We all want to excel at our jobs and grow in our careers, but there are certain tendencies and behaviors that can really end up holding us back. Here are a few traps to avoid if you're looking to advance in the workplace.
1. Wasting away in meetings
Meetings are often an inevitable part of corporate life, but spending too much time in meetings could cause you to underperform elsewhere. After all, for every hour you sit there discussing things of varying degrees of importance, you're losing the opportunity to knock out key tasks, follow up on projects, conduct research, or do whatever it is your employer pays you to do. While some meetings are unavoidable, saying yes to every invite you receive is a good way to hinder your productivity, so be more selective going forward, and don't hesitate to say no when appropriate.
2. Not taking credit for your successes
Nobody likes that coworker who's constantly tooting his or her own horn. At the same time, downplaying your role when things go well is a good way to stunt your career growth. Though modesty is an admirable quality, you shouldn't be afraid to subtly ensure that you receive credit where it's unquestionably due. This way, management will recognize your contributions and factor them in when things like promotions and raises come into play.
3. Not speaking your mind
Some people are naturally vocal, and aren't afraid to insert their opinions wherever possible. If that's not you, you may want to work on finding your voice, because it could end up impacting your career for the better. If you're too hesitant to offer up suggestions or argue your case when others shoot down your ideas, you're less likely to get ahead -- especially since management may not view you as a leader. Remember, there's a difference between being rude and assertive, and if you stick to the latter, you might actually do a better job of gaining other people's respect.
4. Getting too comfortable
It's nice to come into work every day knowing exactly what you need to accomplish. But if you don't broaden your horizons, you might quickly end up getting stuck in a rut. Even if you're quite good at what you do, if you never make a point to volunteer for new projects, you may come across as unmotivated. Worse yet, if you don't keep challenging yourself on the job, you're more likely to succumb to boredom and burnout, and once that happens, your performance can suffer. It's a good idea to change things up on occasion, even if it means taking on some tasks that fall outside your comfort zone.
5. Not expanding your network
It's natural to spend most of your time at work dealing directly with your own team. But if you don't take steps to interact with different colleagues and managers both inside and outside your organization, you could end up limiting yourself employmentwise. The more folks you interact with, the more knowledge you'll pick up. Just as importantly, you'll have more people to turn to should you find yourself in search of a new job opportunity.
6. Complaining too frequently
We all get disgruntled from time to time, but if you become that person who constantly has something negative to say, it's going to impact the way others view and treat you. If you have specific concerns related to your role -- say, you feel you've been given too many projects and aren't getting enough support from your colleagues -- address those issues privately, and respectfully, with your manager, rather than grumble about them in the break room. It's normal to want to blow off steam, but if you do it too often, it might come back to bite you.
We all want to do well at our jobs. If you avoid these mistakes, you'll be more likely to succeed in the workforce, no matter where your career might take you.