The 7 deadly sins of the workplace

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

 We all know the 7 Deadly sins, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride, are practices that are usually best avoided in daily life. But what are the "7 Deadly Sins of the Workplace" and how can committing these "sins" affect your career?

This week, we will explain the "7 Deadly Sins of the Workplace" and reveal the results of our recent poll on the perceived career impact of these "sins," complete with some of our readers' real life examples from their jobs. 

Lust

Desperately wanting a coworker's job

Users who admit to committing this sin: 12.1%

A little ambition is healthy, but obsessing over a specific position or worse, coveting your coworker's job, can seriously hurt your career.

This kind of obsession can damage your relationship with not only the coworker whose job you are after, but other coworkers who might feel threatened by this behavior.

Even more important is the possibility that by focusing on a particular position you might miss out on other opportunities for advancement that might be even more advantageous. 

Lust

Most popular answer:

57.4%
say it
“Can cause friction with your coworkers”


Reader Pet Peeve:
"What bothers me the most is the fact that you are hired for a position that you are qualified for due to your experience and education, and your co-workers are angry because they feel that they should have the job due to their employment record with the company. Often they will even try to sabotage you."

Gluttony

Not knowing how to delegate or when to ask for help

Users who admit to committing this sin: 53.0%

It may seem like a good idea to play the hero. After all the more important tasks you undertake the more valuable you will seem to your superiors, right? Not always. If those tasks are not done correctly, or on time, this kind of behavior can be very damaging. Learn how to share the work with others and to admit when you have taken on too much.

Gluttony

Not knowing how to delegate or when to ask for help

Most popular answer:

47.2%
say it
“Can be job ending”


Reader Pet Peeve:
"Coworkers who won't delegate or wait until it is too late to delegate which creates tension between the delegator and the person because the work has to be rushed." 

Greed

Not giving credit to the contributions of your coworkers

Users who admit to committing this sin: 7.3%

It may be tempting to make yourself seem more valuable to your employers by downplaying the contributions of others as compared to your own achievements, but remember that you will need help on future projects. Those who have witnessed or heard about your past behavior might be less eager to give you their all in the future. 

Greed

Not giving credit to the contributions of your coworkers

Most popular answer:

77.2%
say it
“Can cause friction with your coworkers”


Reader Pet Peeve:
"Recently, I made a recommendation that saved the company approximately $20k. It was presented at several meetings and at no time was it mentioned that I made the recommendation and that I was actually executing the new process. All of the credit was given to the Director of the department."

Sloth

Being unprepared or not doing your research

Users who admit to committing this sin: 40.8%

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When you are unprepared to do your job you will bring your whole team down. 

Sloth

Being unprepared or not doing your research

Most popular answer:

67.0%
say it
“Can be job ending”


Reader Pet Peeve:
"It really bothers me when people do not try to help themselves and expect that because they asked a question, others will do the whole project and research for them."

Wrath

Losing your temper in the office

Users who admit to committing this sin: 46.3%

Everyone gets angry in the office from time to time. What matters is how an individual deals with that anger. When someone pushes your buttons take a minute to think about the situation. Venting right away may make you feel better, but it can be very damaging. 

Wrath

Losing your temper in the office

Most popular answer:

53.4%
say it
“Can be job ending”


Reader Pet Peeve:
"I had a coworker with a bad temper that yelled at me and belittled me for months. He went and yelled at a few managers and was fired a few days later."         

Envy

Getting angry when coworkers are recognized for their achievements

Users who admit to committing this sin: 11.2%

Everyone can get jealous. A little jealousy can push you to work harder, but too much jealousy can cause a person to sabotage the overall success of their company. Remember your coworkers are part of your team. An achievement by one should be a win for everyone.

Envy

Getting angry when coworkers are recognized for their achievements

Most popular answer:

58.2%
say it
“Can cause friction with your coworkers”


Reader Pet Peeve:
"What bothers me most is when a co-worker (or a group of co-workers) exhibits jealous and/or spiteful behavior toward another co-worker because of their personal or professional achievements." 

Pride

Over-promising so much that you work long hours and/or miss deadlines

Users who admit to committing this sin: 45.1%

While it is a good idea to give your all in the work you do, it is essential to know your own limits. When you promise more than you can deliver you will either deliver poor quality work or miss your deadlines.

Pride

Over-promising so much that you work long hours and/or miss deadlines

Most popular answer:

53.7%
say it
“Can be job ending”

Reader Pet Peeves:
"Having coworkers who don't know how to delegate and over-promise so much that they miss deadlines. "

"Directors and VPs who make commitments without understanding the involvement, costs, or available resources"

Thanks to everyone for taking this survey. Next week we will take a more positive look at office behaviors when we review the "7 Noble Virtues of the Workplace" and reveal the results of our recent survey on Good Karma in the Office.

Did your pet peeve not make it into this article? Tweet about it! We're listening.

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