7 Behaviors That Will Sabotage your Career

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At one time, the person with the greatest technical knowledge was given top consideration when it came to promotions. There is an inherent problem with that thinking. Once someone is promoted, technical skills become less necessary as the hands on work will be done by those who are expected to have that skill set. On the other hand, the ability to work effectively with others becomes increasingly important.

In the information age, this becomes increasingly paramount. As Steve Jobs stated, “We don’t hire smart people to tell them what to do, we hire them to tell us what to do.” Increasingly employers are becoming aware of the importance of emotional intelligence in staff they promote up the ladder. According to a 2011 Career Builder Survey, employers were 75 percent more likely to promote staff with high EI over those with high IQ.

Here are 7 reasons that people sabotage their careers:

Lacking Ability to Manage Emotions under Pressure

As responsibilities increase, the pressure and demands upon people increase. The ability to stay calm, control emotions and not react to every crisis, or perceived crisis is very important. The expectation from those above is that situations will be handled smoothly and calmly. Those reporting to them expect reassurance and support, especially during times of high stress, pressure and crisis. Those that lack the ability to control their emotions under pressure will be overlooked when it comes time to promote.

Inability to Listen and Make Others Feel Heard and Understood

Many of the problems in the workplace come about as a result of people feeling that they are not heard, seen or understood. Even if the staff’s ideas or advice is not acted upon, it is crucial to their feeling of importance and motivation to do their best to feel those they are reporting to, hear them and take the time and effort to try to understand. People who lack the ability to make others feel heard and understood often become sidelined when others are promoted.

Lack of Empathy and Sensitivity to Those They Work With

Everyone at work has situations and challenges and situations that come up outside of work that effect their performance. Family members pass away, become ill, relationships end and a myriad of other events happen that will effect someone’s workplace performance. People who lack sensitivity and empathy in these situations can leave others angry, resentful, unmotivated and looking for a new job.

Failure to take Responsibility for Their Actions and Inability to Learn From Mistakes

People who fail to take responsibility for their actions do not learn from their mistakes and are prone to committing them over and over. They are continuously looking for outside persons or circumstances to blame rather than turning inward to see how they can do better next time. At some level they are feel insecure, but cover up their insecurity by focusing outside of themselves whenever something goes wrong. They will, however, be the first to take credit when things go well.

Defensiveness and Unwillingness to receive constructive Feedback

People whose egos are too large are not often open to learning and improvement. This causes them to take feedback (that is not positive) as personal criticism. They are less likely to see the person giving the feedback as having good intentions in that they are trying to help them improve, rather they see the person as wanting to intentionally belittle and tear them down.

Inability to Manage and Work Through Conflict

Promotion means having to deal with the inevitable conflict that will come from those reporting to them as well as work around the power struggles and disagreements from those above them. This requires someone who has the ability to not become emotionally involved, rather look for common ground, mediate, listen and be able to see the bigger picture.

Lack of Respect From Others and Inability to set a Positive Example

People who are unable to keep their emotions under control, listen to others and treat them fairly and authentically are unable to earn the respect of those they work with. Those reporting to them will not look up to them and see them as a positive role model. They are unapproachable and see their roles as looking out for themselves. When staff see those qualities in others they feel a detachment from their workplace and put in less effort. They also feel less loyalty to the organization.


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Author: Harvey Deutschendorf

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