6 Ways women unintentionally sabotage their careers

Sep 27, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Image: Daniel Ingold/Getty Images

More companies now acknowledge the important role women play in business success. As such, almost every industry offers women more opportunities to succeed in their careers. These opportunities, however, do not guarantee instant success. Career women need to know how to use their skills — and even personalities — to their advantage, while sidestepping mistakes that hurt advancement.

Stay away from these six common career stoppers:

1. Forgetting about yourself and paying attention only to what others need

Many females naturally fall into a nurturing role, which often gives them the image of being caretakers. There is nothing wrong with looking after other people, even at work. However, if you always say "yes" to every favor someone asks of you at work, you may run out of time for your own tasks. What’s worse is that this could have a negative impact on the efficacy of other people within your own team.

2. Being too concerned about yourself and not others

Women sometimes think highly of their own skills, while doubting those of others. When problems arise, avoid overreacting and overcorrecting the people you work with. Learn to listen to what others have to say and consider others' input. This balance allows you to earn the respect of your coworkers.

3. Not taking the initiative

Too many women wait for someone's approval before making a career move. These women often see themselves passed over for promotions because they don't seem to have confidence in themselves and what they can do.

4. Spending more than you can afford

Putting on debt is simple, but taking off debt is difficult. When you are in debt, you lose control and power over your finances. High levels of debt force a lot of people to stay in jobs they don’t like. When you don't feel passionate about your job, it's more of a struggle to do your best to succeed there.

5. Having a broad vision without a plan of action

Many women excel at making plans and looking at the bigger picture, sometimes in an idealistic manner. These are great traits to have — if you can focus on implementing them. To avoid failure in your career, you've got to set realistic expectations. You have to pay attention to how you are going to achieve all your goals.

6. Flirting with men to get what you want

Flirting isn't a career strategy. Flattering men can work to your advantage, but only for short-term gains. You want — and have the skills — to achieve your goals on your own merit. Aim for promotions based on the quality of your ideas, your ability to work well with others and your strong technical skills. With proper career planning, you won’t have to rely on anybody to get to where you want to be.