4 major work blunders to avoid

Every organization has its unwritten rules, but there are some generally accepted ways to handle yourself at work, no matter your job. Here are a few major transgressions.

Forgetting to say thank you

business blunders thank you

When someone does you a favor, it's important to acknowledge the effort. Of course, you should thank the person at the moment, but also keep the favor in mind as a guide for your future behavior. For instance, if you ask for a networking introduction, be sure to let your contact know how it turns out. Whatever you do, don't ask for an introduction and then drop the ball in setting up an initial meeting.

When Pam Saussy was executive director of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, a friend of one of her employees lobbied for Saussy to launch a new program that the friend would run. "I had to create a position and figure out how to carve out some pay for it," Saussy recalls. "She really sold it hard, and I had to get permission and find a place for her in a tight office."

Barely two months later, the employee quit to take her "dream job" at the State Department, a move that had been in the works for months -- long before Saussy agreed to create a position for her. Talk about ingratitude.

Look for ways to appreciate your colleagues' efforts, even when it might not be obvious. Executive coach Michelle Friedman helped a client turn negative peer feedback from a 360-degree review into a chance for personal growth and deeper workplace relationships.

"She used it as an opportunity to go back to them and say, 'Thank you for investing the time in filling out the survey and writing comments. I've thought about what you said, and I'd love to talk about ways we can work together better,' " recalls Friedman.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 11 2013 09:52 AM ET
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