Category Archives: Professional Relationships

10 Social Media Mistakes That Can Derail Your Career

Monica was a manager for a mid-sized financial services firm. She managed a team of eight people. She was very outgoing and social, a high “I” (Influencing) on her DISC profile. She was known at work as a connector. She seemed to know everyone and was the go-to person for what was going on behind the scenes. Monica also was very active online. She liked to keep up with what her friends were doing and posted nearly every day about her personal life on the social platforms. Some of her direct reports and colleagues also were connected to her on these social networks. At times, the Monday morning chatter was about what Monica had been up to over the weekend.  As a result, the perception of Monica’s executive presence, leadership potential, and, therefore, career opportunities, began to suffer.

According to a survey by, about 70% of young professionals are unaware of the potential damage to their careers from careless online activity.* Keep in mind that your reputation will be formed from not only the perceptions about you at work, but also from outside sources. Social medial platforms can be wonderful tools for advancing your executive presence, if you use them strategically. 

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Executive presence is the professional and leadership capacity others see in you and is comprised of four dimensions: your Business Intelligence, Business Impact, Relationships and Reputation. Following are 10 of the most common mistakes I see professionals make on their social networks that impact each of these dimensions of executive presence, and steps you can take to avoid them. 

  • Your profile is incomplete and not up to date.  People look at your profile to get a sense of who you are. You want to put your best foot forward. Keep the information about your work experience, education, certifications and interests up to date.  
  • Your LinkedIn profile photo is not professional. Perceptions are often formed from the image projected by your photo. Select a photo that is professionally taken and represents the brand you wish to portray.  
  • Your LinkedIn profile description or experience listings don’t speak to your business impact. Make sure you include outcomes you’ve achieved. Show that you know how to get results. 
  • You don’t contribute to the community with your expertise. Don’t just read other people’s posts, share your own. Write short posts about your industry or area of expertise.  Share articles, studies, and other useful information you come across in your personal development. Others will see you as a resource and expert.  Join industry or professional association online groups. A lot of information relevant to your work is shared through these groups. You also can make important connections that could be instrumental in your work and career. 
  • You share too much. There is open access to some portions of your public profile on any platform. Balance sharing TMI (too much information) and engaging people in your life. Keep in mind there’s only so much people want to know and see of you. There also are boundaries in professional relationships. Be conscientious about what you post. What would you tell your co-workers or a prospective employer about your weekend in a conversation or interview? What you would not say is what you sometimes post and what they see. 
  • You have a small network and don’t show up as a person of influence. You don’t proactively seek out strategic connections important for building your network. If you’re not connecting, you’re missing out on gaining valuable insights and opportunities to share yours. 
  • Your network doesn’t align with the platform.  Each platform is best for different types of relationships and information sharing. Thoughtfully make connections on each platform based on the type of relationships you have or want to develop.   
  • You make comments about your employer or someone at work. When something happens at work you’re not happy with, refrain from sharing your frustrations with your social network. Defamation, sharing confidential or untrue information can cause you to lose your job.
  • Your language is sometimes less appropriate for a public forum. Be careful of what you say and especially how you say it. Without the benefit of verbal and non-verbal cues, messages can easily be taken not as you intended.
  • You’re relaxed with your grammar. You like to be informal when communicating with your friends. However, people will judge your intelligence by your spelling and grammar. You’re often simply in a hurry. But, take a minute to clean up your writing. 

Use these digital platforms thoughtfully and strategically. Consider which platforms you should use and for what purpose. Connect to individuals for each platform based on relevance for the purpose of your relationship. Post on each platform based on the purpose you’ve decided to use it for and the outcomes you wish to achieve. Remember the balance of TMI. 

*Is Social Media Helping or Hindering Young People’s Career Prospects? by Josh Hansen, Oct 11, 2017,

If you want to make sure the image you project to your professional network is a positive one, or to learn more about improving your executive presence, click here to download my guide to Troubleshoot your executive presence.

10 Tips to Grow Allies in Your Network

Kathy and Miguel work for a mid-sized manufacturing company. Kathy works in operations, while Miguel is in Finance.  Both have worked for the company about five years and have worked together on various projects over the years.  They have formed a good working relationship. There have been times when Kathy needed a custom report run to get data for budgeting or project analysis and has reached out to Miguel for a quick turnaround. Miguel needed to know about the background and personalities of some of the leaders he would be presenting to. Kathy was able to share her insights and experiences so that Miguel could be better prepared for the meeting.


No one succeeds in their career on their own. Not only do you need mentors and sponsors to help pull you up in your career. You also need allies to support you along the way.


Allies can be peers, subordinates or may be senior to you. They may be inside your company, part of a professional association outside of the company, or even someone you worked with in the past.


Like Kathy and Miguel, you’ll find yourself in need of someone in another part of the company to help with a project. You may need a favor in a pinch, or need another perspective on the political landscape of a situation you’re dealing with.  To help you in these situations, you’ll need allies with whom you have informal working relationships. Allies are willing to pitch in when you need them. You won’t be successful without them.


The concept of an ally is to help each other. Like other relationships in your network, your ally relationships are two-way. Allies are earned. You earn an ally by being an ally first.


How do you identify potential allies and earn their friendship?  These ten tips will help you build your network of allies.

  1. Identify other professionals with whom you’ve worked and seem to have good camaraderie.
  2. Make professional and personal connections to get to know others in your network better.  Be genuine.
  3. Be proactive in reaching out to offer help with something, even before someone asks you.
  4. Don ‘t expect anything in return. Allies don’t owe each other. Opportunities will naturally arise to help each other.
  5. Be gracious when an ally asks for your help.  However, don’t feel obligated to their request. Be honest about what you are able to do.
  6. Demonstrate integrity. Be honest, trustworthy, and follow through on what you say you will do.
  7. Hold discussions you’ve had in confidence. No gossiping about anyone to anyone anytime.
  8. Communicate for clarity of understanding of each other.  Stay in touch during times when you don’t need anything.
  9. Be considerate in what you ask. Don’t put an ally in an awkward or sensitive position.
  10. Be grateful. Thank allies for their partnership and even the little things they do for you.


Who would you consider your allies to be? Have you been as intentional about these relationships as you should?


Allies are among the most important relationships in your career. Treat them as such.

Your career success, and your personal experience and satisfaction at work every day will be richer as a result.

To find out more about allies and how to identify them download this excerpt from Chapter 7 of my FuelForward® book.  Download here and accelerate your career moves up the corporate hierarchy.