5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Career Without Realising


Common Mistakes

You’re ambitious, talented and ready to take the next step in your career – but it’s not happening.

Why is that?

Here are five common mistakes that may be stopping you in your tracks – and how to overcome them.

You don’t have the right people around you. Myself and lots of other leadership coaches will talk about your network – but thinking of it as a community can help you to understand that it’s not just about gathering business cards and then forgetting about people. And people – and the relationships you build with them – are going to be key to your success. It’s about being proactive, picking up the phone and thinking about what you can do for others too.

A community of people is broad and engaged, and meets an important human need – the need to feel we matter, we’re listened to and we belong. How’s yours looking and feeling? You should play an active part in yours, whether that’s online or offline. Try following up after meeting someone new, keeping abreast of what’s going on with the most influential people and giving others a helping hand along the way.

You’re not thinking creatively. As the saying goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. How can you change this? Creative thinking will set you apart. Be an ideas person – and then be the person who helps out those ideas into action. What new ways are there of doing things at work or in your team? What questions can you ask about current processes? What if we did this instead…?

Note that I didn’t ask ‘Are there…’. There are always new ways of doing things, we just need to find them. Where can you go and what can you do to find inspiration? Innovation and creativity are good for your organisation, your industry and you.

You’re leaving things to chance. A little career planning goes a long way. Consider where you want to be in the next two years. Work backwards and identify milestones along the way for you to have achieved that. Who do you need to have in your community? What skills will you need to have added to your CV? Learning to be more considered in your approach to your relationships, your job role and your team’s objectives will also help you develop the strategic skills you’ll need in your new role. It will also put you in the orbit of those that can help you accelerate your career goals.

Take some time to consider your response to events at work. Develop a thoughtful approach that will help you build a reputation as someone to watch.

You think that being good is good enough to get you promoted. It’s a fiercely competitive world out there and gone are the days when you could sit back and wait to be rewarded for your work with a new role. You need to be seen and heard by the right people. You do know who those are don’t you?

You need to be confident enough to approach those people and assertive enough to fight your way through the throng of noise that often surrounds them. Understanding your worth and then demonstrating it consistently, in front of the right people is what’s required. Be seen and be heard.

You’re not showing up as the leader. Whether you’re after your first leadership role or you’re in line for your first shot at being a CEO, you’ll need to demonstrate your suitability for the post. The way to do that is to BE that person – long before you get the role. Self doubt can attack and derail the best of us, so make sure that you have a toolkit of techniques for managing this, that really work for you. This includes having a support network around you – and not just of your raving fans. It’s very useful to have people around us that can help us see who we really are and give us honest feedback, motivated by having our best intentions at heart.

Regularly seeking feedback from specific, trusted people helps us to understand what we’re great at, and where we could make some changes for our own benefit. Moving into a new role means taking risks and putting yourself out there in ways you may find uncomfortable at first, so make sure you give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

Do you recognise yourself making any of these mistakes? Email me at hello@susanritchie.co.uk and let’s find a time to help you plan to overcome them.

one_to_one_coachingI’m Susan Ritchie, an author, leadership and executive coach and trainer. My second book, Strategies for Being Visible: 14 Profile-Raising Ideas for Emerging Female Leaders is now available as a paperback, an audiobook and for the Kindle reader.