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Five ways to ruin your career

Five common mistakes could be damaging your career potential, writes Cheryl Lock for Fast Company via Learn Vest. Learn what they are and how to fix them.

1) Handling failure badly. Being overly critical with yourself could be holding you back. Perfectionists find failure paralysing, says executive coach and organisational consultant Glo Harris. Fear of failure prevents you from taking risks, taking on more responsibility and asking essential questions.

Fix it: Try to embrace risk, advises Harris. Commit to doing one thing a month that puts you outside your comfort zone. Over time you will learn how to deal with making mistakes.

2) Not promoting yourself enough. It is up to you to draw attention to your achievements. This is especially important as you rise through the ranks, where competition becomes ever fiercer.

Some people shy away from blowing their own trumpet, believing that self-promotion is unprofessional. Others wrongly assume that their bosses already know about all their successes. But if you do not take the opportunity to make yourself stand out, one of your coworkers will, warns Todd Dewett, a leadership development coach.

Fix it: Never assume that your boss has noticed your achievements. Gently remind your boss of previous successes when pitching for new tasks. Self-promotion is most effective when it’s low-key and relevant.

3) Not playing for the team. If your focus is on personal goals and recognition, then you are not a team player. The surest way to advance your career is to be seen working for the benefit of the company as a whole.

Fix it: Position yourself as a team player, advises Patti Johnson, CEO of PeopleResults. Show willing to work alongside others with language that invites colleagues to collaborate with you.

4) Not asking for feedback. Ask for regular feedback. Annual employee evaluations are generally ineffective, says Dewett. Unless managers are sufficiently trained to deliver evaluations, the whole process can just create extra stress for everyone. Annual evaluations also tend to focus on larger projects or the most recent ones, whereas it’s important to evaluate all your work.

Fix it: Find your own personal evaluators – one or two honest colleagues who will give you the constructive criticism you need. “This type of occasional feedback-seeking behaviour is one of the hallmarks of top professionals,” says Dewett.

5) Sticking to your job description. You will never get ahead if you only stick to doing what you were hired to do. “Consider your workplace an even playing field,” advises personal branding expert Dan Schawbel. If all your colleagues have the same qualifications and work attitude as you, taking on extra responsibilities could be just the thing to set you apart.

Fix it: Ask yourself what you need to accomplish to merit promotion, advises Schawbel. Once you have mastered your current role, ask for more challenging projects. Try to take on work that will develop your skill set, rather than just make you busier. And never take on more than you can manage.

Source
Cheryl Lock

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