and productive for all involved.

Overusing Internal Jargon or Unnecessarily Complicated Language

If you’ve ever worked in a client-facing role, you’ll recognize the confusion they have when you casually use internal jargon to explain a solution. Nothing causes a rift faster than unintentionally confusing someone.

Contrary to what might be considered a display of intelligence, leaving people guessing at your meaning is detrimental to your overall credibility. In missing what you say, you lose control of the conversation and ultimately people might take your word choice as evidence that you’re trying to cover for lack of expertise. Even if this is the case, and you’re still learning your position, creating a communication barrier isn’t beneficial for anyone.

Focus on simplifying and organizing your communication style so that anyone can understand what you’re saying. Evaluate if the words you’re using are really necessary in getting your point across, and if not, what can you use instead?



If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the habits above, it’s best to start with self-awareness. Understanding how others perceive you is a great first step in getting rid of any bad habits you might have:

  • Ask your coworkers and friends for help! - They might have some great constructive feedback for you. Be open and curious, and appreciative of their honesty. 
  • Take notes! - Pick a habit you want to change and monitor how it comes up in your day-to-day life (whether at work or in your personal life). This can help you understand both how it comes up, and how you can refrain from it next time.
  • Involve your manager. - This can be particularly helpful as it can help you with accountability in your growth. Use your manager as a resource and it will benefit everyone.
  • Be patient. - Habits don’t change overnight. Make sure to celebrate the progress you make and don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up.
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