Monday, September 29, 2014

8 Top Mistakes that could Derail your Career

You arrive on time.  You work hard.  You get your job done.  You are pleasant to co-workers.  You aren't being promoted.  You don't get it.

If you're looking for some answers to the 'why did they get promoted and I didn't' question, maybe it's time to focus less on what you are doing, and more on what you're not.  Mistakes can cost you.  Sure, failing to hit your targets over and over is a mistake that is fairly easy to catch, however there may be other mistakes you are making that you are overlooking.  

The following is a list of 8 Top Mistakes that could Derail your Career:
  1. Confusing Actions for Results.  Too many people make the mistake of measuring their worth by taking a look at how busy they are, rather than by the results they achieve.  Results have value.  Getting caught up in activities that don't move you or the organization forward may make you appear busy over the course of the day but they don't do much to help you get ahead.
  2. Only doing Your Job.  Show you are ready and interested in more by doing more.  Going beyond demonstrates to others that you have a capacity to take on more responsibility - which is much more likely to lead to them giving it to you than simply 'doing what you're paid to do' will.
  3. Not taking Advantage of Learning Opportunities.  Many organizations have internal training resources, online programs and libraries that few employees take advantage of.  However, if you are looking for the company to invest further in you, you should first demonstrate your willingness to invest in yourself.  Successful senior leaders are constantly upgrading their worth by investing in their knowledge-base.  Being 'too busy' to take advantage of learning opportunities available to you will tend to be seen as more of a lack of interest than as a lack of time... especially if you seem to be well versed on the latest installments of new TV shows.
  4. Not Networking.  It is important that you get to know others within the organization, not just those in your immediate vicinity.  Don't spend all your time at your desk; look for opportunities to create connections with others from other areas and disciplines.  Learn the business through them.  Keep up with your connections outside of the organization also, maintaining your insight into what and how other corporations are managing.
  5. Tying Yourself to the Wrong Kite.  Many people will attempt to align themselves closely to a high flyer, in the hopes of taking advantage of their growth and opportunities.  However, tie yourself to the wrong kite and their fall could also be yours.  Being supportive of everyone's growth, not just the superstar, speaks of professionalism and fairness, likely leading to greater longevity.
  6. Feeding the Gossip Mill.  Don't trash-talk others if you don't want the same in return.  Focus on promoting a positive work environment rather than feeding into the negativity.  It's a pretty simple call... if you wouldn't want someone saying it about you, then don't say it about someone else!  Professionalism gets promoted, not petty behaviour.
  7. Displaying an Addiction to Social Media/Cell Phone.  You need to demonstrate your commitment to your job and company, not staying in touch with friends.  No one believes that your constantly staring at your cell phone is all work related.  No one.  You will be viewed as wasting time and your 'busyness' will be seen as an outcome of that. 
  8. Maintain Professional Relationships.  You spend a lot of time at work, which means you may spend more time with many co-workers than you do some members of your family. However, this time can create a casualness in our relationships with coworkers that leads us to forget the environment we are in.  It's still business.  More careers have been derailed by slips in this area than any other.  It should go without saying that inappropriate and intimate relationships with others in the office, getting drunk at business functions, getting caught up in emotional drama at work or having a temper tantrum will all influence how others perceive you and your potential for growth.  Thinking you need to grow up is not likely to help you move up.
 It is all about perceived value.  If you are not viewed as adding value then you, in turn, will not be valued... or promoted.  

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