Good professional habits like dressing well or writing concise emails can separate great employees from good ones.
Bad habits have an effect as well, but professionals are often unaware of their own shortcomings or how to change them, according to David Maxfield, bestselling author and workplace expert who holds a Ph.D. in psychology.
"Poor habits over time can absolutely derail a person's career," Maxfield, vice president of research at corporate training company VitalSmarts, tells CNBC. "And most often they are not aware of what they're doing."
According to the psychologist, these four habits can hold even the most hard-working or well-intentioned professional back:
1. Cutting corners on projects or missing deadlines
Just as teachers can tell if a student is talking in class, bosses can tell if an employee is cutting corners on projects or missing deadlines, Maxfield says. Even if your boss doesn't happen to notice right away, he or she will eventually observe that your work is just average.
Employees should "go the extra mile to produce great quality work," he says.
2. Failing to follow through
Many professionals nod their heads and agree when a boss has a good idea, but fail to follow through, the author says. This frustrates bosses and gives them the sense that the employee is disorganized or unreliable.
In fact, a marriage therapist says that following through on tasks your boss discusses with you is one of the surest ways to make them feel respected.