Management Tip of the Day: Two steps to changing bad habits

Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:50am EDT
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BOSTON (Reuters) - The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and ( Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

We all have bad work habits -- checking email during meetings, insisting on being right, multitasking to the point of accomplishing nothing.

Changing these behaviors is difficult. Even if you can go a few days on good behavior, it's likely the bad habits will return. Here are two steps to achieving long-term behavior change and getting rid of bad habits for good:

Create useful fear.

You know that bad habits are bad, but do you truly understand their impact on others and your career? Picture what your review will say if you continually show disrespect for others during meetings. Imagine that you may be left out of important future meetings. The fear will help you stop.

Find the reward.

Stopping the behavior is the first step. Now you need to find a reason to not let it return. Enjoy the pleasure of being fully present in a meeting. Discover how much more you can contribute and how much more you are appreciated. This reward will help you sustain the change.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "A Two-Step Plan for Changing Your Bad Habits" by Peter Bregman.

<p>A South Korean politician uses Twitter with his smartphone during a photo opportunity in Seoul February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won</p>