Maybe you want to get ahead, eventually earning your boss's boss's job. You may even be the one in charge, with the goal to keep your employees from leaving once you've trained them. Perhaps your personal mission is simply to make it to the end of the year without becoming unemployed.
Unfortunately, there are some things you may be doing at work every day that can keep you from moving ahead in your career. Here are seven of these things, and how to stop them.
1. Missing Deadlines
Some people joke about enjoying the whooshing sound deadlines make as they fly by. But if you make a habit of missing deadlines, you've likely announced you're the type of person who can't be counted on when needed.
Whether you're boss or employee, this is never a good look. When you have a deadline, move the date up on your calendar and force yourself to finish by then, giving yourself extra time for those little unexpected emergencies.
Yes, it can be easy to let your temper get the best of you, but it can also send the message that you're overbearing and difficult. At one of the companies I worked for years ago, I had the habit of yelling at certain colleagues when I became frustrated. Not only did this stop any chance of career advancement, but also disrupted my productivity, as well as the productivity of everyone around me.
Don't be like I was. Instead, understand that how you get along with people at work is often just as important as any special knowledge or talent you might have. Take a breather, cool your emotions and put your energy to more positive, productive activities.
3. Speaking Without Listening
Communication ability is the most valued trait in a business leader, and listening is an important part of that. Practice active listening skills, such as acknowledging what the other person says and making eye contact throughout your conversation. Pay particular attention to your habits in interactions. Do you tend to interrupt or dominate conversations? If so, make an effort to change.
Gossip can have a notable impact on day-to-day work, including hurting morale and creating discord among workers. Although it may seem at first to be a great way to bond with your fellow workers, it eventually leads to mistrust. How can they be sure you aren't talking about them too? Additionally, anything you share with one of your coworkers could be passed along. If you truly feel the need to talk about coworkers, make a lunch date with a trusted friend who doesn't work with you and discuss away.
5. Dressing Unprofessionally
Inappropriate work attire puts everyone in an uncomfortable position. Your employer or business partners may be forced to decide whether to have a talk with you about it. You may even be left out of career-building meetings because others are afraid you'll make them look bad in front of clients.
As a compromise, find ways to incorporate elements of your style of dress into a more professional look. For example, if you love dressing casually, blend elements of this into formal work attire. Remember, no matter how attached you are to a particular style, if it hurts your career, it isn't worth it.
6. Behaving Unprofessionally
You may think you're the very picture of professionalism at all times, only to be surprised your coworkers would disagree. Showing up late, pushing your work off on others, and playing on social media when you're supposed to be working can all earn you a bad reputation.
If you want to keep your job and eventually progress in your career, eliminate anything that could be seen as unprofessional.
7. Taking on Too Much
It's only natural to feel the need to say "yes" to everything you're asked to do. You want to seem like a team player, someone your boss can count on in a pinch. You want to be an all-star at the office.
Unfortunately, if you commit to doing something, you're then obligated to follow through, and sometimes that simply isn't possible, even if you thought it was at first.
When I worked at a TV station in Santa Barbara, I worked as a producer, writing much of a weekly newscast. At the same time, I worked as a reporter, going live during a segment in the same newscast. This ended up being too much all at once. I thought I could handle it, but in end I couldn't.
The key here is to be honest with yourself and not try to bite off more than you can chew. Set a reasonable deadline, consider your current workload, or recommend someone else who may be able to handle the task.
Getting ahead often means working well with others. As long as you're paying close attention to how others are responding to you and working hard every day, you're likely to make a good impression on those who matter. Be yourself while also remaining considerate to others and you'll stand a good chance of continued success.