How to Avoid Sabotaging Your Career
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us know how to show up and do a good job, but sometimes we become careless, or make an incredible blunder, and everything changes. I have watched people trip over their own assumptions, undermining years of work.
Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, an agency that services 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, has a knack for pinpointing these hazards.
According to VitalSmarts, 83 percent of the workforce has seen a blunder that brought down a career, impacted a reputation or deleted a promotion.
Bradberry says stay aware and avoid the following mistakes:
Being slow to accept change – Change is inevitable. Even though a new approach may not be just what you want, keeping an open mind and trying it is much better than planting your feet. Sometimes new approaches can be easier, faster or more productive. Overall, the people who adapt most easily to change are usually the most successful.
Becoming complacent – If you are often praised for your work, it’s easy to settle in and go with the flow, relaxing your alertness, and not reaching out as much. This is a cousin to the need to adapt to change. We all need to maintain a healthy backup, regularly updating resumes, contacts, and access to the most current information out there.
Missing the real goals – Some people show up every day and dive right in, but they forget to pause at the end of the day to consider where everything is headed. The truly successful worker handles the details, but never loses sight of what the major profit picture is for the company that they work for.
Being too much of a star – If you are in a very visible position, achieving a lot, you may be used to applause. That’s a fun spot to be in, but it can abruptly change if you forget how you got there. Success seems easy and it is easy to expect more, but the smart people always know it takes constant effort and awareness.
Not playing well with others – This can also be called low emotional intelligence (EQ). Nobody gets along with everyone all of the time, but the lack of a poker face can be the error that really trips them up. Most people in an organization watch each other. If your face broadcasts when you are bored, mad, frustrated, or inappropriately amused, you can be walking a fine line in your job. Plenty of people know how to smile and move ahead without making rude remarks, rolling their eyes, or blowing up. In a competitive world, there is very little room for people who are low in EQ.
If any of these mistakes ring a bell, think about what you could do differently, and start doing it to keep your career moving forward, not sideways.
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