7 Behaviours That May Harm Your Career

Have you ever felt angry at being passed over for a promotion? Or felt the disappointment of not receiving the raise you wanted?

And when you feel these emotions, do you look for someone else to blame?

If you’re like most human beings, your first inclination is to blame your employer. After all, they are the ones who made the decision. So why shouldn’t they be to blame?

But this may be just the time to take a careful look at yourself. Your behaviours could well be the cause of the problem.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean and you can consider whether you are displaying any of these behaviours:

1. Falling apart under stress

In senior roles, the expectation is that you can endure adverse events and stressful situations without falling apart. Whether it is a severe financial problem, a challenging employee, or an unreasonably tight deadline, you must be resourceful and overcome this stress with poise, composure and confidence. 

2. Inability to see the big picture

The best career opportunities will occur for those who see the big picture. Don’t be a naysayer – a pessimist who always wants to explain why a new idea will not work. Instead, be strategic and lead a discussion about how a new but perhaps flawed idea can be revised to meet your company’s overall mission and goals. You will relate better to senior management’s way of thinking if you do.

3. Making unreasonable demands on your boss

Making unreasonable demands on your employer about compensation, vacation, or working conditions comes across as arrogant—a trait that is certain to limit your career. Unfortunately, some senior managers believe that younger workers must “pay their dues” before they are entitled to even ask for such perks. This clash between generations can cause angst in the workplace and more than one career has been derailed by a senior manager wanting to put a demanding employee in their place.

4. Overlooking the social aspects of work

Some people prefer to work on their own. For many people, this can enhance productivity and efficiency. But many of these people forget they are working as part of a team. It is essential to take the time to show interest in your co-workers’ lives. To grow your career, it’s better to be liked. You must be seen as human, personable and empathetic. But, of course, you can go overboard by socializing excessively and not getting your job done. That, too, can harm your career. Find the right balance.

5. Not learning from your mistakes

Your successes matter more than your mistakes in the long run, yet you learn more from your mistakes. Mistakes are a problem only if you don’t learn from them, ignore or conceal them, rationalize them, or blame others. Real learning occurs when you try to understand what happened, what went wrong and why.

6. Ignoring generally-accepted office behaviours

Behavioural norms exist in every workplace. Violating them could limit your career. In business, behaviours that can damage your career include spreading gossip, using sexist or foul language, backstabbing, taking credit for other people’s work, arrogance, inappropriate use of email, apathy, bullying, and constantly needing to be the centre of attention.

7. Having a pessimistic attitude

The successful people I know view the world with optimism. They see the good in most things and maintain a positive attitude even in the face of adversity. Because of their pleasant, upbeat manner, they are also much more enjoyable to be around.

In the coming week, take a good look at yourself. Are you exhibiting any of these behaviours?