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:
- Create a project plan
- Publish progress
- Reward completion
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:
- Dress for the next position you are aspiring to
- Adjust your verbal and body language