Having held several positions with very different managers, I look back at my career and acknowledge some mistakes I’ve made in dealing with them. I want to help you avoid those mistakes.

Mistake 6: Going Over Your Manager’s Head

When I worked in IBM, there was the “Open Door” policy. This simply meant that any employee was empowered to go to their boss with any complaint or suggestion or question, because the door was always open. However, the rule was that you go first to your immediate supervisor and if for some reason that was not satisfactory, then you could go to the next level of management. But if you decided to go over your manager’s head and talk first to their manager, you would be immediately advised that you first talk to your manager before taking it any further, and it would not be well-received if you didn’t do it that way.

This “Open Door” policy is a good one, I believe, in keeping communications open and allowing for grievances to be resolved. But you begin by talking first to your immediate manager and not going over their head. You may feel that your manager will not listen and will not do anything about your situation, but until you have tried to resolve it on that level, it will almost always be a mistake to bypass your manager and go to the next level.

Mistake 7: Failing to Pay Attention to the “Small Stuff”

Remembering that perception equals reality, if you fail to do the things that create good impressions, you will do harm to yourself and your career. For example, dressing appropriately for your position. I know that casual attire is very acceptable in many work environments, but even if that is true where you work, your casual attire needs to be neat, clean, modest and coordinated. Looking sloppy or careless won’t do you any good. Go the extra mile, if necessary, to give the perception that you do care how you look and you do take time to make a professional appearance.

Take clues from your manager. If he or she dresses very professionally, that tells you that they expect and respect that kind of appearance from those who work for them. Someone has said that it’s smart to dress a level above your position. That might be good advice in some organizations and it would demonstrate that you are serious about moving up in the company.