5 Ways to Take Self-Sabotage out of Your Workplace Vernacular

Perform a Google search of “Ways women self-sabotage themselves at work,” and you’ll find everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg weighing in on this issue.


As Emmy Award-winning television producer and author Helene Lerner states in a Forbes Magazine article about self-sabotage, ”We have the power inside to be great, but oftentimes it’s covered by false beliefs about ourselves.”

Lerner, like many other women’s advocates, believes that the only thing holding women back from achieving their true power is being able to recognize and overcome their own barriers.

Luckily, Lerner, Winfrey, and Sandberg aren’t the only ones raising their voices in support of ending self-sabotage. L’Oreal Paris USA recently added the topic to their 2014 Headliners Series, where they invited Karen Elizaga, Executive Coach & Author, Marie Corcoran, Co-Chair of IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network, and John Fayad, gender issues speaker and author, to speak about women’s tendencies in the workplace.

After enjoying such a positive exchange of ideas on the topic, Karen Elizaga put together a list of the ways women might be sabotaging themselves and published it on the Huffington Post in an article entitled, “The Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways Women Sabotage Themselves at Work.”

Some of the highlights from this list include:

  1. Thinking perfection is the norm, instead of just striving for excellence
  2. Dressing or acting overtly sexual or too masculine, instead of letting talent and hard work shine
  3. Working an internal monologue of negativity, instead of being kind to yourself
  4. Feeling the need to constantly apologize, instead using your strength to ask for what you want or make a recommendation
  5. Thinking you have to go it alone, instead of reaching out and helping other women succeed

Elizaga noted that self-sabotage happens to women all along the corporate ladder, from entry-level professionals to CEOs, and sees incorporating her list of “don’ts” as a positive step toward ending these tendencies.

What are your thoughts on self-sabotage? Are you guilty of committing your own list of  “don’ts? Do you have tips for overcoming self-sabotage? Join the conversation by following the Women’s Career Channel on Facebook and Twitter.

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