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Mistakes That Can Bring Careers to a Screeching Halt

They don’t think other people are important.

Technical expertise is not enough. In fact, at some point in every career, it becomes a given, said Lois Frankel, author of “Jump Start Your Career: How the Strengths That Got You Where You Are Can Hold You Back Tomorrow.” Competent People often derail because they haven’t built one-on-one relationships with people. They’re good at their job, but no one wants to work with thor for them.

They try to be buddy-buddy with everyone in the office.

Don’t confuse building working relationships with making everyone your close friend. When you want everybody to like you, it keeps you from making hard decisions. Said Charlotte, N.C. leadership coach Sherman Burns: “You can’t go out and have a beer with your employees three times a week and then try to discipline them. They’re not going to take you seriously.”

They don’t know how to work on a team.

Team-based projects are more popular than ever, and people are expected to work together. If someone says, “you’re a good individual contributor”, don’t take that as a compliment, Frankel said. He might be trying to say you’re not a good team player.

They have bad images.

The old business adage still holds true: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

They can’t communicate well.

Fast-trackers should be able to get their point across. Rambling is bad. Short answers are best, experts say.

They have major personality quirks.

Career superstars-no matter how gifted-are destined to derail if they’re arrogant, eccentric or standoffish. People at the top of the career ladder are usually known for their charming personalities. What’s most fatal? Condescension, abrasiveness, belligerence, blaming, and insensitivity, said Frankel.

They can’t work with authority.

Bosses can make or break your career, and derailment is almost certain if you and your supervisor are constantly arguing, or if you’re too submissive.

They have trouble seeing the big picture-or the detailed one.

Workers who get bogged down in detail may never finish a project. People with great ideas may never turn them into reality because they don’t think through the details. People who avoid derailment have struck a balance. Career experts say that’s difficult, but achievable.

They think too much of their titles.

“Leaders and managers don’t understand the workplace is different, and command and control is dead,” Frankel said. “If you expect people to respect you because you have a title and authority, that is not going to happen anymore.”

Gary Perman is President of Perman Technical Search Group, a national search firm that specializes in recruiting Executives to Engineers in the technology industry since 1996. If you have questions about this article, feel free to contact him at [email protected]

See our Blog for Technology discussions, Interviewing advice, comments relating to IT, Software, Technology issues.

Gary Perman is a certified recruiting professional and owns PermanTech, which specializes in recruiting technology executives, managers and engineers. He hosts an employment-technology blog.

See our Blog for Technology discussions,Interviewing advice, comments relating to IT, Software, Technology issues.