There are a lot of industrious, talented people, who show up to work and deliver, day after day, rise to challenges and go above and beyond doing what they were originally hired for, without complaining.
Unfortunately, many of these same people… are, nevertheless, mysteriously stuck or unable to display their true greatness when it comes to their career.
Perhaps this is you?
If so, consider the following errors that may be undermining your chance to shine and progress professionally.
1. Your communication is on auto-pilot
What I mean by this is, for whatever reason, when it comes to important interactions – whether with loyal clients or co-workers’ upon whose cooperation and skills you depend – you’re simply not giving 100% when it comes to your messages, conversations, discussions and negotiations.
Now we all know the horrors of an overloaded email inbox, the meetings that take away valuable time from progressing on a time-sensitive project and the inconsiderate colleague who demands your attention and input on matters that are either inappropriate for the office or simply nothing to do with you.
However, like it or not, and given that most of us will spend the major part of each day, for most of our adult lives, engaged in our professional duties, it is crucial that successful, connected communication remain among your highest priorities.
Otherwise you risk being misunderstood, undervalued or coming across as unintentionally dismissive or indifferent in your work-related interactions. And this will leave you overlooked by the flow of respect, goodwill and appreciation that leads to promotions and new career opportunities.
2. You’re hostile to those already successful or doing well
Professional resentment and… dare I say it, jealousy, is not an attractive trait. And if we’re really honest, we’ve all been guilty of it from time to time. Business and the world of work are competitive spaces in life, and we have to work hard not just at carrying out our duties but also to stand out and distinguish ourselves professionally. When we do, there are certain to be others who notice… and resent us.
Don’t let such resentment or hostility to others’ success come from you. While we may think such resentment is a privately-held bitterness, believe me, I have seen it poison and embitter some of my otherwise deserving and talented mentees.
You’d be amazed at how doing exactly the opposite will shift your feeling of being undervalued and unappreciated at your work. Show genuine, authentic appreciation and admiration for those who are ahead of you professionally. If you can’t offer them appropriate praise or acknowledge their accomplishments, wish them well in your mind.
Even if you don’t believe their success is merited, don’t give in to the temptation to cultivate a resentment. As if they have somehow cheated you of your success, or taken your share from you. There is an abundance of opportunity to show your unique talents and achieve greatness in your career – but being hostile to other successful people diminishes and only makes you look insecure in your own value.
And if you YOURSELF doubt your value… how will you communicate it to those responsible for your promotion and the continuing success in your career?
3. You indulge in inappropriate talk, gossip or even backstabbing
Here is another negative trait that I have observed in otherwise talented and dedicated people.
They talk behind others’ backs and gossip about their colleagues.
In other words, they share information about co-workers which may be only half-true, unrelated to such people’s work performance, role in the team or in the company hierarchy or potentially damaging to that person’s reputation.
And when a gossiper does this, they automatically come across as unreliable, untrustworthy or dishonourable in others’ eyes.
And EVEN when the listener is not a superior, but someone with the same or lower rank than the gossiper, somehow, work-related gossip has a tendency to reach the ears of people who might otherwise have rewarded the gossiper’s talents, initiative and hard work… but, because of the gossiping or backstabbing, choose not to.
4. Your treatment of others is based purely on what they can offer you
This takes a lot of honesty from anyone… to be able to look at their behaviour from a detached enough perspective to admit that they DON’T always treat people in a genuine way.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of treating senior management or industry veterans with a deference that is less about our own professionalism… and MORE about what they might be willing to do for our professional benefit.
Now, it’s perfectly appropriate to acknowledge someone senior to you with a genuine appreciation and a signal of respect that shows you are professional enough to observe workplace etiquette – as long as it is GENUINE.
Believe me, most of us can see through someone else’s attempts at flattery. And if the person you are trying to flatter doesn’t see it – your co-workers surely will, and will judge you for it.
Alternatively if you treat people lower in rank or status with you with unkindness, rudeness, a lack of empathy and arrogance, that TOO, will eventually be noticed and condemned by those you work with, and who might otherwise have wanted to help you progress in your career.
5. You’re unwilling to go the extra mile or beyond your job description
This takes a lot of balance. And it’s true that if you’re constantly going beyond what you were originally hired to do, it can signal that you have insufficient self-worth and that you’re willing to be used as a stop-gap or go-to person for any task, great or small (generally greater and greater!) that would have been more appropriately assigned to someone else.
However, it is equally true that being resistant to take on assignments that require a greater level of attention and competence and initiative (and work) in a misjudged attempt to set appropriate boundaries, and avoid being exploited, will backfire on you professionally.
The workplace is competitive and if you never step beyond the technical limits of your job description, how will you demonstrate that you deserve to progress in your career?
Remember, it IS possible to display self-motivation and initiative while still having healthy boundaries that make it clear you are not there to be exploited or taken advantage of. I can tell you this confidently because it’s one of the things we work on in my one-on-one mentoring and workshops with young professionals.
So… GO the extra mile, AVOID gossiping and undermining successful peers or industry greats, BRING your most attentive self to your conversations and TREAT everyone with the professional respect and authentic courtesy they deserve… and you will keep yourself headed for greatness in your career.
To work with me one-on-one to take your professional and personal performance to new levels, please check out the LIMITLESS track of services at my website, www.leonidasalexandrou.com