28 January 2019   |   by JESSICA NWUZI   
We all want to ensure we progress in ouWe wonder why we were passed over for that promotion or why that client never called back…..before you start blaming ‘office politics’, here are 6 ways to find out if you are sabotaging your own career and what you should do about it.

1. STOP speaking too fast

Sometimes, we feel the need to over impress at work or when speaking to clients. So we answer a question a mile a minute, or speak without thinking at a meeting.

What should I do instead.

Slow down, speak easy and accentuate what it is that you want to say. Organise your thoughts, maybe even write them down first, that way you ‘see’ what you want to say and even practice saying them first.

2. STOP letting people overstep their boundaries

Do you always find yourself in situations where clients, co-workers, mangers overstep on the agreed work scope or assign tasks that you won’t be properly compensated for? Sometimes we are afraid of losing clients, being seen as lazy or even getting fired! But if you are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy.

What should I do instead?

Every single relationship in your professional life should be tended to with respect and reverence. If you find yourself in situations where your work isn’t being valued, your time is being taken advantage of (not to be confused with putting in extra time and effort to get ahead, this is a great thing) and you are not being treated with the overall level of respect you feel you deserve, it’s time to do something about it. Not speaking up in a professional way leaves you feeling resentful and unhappy and opens the door for your abuser to continue with no boundaries in sight.

3. STOP saying yes to everything

Sometimes we are so hyper-focused on growing our business/or keeping clients and our boss happy, we become terrified of saying no and upsetting them. Before long, your work piles up while you continue to take on

What should I do instead

Remember saying no doesn’t have to be a negative dialogue for either side of the team and it doesn’t have to be a make or break for a client or co-worker relationship. If you feel compelled to say no, there’s generally a great reason why. Maybe the task doesn’t fall within your area of expertise and you don’t think you can do as great of a job as someone else. Maybe you have other more important projects on your plate that will be negatively affected by taking this particular task on. Whatever your reason is, express that to the proper person with a confident conversation and offer a solution. This works out better for both parties every time.

4. STOP apologising when it isn’t necessary

We get it- you are a really nice person and you like being liked. But remember you are not a scapegoat. Apologising for things that aren’t your fault can have the counter effect of making you look weak and unsure- not nice

What should I do instead

Sometimes, small errors don’t necessarily require an apology, just a simple correction. Don’t sweat the small stuff right? Also when a criticism is made about your work- make sure you understand exactly what the person is trying to communicate- and do the work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In situations where you really messed up, own up and apologise.

5. STOP being afraid to ask for a raise

We all know what’s going on with the economy, everyone is feeling the pinch so this can be tricky. But in a situation where you are clearly being underpaid (in comparative terms within the same industry) you should be able to have a conversation with your employer/client.

What should I do instead

First thing to do is make sure that you actually add value to your employer or client, especially value that is commensurate with the raise that you are asking for. Be ready to justify your request with examples. Once you understand and feel confident about the value you add and have concrete examples to demonstrate this, then find a non-stressful time to have a conversation with your employer/client.

In a situation where they agree that you deserve a raise, but the current financial situation cannot accommodate it, then ask for a time when they think this can be reviewed. Where your employer/client disagrees with the value you add, ask what you need to demonstrate to become eligible for a raise. Obviously remember that timing is everything- if your company/client has just laid off majority of its staff- this may not be a non-stressful time to approach them.

6. STOP choosing the wrong team members

As a young business owner/manager you have to find the best people to compliment the business and your own efforts. You can’t expect others to deliver when you don’t know what you want from them.

What should I do instead

Decide exactly what you want in a teammate or employee and stick to it 100%. If you don’t feel great about it on paper and in your gut, it’s not going to be the best possible fit. Of course, if you’re not responsible for hiring, this may not be within your reach. I encourage you to do as much as you can to surround yourself with people in the workplace who do make you feel supported and progressive.

This article has been adapted from Daffnee Cohen’s Article on Huffington Post.com

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