What are some common myths about workplace norms and office etiquette? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Shane Snow, founder of Contently and author of Dream Teams, on Quora:

Here's a list of the big ones I see a lot in modern businesses:

  • Paying dues, or time spent gaining experience, is highly correlated with expertise or success (it's not!)
  • Formal mentorship programs work (they usually don't work; what works are organic mentorship relationships where the mentor is in it for your journey rather than just to teach you something).
  • Failure helps you learn (we usually don't learn as much from failure as we do from success, or from other people's failures, because of the way we externalize the reasons for our failure in order to live with ourselves).
  • Two heads are better than one/synergy happens naturally (it's usually not what happens when you get a group together; Dream Teams starts with this myth and gets into how to turn it on its head).
  • Getting along at work is good for productivity/innovation (this is a pervasive myth from some crappy research in the 1970s about work happiness that we've conflated for decades with being successful; it's actually NOT GETTING ALONG that leads to innovation--though this doesn't mean that you can't be nice in the process!)
  • Avoiding microaggressions is one of the best things you can do to make a good work environment for everyone (actually, taking micro-opportunities to include and build up people is much more effective than just avoiding microaggressions; further, getting to the point where you can trust people's intentions is more effective than just doing microaggression lookout training; we need to learn to read into people's intentions versus just their words, and we need for leaders to get good at gently coaching people when they say things to others that are offensive, giving benefit of the doubt when it's required--which is often).
  • Culture fit is good (studies show strict culture fit mentality is actually terrible for creativity and innovation; what you want is "culture add").
  • Open-office plans are good or bad (it TOTALLY depends on the kind of work you're doing; it's a huge mistake to paint all of your people with the same brush; in fact, it's better to allow people to work the way they need to work, in exchange for accountability toward the mission).

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Published on: Oct 30, 2018