Careers

4 habits to give up this summer to get a promotion

Landing a promotion may seem out of reach. But by ditching a few career-limiting habits, you can start laying the foundation for your next big step.

Career experts recommend setting up a meeting with your boss in which you make it clear you'd like to talk about your performance and compensation months in advance. But even before you set up this meeting, you want to make sure you're ready to present your best case to your boss.

To make sure you're at peak performance, avoid these four habits that set mediocre employees from all-star ones:

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1. Focusing only on yourself

According to serial entrepreneur and turnaround king Marcus Lemonis, top-performing employees share one specific trait. Rather than being focused solely on their own success, they are committed to helping their team succeed.

"Most people think [business] is a race where they have to win," says Lemonis, host of CNBC's "The Profit" and CEO of Camping World.

But actually, he says, more than individual achievement, "it's about the company winning."

Choosing to only focus on your own success could backfire since many employers look for professionals who can work well with others. A recent survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities of 400 employers found that over 80 percent of midsize or large employers search for collaboration skills.

2. Not taking responsibility when you make a mistake

Every employee makes mistakes. But the best ones take responsibility for them.

"You have to own it," best-selling management author Suzy Welch tells CNBC in a March interview. "You cannot play the blame game."

Even if the mistake wasn't all your fault, pointing fingers at others makes you look unprofessional.

"Even if you aren't the only author of the screw-up — and you probably aren't — you still have to take responsibility publicly," she says.

More specifically, indicate your involvement in the mess. If you were the sole perpetrator, acknowledge that to your boss, and if you were just a part of it, say that you were involved and that you "own the consequences," Welch advises.

After you take responsibility, make an effort to learn from your mistake by examining your own actions and reaching out to others to figure out what you could have done differently.

3. Not keeping track of your goals

According to behavioral psychologist and researcher Dan Ariely, successful people keep are able to accomplish big goals because they break them down into specific tasks.Specifically, he says, using a calendar to set deadlines for yourself is a great way to achieve more.

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"Calendars help us see the opportunity cost of our decisions," Ariely says in a February interview.

4. Stretching yourself too thin

Trying to accomplish too much, while well-intentioned, can backfire.

Consistently missing deadlines or under-performing can damage your professional reputation or worse, like negative performance reviews or getting fired. A University of California, San Francisco study shows that those who have greater difficulty saying "No" are more likely to experience burnout and even depression.

As billionaire Warren Buffett says, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say 'No' to almost everything."

While you won't want to simply say "No" to your boss, asking for their help prioritizing your work can help reduce stress. That will ensure that you're doing what he or she wants and help convey your heavy workload.

By identifying and focusing on your priorities, you'll establish yourself as an employee who goes above and beyond — one who's that much closer to a promotion.

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