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I write a lot about how you can be more successful at your job, how you can excel at interviews, how to improve your skills, and I interview many experts who discuss these topics.
Today, I want to discuss the opposite: What you should avoid doing at your job. I’ve seen colleagues and project managers go bust. It’s not pleasant to see, and I hope it doesn’t happen to you.
Here are 10 career-limiting errors to avoid at work

1. Falsehoods are not acceptable
2. Not doing good handovers
3. Talking about problems is not enough
4. Not taking decisions
5. Your colleagues should not be treated as customers
6. It’s not a no!
7. Not doing lessons learned
8. Working without a sponsor
9. Not keeping up-to-date with training
10. Listening to your experts is not enough

1. Falsehoods are not acceptable
Here’s an example.
A sales representative contacted me. This is something that happens quite often in my job. I told him that I didn’t see any way to use his software at work. However, I was working on Social Media for Project Managers (now called Collaboration Tools for Project Managers), and that there might be some opportunity to learn more about their product. We set up a meeting and he seemed interested.
Then, I was informed that he was reaching out to my colleagues. Not just one or two, but many. Many senior managers. He told them that he had met with me and that his software would be used in the future by my company. He should meet with them to discuss it.
Project management should have a code of ethics.
This was embarrassing to me. I was fine with him telling people he was meeting, which was true, but the “you will be using my application soon” part was a complete lie.
I also told him so. I also cancelled the meeting. Without his case study, I could write my book.
Because people find out if someone lies, it can be a career-limiting factor. People will find out if your exaggerations are true. It will always bite you in your bum. So don’t do it.
This is why people don’t get promoted. Don’t be this person.
Next: My review of Donald Asher’s Who Gets Promoted? Who Doesn’t and Why It’s a game-changing guide!
2. Not doing good handovers
For harmonious office relationships and ongoing relationships, it is important to give a good handover at work’s end. It’s a good practice.
You must ensure that the project is given to the people who will use the product long-term, as well as all associated documents, lessons learned, training material, and other documentation.
Make sure they know how to reach you in case of emergency. You should also let them know that this is not their project anymore. If they don’t, they will lean on your shoulders for a while.
Career-limiting: It is not a good idea to work with a project manager who emails an operational team a closing document and is never seen again.
3. Talking about problems is not enough
Surprises are bad, as I discuss in my course on writing awesome project status reports. They are worse than not discussing problems, but they are an inevitable consequence. You risk causing problems to your manager by not talking about them. Bad news is not liked by project sponsors.
Don’t run watermelon projects. This is a project that’s green on the outside, but red when you open it up to see it more closely. Be honest about what’s going wrong.
If your project is not Green, report it as Red or Amber. Let others know what you’re doing about it.
This is a career-limiting characteristic: People will feel that you don’t know the whole story or aren’t truthful. Or both.
4. Not taking decisions
Stagnation can kill good ideas. Sometimes we need to make decisions and no one else will do it. If you feel safe and confident that no one will make the decision for you, then you can make it.
Don’t be afraid to empower others until they are ready