Everyone focuses on positive things to get ahead. But it’s equally important not to behave in ways that make you stick out glaringly to harm your reputation and prospects. Here are some behaviours to avoid:
Don’t stand out for what you do not know: People work hard to shine based on what they know. Your credibility can take a hard knock if you don’t know the things you should as this can severely limit your influence. So know things related to your job. This includes a general understanding of the levers that you can contribute to help your organisation to achieve its goals. Have a good measure of yourself and what you’re good at.
Don’t take a role in someone else’s drama: Don’t be tempted to get sucked into other people’s drama or politics. Sometimes you may feel because a colleague is a friend you have to take on their fights or adopt their personal agendas. Be colleagues first and friends second. Keep those boundaries intact as this will ensure that your professionalism drives your actions. Support them in whatever way you can, but don’t blindly join in battles they choose to fight.
Don’t chase visibility in for its own sake: Visibility has its perks, but it has to be pursued for the right reasons. Sometimes visibility comes with the job in which case you have to manage it properly. Being visible is not about being everywhere and having a finger in every pie. To develop ‘productive’ visibility you’ll have to put yourself before the right people, presenting yourself in an environment where key people can see you in action preferably doing what you excel at and using different skills. You also need to build the right relationships and make the right contacts to advance the objectives of the role or and establish yourself.
Don’t act hapless and helpless: These manifest in many ways; being timid, evasive, too circuitous or staying put when you don’t know what to do and expecting to be rescued. When you feel stuck take responsibility for getting out of that rut. It will help to develop people’s confidence in how you cope and what you do when you don’t know what to do and show leadership, resourcefulness and the nerve to take some risks; all critical skills that will get you noticed.
Now take action: What one unproductive thing will you stop doing?