Word-Of-the-Week #669: Mistake

June 1, 2017 by  

Mistake the result of defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.

Have you ever had a lapse in judgment that caused you to lose a promotion, a raise, or your job? Have you ever been accused of “resting on your laurels?” Do you have a tendency to complain about your work situation?

This is the sequel to Travis Bradberry’s article “Career killersEven small mistakes can be costly in the workplace.” To recap he wrote, “Little things can add up over time and undermine your career just as much as one huge lapse in judgment. Stay aware of these blunders before they creep up and kill your career:

  • Having an inflatable ego – Did you ever work with someone who had a string of successes and started thinking that he or she was a star? Success is great. It definitely boosts your career, and it feels really good. The problems start once you let it go to your head. You start thinking that success is going to last forever and that you’re entitled to it.

Never, ever be content with resting on your laurels.

  • Losing sight of the big picture – It’s easy to become head-down busy, working so hard on what’s right in front of you that you lose sight of the big picture. But smart people learn how to keep this in check by weighing their daily priorities against a carefully calculated goal.

It’s not that they don’t care about small-scale work; they just have the discipline and perspective to adjust course as necessary.

  • Negativity – Sometimes when you’re feeling negative and down, your mood can leak out and affect other people. People who spread negativity through their department and complain about the work or other people complicate things for everyone else.

If people always have to tiptoe around you so as not to risk poking the bear, they are unlikely to be willing to do it for very long.

  • Low emotional intelligence – Everyone knows that you can get fired for being unable or unwilling to play nicely with others, but what trips up a lot of people is having a poorly developed poker face. If everyone can tell when you’re bored or irritated or that you think something a colleague says is stupid, this will catch up with you.

Emotional outbursts, belittling others, shutting co-workers down when they speak, low self-awareness and just generally being difficult are other ways that a lack of emotional intelligence will do great harm to your career.

  • Playing politics – Working hard to build strong work relationships is very different from instigating conflict, choosing sides, undermining colleagues, spreading rumors and all of the other things that fall under the umbrella of “playing politics.” If you find yourself feeling embarrassed about any of your tactics, you likely are playing politics.

Stick to strategies you’d be proud to discuss in front of your colleagues.

This week’s focus is about not making mistakes. How good are you at weighing your daily priorities against carefully calculated goals? How easy are you to work with? Do you work hard at building strong work relationships?

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