Stealing office supplies and skipping out on staff meetings will undoubtedly diminish your chances of securing the corner office.
But besides these faux pas, there are other, less-obvious activities that can hamper your career prospects. Perpetually missing deadlines — even by only a day or two — for example, also can spell disaster.
Here are six additional actions to avoid on the job:
Failing to follow through. You may be the hardest worker in the company, but if your boss and co-workers cannot rely on you to deliver results as promised, you may be passed over for plum assignments. Build their confidence by showing up to meetings on time and keeping them informed if you’re unable to satisfy project deadlines.
More importantly, execute your tasks with enthusiasm and attention to detail. In order to garner greater responsibilities or a more coveted role in the organization, you must produce quality work in addition to sticking to the schedule.
Refusing to admit your mistakes. Creating an excuse to justify poor performance is dishonest and unprofessional. Plus, chances are your ploy won’t stand the test of time. If you make a mistake, own up to it, then devise a plan for both correcting and avoiding similar incidents in the future. Employees who accept responsibility demonstrate professional maturity and confidence.
Becoming complacent. Enthusiastic employees who are not afraid to take smart risks and assume new responsibilities find themselves in a prime position for a promotion or raise. Conversely, those who simply serve their time often get lost in the organization. If you are serious about moving ahead, always go the extra mile.
In addition, take steps to keep your skills up to date. The more talents you bring to the table, the more valuable you are to the company.
Running on empty. Working on overdrive can be just as dangerous to your career as simply getting by. While taking on new projects and responsibilities is a great way to expand your skill set, too much of a good thing can lead to burnout. If you’re spending excessive hours on the job, you may want to speak to your manager about delegating less-important tasks to colleagues or adjusting your workload.
It’s also a good idea to take breaks throughout the day. Just a few minutes of “down time” each hour can help you recharge and work more productively.
Being too modest. While no one enjoys working with someone who has an overly inflated ego, it’s OK to toot your horn in the office once in awhile. Not receiving the credit you rightfully deserve — either through oversight or confusion about who actually performed the work — may not only cause hurt feelings but also can hinder your career growth.
If you’ve successfully completed a major project or received kudos from a client, don’t be afraid to bring it to your manager’s attention. One way is to track your accomplishments in a weekly activity report to help keep your boss informed of your performance.
Killing team spirit. Despite your best efforts, you won’t always get along with everyone on your team. But that doesn’t mean you should be a killjoy or take every opportunity to vent your frustrations. You’ll likely work with members of the group again and need their assistance, so keep relationships friendly. Positive attitudes are contagious, as are negative ones.
A major mistake isn’t the only thing that can damage a promising career. Sometimes more-subtle missteps can compromise your professional standing.
Avoiding these six career killers will keep your professional reputation out of harm’s way and may even put you on the fast track to advancement.