I write a lot about how to be better at your job, how to improve your skills and so on, and I interview a lot of experts who talk about those kinds of things. Today I want to talk about the opposite: what you should avoid doing at work. I’ve seen project managers and other colleagues crash and burn. It’s not nice to watch, and I hope it doesn’t happen to you. Here are 10 career-limiting mistakes to avoid at work.
1. Not being truthful
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a sales person. This happens often in my job. I told him honestly that I didn’t see any possibility of using his software at work, but that I’m revising Social Media for Project Managers for a second edition and that there would potentially be some scope in learning more about their product for that. He seemed keen and we set up a meeting.
Then I heard that he was contacting my colleagues. Not just one or two but lots of them. Lots of senior managers. Telling them that he had a meeting with me and that as his software would be used by my company in the future that he should meet them to explain about it.
There is a reason that project management has a code of ethics.
This was embarrassing for me. I had no problem with him telling people we were meeting, which was the truth, but the “you’ll be using my application soon” part was a complete lie. And I told him so. I also cancelled our meeting. I can write my book without his case study.
Career-limiting because: People find out if you lie. People find out if you exaggerate the truth. It will always bite you in the bum. So don’t do it.
2. Not doing good handovers
A good handover at the end of a piece of work is important for ongoing relationships and harmony in the office. Plus it’s good practice. Make sure that your project is handed over to the people who will be using the product long term, along with all the associated documents, lessons learned, training material and so on.
Check they know how to contact you in case they need to. However, you should also make it clear that this is not your project anymore and they are responsible, otherwise they’ll lean on you for a long time.
Career-limiting because: No one wants to work with the project manager who emails the operational team a closure document and is never seen again.Click for more