10 Things to avoid if you want that big promotion in 2013

Chances are that unless you own your own business, you are going to have a boss of some description for your entire career, sorry.

And it is easy to make the common mistakes that will irritate your boss and make that next big promotion a difficult task.

Having managed staff in the past myself, I’ve drawn up a list of 10 cardinal sins that staff make which mean that big promotion aspirations are unlikely to be fulfilled.

Big Promotion –  1. Not knowing how to use an iron

Appearances do matter.  People’s first perceptions of you will start with the way you look.  A dishevelled appearance in the office will make your boss think that you may pay the same lack of attention to your work.

Ensure you have enough time set aside in the morning to shower, shave (hopefully only the chaps) and make sure your clothes are clean and devoid of creases.

If you have aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder, you don’t want to be held back by the fact you like to spend an extra 10 minutes in bed rather than using that time to shower.  For more advice on how to dress for success, read here.

Big Promotion – 2. Hiding problems

Hopefully this won’t happen too often, but it’s a fact of life that from time to time everybody messes up at work.  You may be way behind with a schedule on a particular project or you have lost a key account, and you now may feel the urge to keep it hidden from your manager.

Fact is, the chances of keeping it under wraps for long are extremely small and when the truth does finally come out, it is likely to be a bigger problem that the one you were trying to hide in the first place.  Therefore when you mess up, own up.  You will quickly lose your manager’s trust if you fail to divulge such things.

Big Promotion – 3. Regularly talking behind your bosses back

It isn’t uncommon to dislike your boss.  But undermining their authority by repeatedly bad mouthing them to your co-workers is simply asking for trouble.  If you have grievances about your boss, then you are best to discuss them directly with him or her or simply keep them to yourself for the good of your career!

Big Promotion – 4. Pretending to know the answers

When your boss asks you a question, you will ideally know the answer.  But there are going to be the odd occasion when you don’t know the answer, so don’t panic.  The worst thing to do in this situation is to make a guess.

If you don’t know the answer, the best thing to do is to say you don’t know and then explain that you will go away and find the answer, giving your boss a realistic timeline as to when this will be.

Big Promotion – 5. Over-Promising

If you have said that you are going to do something, then you actually need to ensure you do it.  I’ve worked with a lot of people down the years who are convinced that as long as they say yes to everything, then they will look good in the bosses eyes.

But a working day is only so long and if you over promise but under delivery, your career with that particular company isn’t likely to progress.

If your boss sets you a task, work out if the time frames are feasible before you agree.  Above all, if you promise to deliver by a certain time then you must meet those deadlines.

Big Promotion – 6. Being unable to handle criticism

Everybody needs feedback.  It’s vital that your boss is open and honest enough to tell you if there is any issue with your performance.  It is equally as vital that you learn how not to get upset or worse still – angry at any negative feedback you may receive from a manager.

If you do take umbrage at a manager’s feedback, chances are that the boss may stop giving you the feedback all together.  Now, while that may sound wonderful, it’s going to significantly harm your career prospects as you will just be seen as a problem employee.

Big Promotion – 7. Not learning from your mistakes

Just as everybody needs feedback, everybody makes mistakes from time to time.  Some mistakes are inevitable, regardless of how hard you work or how switched-on you consider yourself to be. The important thing is accepting you’ve made a mistake, learning from it and then applying those learnings then next time the same scenario rolls round.

And if you constantly come up with excuses to try and hide your mistakes, you will give the impression that you have no intention of learning from the mistakes you’ve made.

Big Promotion – 8. Showing zero initiative

From time to time you will need to ask for bosses’ assistance with certain things.  But if you get into the habit of asking for your bosses’ assistance with everything from tying your shoes to setting up your out-of-office on Outlook, you are not exactly going to look like management material are you?

Never be afraid to ask for help on important matters, but for the more mundane stuff you should perhaps look to use your brain and not your mouth.

Big Promotion – 9. Having your own agenda

We all have our own career path in mind, and the likelihood is that the company you are working for at the moment are a stepping stone on to greater things.  But if you openly brag about how you are either going to take your bosses’ job within 6 months or look to move away, it isn’t going to do you any favours.

Attempting to manipulate your boss could seriously backfire and to be honest, isn’t really worth the hassle.

Big Promotion – 10. Having poor social skills

Anybody who has done any research on how to climb the corporate ladder will know the importance of decent social skills.  Whilst it isn’t a necessity to be an enigmatic extrovert to advance your career, you do need to hold a conversation.

Making small talk with your boss without sounding like a sycophant is vital.  How ever unfair it may seem, if your boss doesn’t like you, they are very unlikely to promote you.

Thanks and should you need any further assistance on tips to further your career, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here, or you can join our LinkedIn Response Knowledge Network here.

Otherwise feel free to get in touch with me personally, via Twitter or LinkedIn using the links below.

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[…] the first part of traits to leave at home if you want a promotion, I looked at why your appearance could be […]