Career Killers to Avoid

Many professionals and managers are so involved in day-to-day crises and fighting fires that they forget about a key leadership characteristic: self-management. Effective leaders are first of all effective in managing themselves – their time, their focus, their emotions and their careers. It's too late to figure out what's next for you once your company has merged, had lay offs, changed strategy or whatever. Here are the biggest mistakes leaders make in their careers.

Burning bridges along the way.

Each profession may seem big – but, as you move up in your career, you come to realize how 'small' each really is. Something you said or done may come back to haunt you.

Not having big enough goals.

A key career stopper is setting your goals too low or not being willing to put in the time it takes to reach goals. Believing "I could never do that" or, "They'll never give me the go ahead" means it probably will not happen. Take risks, try new things, initiate and learn and grow.

Playing office politics.

Some people pick the wrong battles to fight. When you get enmeshed in gossiping or office politics, you forget about the goals, mission and getting the job done. It'll lead to a lack of consequences – a career killer every time.

Having a bad attitude.

"It kills even the most talented," said one top executive, who has observed many talented people rise and fall. Attitudes are learned, and you can improve yours daily by consciously and actively working on it. Negative attributions slow you down, but good ones are jet fuel, enhancing all you do.

Thinking that money is everything.

A great salary does not equate to happiness. For most people – executive or staff – money means very little if you are truly unhappy. Job satisfaction is the number one reason people elect to find a new job. What gets you up each day excited about going to work?

Take control of your career! If you do not, who else will?