How to Overcome Seven Career Limiting Behaviors

It’s about time to create the list of career limiting behaviors that I continue to hear and observe in the workplace. Each time you exhibit a career limiting behavior, you are losing credibility with your co-workers, boss and management.

Here are my top seven career limiting behaviors:

Poor Time Management

Poor time management reflects directly on your performance. When someone expects you to get things done or to be somewhere and you do not deliver, there will be consequences. You may think that having too many things on your list is a good excuse, but it is not.

There are three things that can help you improve time management:

Ignoring Your Career

What’s not to like about having someone who is reliable and gets the work done in a company? It sounds good if you want to stay in the same job.

To boost your career, you must have access and exposure to upper management and key decision makers. It is important for them to take notice of you on a special or high profile project.

There are four things you can do to help your career:

Not Responding to Requests

Failing to respond to someone’s request sends a clear message to the other person – his or her needs are not important.

When someone reaches out to you, it is usually in form of asking for help or seeking advice so that he or she can continue work on a project.  Absent your input, progress stalls and frustration sets in.

At some point, you may be labeled non-responsive which can stall a career dead in its tracks. No one wants to work with someone who is high maintenance or difficult.

There are three ways to handle requests:

  • Delegate it
  • Respond you can’t do it
  • Take care of it

Managing Through E-Mail

Substituting e-mails for face to face time may seem like a time saver. In the short run, it may allow you to get a lot of work done however; it fails to build work or personal relationships.

As your career progresses, promotions and new opportunities will depend more on the work or personal relationships you have developed early in your career. What you did on “x” project years ago will fade quickly; the relationships you have built will endure the time test.

Three things you can do to build productive work or personal relationships:

  • Schedule lunches with co-workers and executives
  • Discuss time sensitive or challenging issues  in person
  • Be accessible to others

Lack of Follow Up and Follow Through

One fatal assumption is that employees or co-workers will get something done without follow up and follow through to satisfactory completion.

The more attention you direct on the project, activity or behavior, the more likelihood of success. Absent attention, people lose interest and move on to where they receive more positive reinforcement.

Three things you can do to follow up or follow through more effectively:

Failure to Follow Instructions

Following instructions is testing several behaviors – the ability to focus on a specific task and conformity to rules. It is surprising how many people ignore instructions, so much so, that I am seeing more consequences placed on people who fail to follow them.

Two things you can do to increase your ability to follow instructions:

  • Don’t skim, read for understanding
  • After task completion, review the requirements to ensure compliance before submission

Downplaying Executive Presence

I get it when you want to have the freedom of expression and individuality. However, when you are working for a company, there are cultural influences that supersede your need for expression. You have the option to acquiesce or to find an organization that supports personal style.

Often, executive presence is about subtle changes. Two things you can do to improve executive presence:

About Lynn Dessert (458 Posts)

Lynn Dessert is a certified ICF and NLP Coach specializing in Executive Career coaching in Charlotte NC. She works with individuals to accelerate their career advancement and organizations to fast track leadership skill development. Her career eBooks What To Do After Being Fired and The Secrets to Successful Job On-Boarding give you a roadmap to DIY. Start your discovery process by contacting her at 704.412.2852 today.


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  2. […] How to Tell If Your Career is StalledRec #: 107438IntroductionThere may be times throughout your career when you feel that ample amounts of time have passed without you having had earned a promotion, learned new skills, or been asked by other co-workers for your opinion or assistance regarding certain work-related matters. Signs such as these can indicate that your career has stalled, and you may either need to seek work in a related field, or improve your current skills to reinstate your value as an employee. Continue reading this article to learn how you can tell if your career is stalled, and what you can do to get your career back on track.StepsRecognizing Signs of a Stalled CareerDetermine how long you have been performing your current tasks. If your role, responsibilities, and daily tasks have been exactly the same for 2 or more years, your career may be stalled.Determine when you last learned a new task or skill. If you have not learned new skills that add value to your current role, you may not have the ability to take on new roles or responsibilities. For example, if you are a computer programmer, but have not learned any new programming languages within the last 2 or 3 years, your employer may be utilizing the skills of other programmers who have taken the time to learn new programming languages.Determine if the level of your work load has decreased. If you participate in fewer projects or have a smaller work load than you did previously, your work load may be being distributed to other employees who are considered to be more valuable than you.Evaluate whether communication from your bosses and co-workers has decreased. In most cases, if your career is stalled, employees will no longer seek you for help or assistance, and your boss may not need to involve you in meetings and discussions as often.Determine if you receive a significantly lower amount of emails and phone calls from your bosses and co-workers than you did several months or a few years ago.Review your quarterly or annual performance reviews. If your boss provides feedback that indicates your performance is average as opposed to above average, your career is most likely stalled.Overcoming a Stalled CareerVerify that the work or projects you complete are satisfactory. This practice will demonstrate to your employer that you are genuinely interested in ensuring that the work you provide consistently exceeds expectations.Follow up with your boss or client to determine if they are satisfied with your work and ask for feedback on ways you can improve your work.Strengthen relationships with your boss and co-workers. When you establish strong personal and professional relationships with your co-workers, you are more likely to be presented with a larger amount of work opportunities, promotions, and projects.Discuss work-related matters in person instead of through email, and take the time to eat lunch with your co-workers and participate in team-building events.Respond to emails and other forms of correspondence in a timely manner. When you fail to reply to the inquiries and needs of your bosses and co-workers, they may approach somebody else with their request or assign the project to another co-worker.Respond to correspondence immediately regardless of when you can handle the project or inquiry. For example, if an employee sends you a question, but you are in the middle of a major project, reply stating that their concern is valuable to you, but that you will address their question after your project deadline is met.Speak with your boss regarding acquiring new assignments and responsibilities. This will demonstrate to your boss that you are genuinely ready to acquire new skills or take on a larger work load to exceed expectations in your current position.Volunteer for additional work projects. Volunteering for extra work will demonstrate to your boss and co-workers that you are passionate to learn new skills and may provide you with recognition or awards.Ask your boss or a representative in human resources specifically what you need to accomplish in order to receive a promotion within your department or company.Sources […]

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