10 fatal flaws of a doomed employee

Here are the top 10 self-destructive workplace habits sure to endanger ones longevity on the job.

By John McKee

You're fired! This succinct phrase strikes more fear into the heart of the working man or woman than any other. Why is it, then, that many well-intentioned and reasonably astute professionals hear these words chronically throughout their career despite all best efforts? Below are the top 10 self-destructive workplace habits sure to endanger ones longevity on the job.

Even with this small amount of insight, many aspiring professionals can learn how to maintain their good standing in the workplace and actually excel on the job rather than self-destruct. Employee turnover hurts not only those receiving their walking papers but employers as well since it's a costly, through avoidable, expense.

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With this in mind, serial "Labor Losers" can benefit by knowing these 10 key ways to get themselves canned:

  1. Failing to have a life plan--All very successful people have a clear life plan, whether memorized or actually written down. They create it, massage it, and refer to it often.
  2. Not keeping your skill set current--The business landscape is ever-changing and there is more demand for jobs than supply. Not staying on par with colleagues and those vying for your job will be a death knell.
  3. Failing to deliver results--Winners in business know that it’s all about accountability. Those who harbor a sense of entitlement for simply having put forth effort, irrespective of the results of those efforts, are guaranteed to fall by the wayside.
  4. Confusing efficiency with effectiveness--Those who think that communicating via e-mail replaces the need to actually talk with people around them fail to recognize the importance of personally connecting with others in today’s highly automated and technological environment. Communicating in person whenever possible is imperative for success-seekers.
  5. Believing that you are irreplaceable--There is no room for "divas" in the workplace. As soon as you convince yourself that you and only you can do the job "right," your star will surely start to fall.
  6. Knowing all the answers--The old adage remains true: knowledge is power. Professing to know it all can readily stagnate a career. Winners remain unceasingly interested in learning new ideas and approaches.
  7. Surrounding your self with "brown-nosers"--Losers like having people tell them how smart they are, whether or not it’s true, while successful managers and other professionals accept and encourage intelligence and creativity in others.
  8. Forgetting to give credit to others--Losers inappropriately take full credit for positive events despite the help or input received by others, while Winners give credit where credit is due. Losers inevitably reap what they sow.
  9. Failing to self promote--Bragging is one thing, but letting colleagues throughout your industry know of your success through case studies, promotion bulletins, or other such tools is quite another. Losers often fail to recognize the importance of letting others know about their successes, or go about it in entirely the wrong way.
  10. Losing perspective--Intuitive business people recognize that, despite their best attempts to do everything right, sometimes they approach roadblocks and seek the advice and perspective of a respected friend, colleague, or even a business coach. Those who fail to recognize their shortcomings are destined for the unemployment line.

John McKee, a certified business and executive coach and Author of "21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot," is the expert and visionary behind BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an online destination for professionals who aspire to maximize their success in business. He can be reached through his Web sites at www.businesssuccesscoach.net and www.businesswomanweb.com.