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7 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Climbing the Corporate Ladder

7 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Who doesn’t want to fast-track their climb up that gigantic corporate ladder? But with your goal of reaching that desired pinnacle in your working life, you might grow unaware of the mistakes you are making.

Photo by Ray_from_LA via Flickr Creative Commons  (CC by 2.0)
Photo by Ray_from_LA via Flickr Creative Commons (CC by 2.0)

Chona Santos Management Consultant/ Facilitator and Life Coach at Organizational Change Consultants International shares that lack of commitment, responsibility and accountability are some of the reasons why people fall off that steep climb. We asked Santos to share some of the mistakes and bad habits that lead us to trip on our way up.

1. Being too much of a lone wolf.

GIF from How I Met Your Mother via giphy,com

“It is best to be acquainted and friendly with everyone in the office,” Santos says. “To be a leader of the self and of others deals a lot with casting and having good relationships. An awareness of having boundaries of respect with officiates and the bosses is needed—friendly in a way that it does not get in the way of breaking office rules/policies and the achievement of goals.”

Santos shares, “Socializing is not directly [done] as an agenda to climb the ladder but because growth is all about relationships.” This shows that you are a team player and values everyone and the work that they do.

2. Saying no to difficult tasks.

GIF from Brooklyn Nine Nine via

Take risks. This might include volunteering for a project that nobody wants to head or leading the new marketing research. Doing so proves your interest in the mechanisms of the company and for self-growth. Santos comments, “Challenges will help the person grow and get out of their comfort zone.” Shy away from these, and your bosses may start thinking you’re not ready for bigger and better things.

3. Always being a follower, never being a leader.

GIF from the Office via

Show off your leadership skills by thinking a level above and working as if you have a higher position without compromising your responsibilities and making your teammates uncomfortable. Initiate ideas, be proactive, try to foresee what a project might bring. Speak up, your superiors will welcome any ideas that you put on the table, especially if you take the time and make the effort to research these thoroughly and present them well.


4. Being too worried about work.

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy
GIF from The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

Sure, showing enthusiasm about your work—clocking in longer hours, doing research at home—is a great way to impress the boss. However, a work-life balance is important too. You need not drudge yourself about that finance report due in a week. Santos suggests taking a break once in a while. “Vacations are beneficial for total well being—emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Even God rested on the seventh day.” So while it’s great that you’re dedicated, make sure you don’t go into manic workaholic mode and have your superiors wondering if you’re headed straight for a burnout.

5. Having a silo mentality.

GIF from the Office via

A silo mentality means being selfish about information and resources to the point of being unwilling to share these with other colleagues, teams, and departments within the company. This kind of attitude can lead to division. Santos advises to think about the “whole system and see the bigger picture; share knowledge, skills and talents.” Impart new information and learnings, get to know people from other departments, and work with company’s vision in mind. This way, interdepartmental war turfs can be avoided, and it highlights your own willingness to be pro-active in the company’s favor as well as your ability to manage resources and assets.

6. Having no one to guide you.

GIF from Project Runway via

Learning to work with minimal supervision is a must. However, you should also have a mentor who you can consult with. It might be your supervisor, it might be a teacher, or it might be the head honcho himself. Santos shares, “Part of growing is being open to learning in whatever form or way. It (having a mentor) is an effective way to learn and apply immediately from someone with actual experiences related to the work/job and culture of the organization.”

7. Not dressing the part

GIF of The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy
GIF from The Devil Wears Prada via Giphy

You’ve probably heard this so many times that its starting to make you cringe, but the idea of dressing for success is no myth. Just like you would for an audition, you have to look as well as act the part before you can get the coveted role. Start investing in blazers and slacks, getting neutral-toned mani-pedis, and dressing the way top execs do.


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