10 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Career

Career Mistakes

We all have seen people who seem to come and go. Many of them simply make key mistakes that cost them either their job or any hope of promotion. Many times it boils down to a few basic mistakes or little things that kill their career. We all watch it happen and try to learn from these mistakes. Here are some classic mistakes that I have witnessed in my career.

  1. As the job grows, failing to keep your job skills up to date
  2. Finding work life balance
  3. Handling too much personal or social business at work (i.e. facebook, using company time and resources for personal business)
  4. Taking credit for others work ideas or success
  5. Failure to admit your mistakes
  6. Integrity or moral failures that reduces trust
  7. Rushed decision making – wrong decision because you didn’t take the time to get all the facts
  8. Lack of communication – making changes that impact others and simply forget to communicate
  9. Failing to deliver on job expectations
  10. Attitude – Knowing all the answers – Not seeking advice and being out of step with your boss

We all have different examples that can be shared. What mistakes have I failed to mention that you think should be on the list? I would love to get your thoughts or ideas?


Here are some additional suggestions from our readers

1. Don’t fight battles that you don’t have to fight. A leader doesn’t always have to lead the charge into battle. Sometimes battles are won by circumstances or others.
2. Don’t bring out your “big guns” to deal with minor issues.
3. Allow people a face-saving way out of disagreements unless you are prepared to make an enemy or destroy them.
4. Let your subordinates know that you have their backs and support them. They will generally return the favor.
5. Accept responsibility. Don’t throw a subordinate (or supervisor) under the bus to save yourself.
6a. Do not allow any daylight to appear between you and the rest of the leadership team. Decisions are made in the best interests of the organization, not individuals and everyone should publicly present a unified front in support of the decisions.
6b. If you can’t support the decisions, get out.
7a. Most change is best introduced incrementally.
7b. If major change is necessary, the groundwork can often be laid incrementally so that the major change becomes a logical next step that seems intuitive to most others.
7c. If major change is needed but time or circumstances don’t allow incremental preparation, “rip the band-aid off” and do as many major changes as needed at once.
8. Don’t expect your subordinates to work any harder or longer than you do. If you work short days but require others to put in long hours, you will foster contempt and a lack of respect.
9. Friends come and go but enemies accumulate.
10. Be friendly with everyone but limit confidants/close friends to those outside of your network.

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4 thoughts on “10 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Career

  1. What you have here is the outline for a book. I encourage you to start on it right away and post sample chapters here to build interest.

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