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10 Things You’re Doing at Work That CEOs Wouldn’t

People who want to succeed in their career need to avoid these things that CEOs would never do at work.

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CEOs know the right mindsets and strategies for success

It takes time, dedication, and experience to become a successful CEO. Not only do wildly successful people do these things every single day, but they also don’t do the following things at work. Click to learn the things you’re probably doing at work that CEOs wouldn’t.

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You let your ego get in the way of your work

One mistake people make at work that CEOs don’t is allowing the ego to stall progress or completion of a task or project. Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo, says most people have brains and drive, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. “Sometimes people refuse to acknowledge that they are ‘wrong’ due to their knowledge of, or experience with, a subject,” Wang says. Doing this at work prevents people from seeing other possible solutions that could be a good route forward. Experts also want you to know these secrets for how to succeed at work.

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You don’t take accountability for your decisions

Remove “should have,” “would have,” and “could have,” from your vocabulary. These are just some of the things you should never say to your boss. According to Kiana Pan, Director of Career Services for the national coding education company Coding Dojo, says that not taking accountability for your decisions is something CEOs would never do at work. “Be responsible for your greatness, and your failures, and always give 100 percent to your work and the company’s objectives,” Pan says. “Ultimately, the buck stops at you, and it’s up to you to engineer the desired results.” Pan isn’t saying you can never make mistakes, but when you make one, you must own it and use it to grow.

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You say “that’s not my job”

If you want to walk the walk of a future CEO, you need to talk the talk like a CEO. One thing people might say at work that CEOs wouldn’t is, “that’s not my job,” according to Caroline Stokes, CEO of the talent agency, The Forward Co. “When someone in the organization is deeply involved in an area of their business and do it well, they are unable to have a broad strategic view that the CEO would,” Stokes says. “But it’s imperative for people at work to understand they are connected.” Even though something might not be “your job,” you still need to see how your work impacts the whole.

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You only work with “yes” people

Having a healthy discourse is crucial for success in the workplace. So exclusively working with “yes” people isn’t something CEOs would do at work, Pan says. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you or who can provide a different viewpoint on a topic. Not sharing your opinions is just one of the many ways you can become of the most annoying co-workers.

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You work off of hunches or feelings

Trusting your gut is necessary for some career choices, but it should not be the basis for your decisions. Instead, Wang says CEOs embrace and test data instead of solely relying on gut feelings or hunches. “Never use a single data point as a ‘source of truth,'” Wang says. “And if your data contradicts your hypothesis, the data is usually correct, so you need to tweak your hypothesis and test again.” CEOs remember plans or ideas are not set in stone, so don’t fear changes. Reflecting on your wins and losses is something successful people do at the end of their workday.

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You compete against coworkers

The workplace today is increasingly more competitive instead of collaborative, according to Wang. CEOs don’t look at their coworkers as the competition. “I firmly believe the ‘golden rule’ of treating others like you’d like to be treated is the most effective way to live and work,” Wang says. “Being humble, respectful, and collaborative goes much further than if you solely focus on achieving personal, professional success.” CEOs know that what goes around comes around—so they’ve done some really nice things for their employees.

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You act before you think

Reacting impulsively or jumping to conclusions at work is a big mistake. Responding with knee-jerk reactions because of confusion or avoidance is the quickest way to make bad decisions at work, Pan says. If you want to be a CEO one day, you’ll need to think before you act and put some thought into what you wear to a job interview.

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You don’t communicate

One tip go-getters remember is that communication is essential, especially for people entering a supervisory or management role for the first time, explains Kelly Donovan, the principal of Kelly Donovan & Associates, a boutique firm catering to executive job seekers across America. “My clients who have successfully advanced to the CEO position do an exceptional job of helping team members embrace change,” Donovan says. “They communicate transparently and seek input from subordinates.” Giving people a voice in decisions makes them feel valued and less likely to undermine changes. Speaking up is a challenge, but it’s also great career advice for introverts.

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You only network when you’re looking for a job

People who aspire to be CEOs should never let their professional network dissolve or slow. And yes, this includes networking at work with coworkers. Keeping up relationships with recruiters and other executives outside the office is even more important. Maintaining your network now is critical for future opportunities that lead to the C-suite, Donovan says. Networking isn’t an activity only for immediate job searching. “Stay in touch with your contacts over time and return recruiters’ phone calls, even if you’re not interested in the position in question,” Donovan says. Again, even introverts need to follow this career and networking tip.

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You work with a know-it-all mindset

Aspiring CEOs don’t have a know-it-all mindset but rather a learn-it-all mindset. Stokes says that might sound exhausting, but a passion for leadership and learning helps the business run well. “I quite like the idea that everyone can be the CEO of their department, or their function, with the same CEO learn-it-all mindset,” Stokes says. People who don’t succeed at work or move up the ladder typically have a closed or fixed mindset, making it harder to find solutions to everyday problems. Your mental and emotional state at work and home get better if you follow this advice from life coaches.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.