Respect is an asset every CIO seeks. Achieving a reputation for knowledge, reliability and honesty takes time, as well as a strong personal commitment to adopting professional standards. Yet a single wrong move, made in haste or due to a momentary lack of judgment, can leave a hard-earned reputation in ashes.

The role of the IT leader has changed dramatically over the past few years. “It used to be that the CIO was the chief information officer responsible for the entire IT infrastructure of the company,” says Christopher M. Walker, a business consultant and coach. “The CIO is now more likely to be known as the Chief Innovation Officer responsible for the digital transformation of the organization.”

While the role of the CIO has evolved significantly over the past few years, many IT leaders continue to fall into the same pitfalls that have tarnished the position and authority of countless colleagues. “Despite the changing nature of the role, there are still some sure-fire ways for an IT director to ruin their professional reputation,” says Walker.

While a hard-earned reputation can be ruined in many different ways, there are a few common mistakes that trap IT leaders with alarming regularity. Here’s a look at the top seven ways CIOs are inadvertently destroying their professional standing.

1. Inflexibility

In today’s rapidly changing world, organizations need a leader who is both flexible and comfortable with change. “If an CIO is inflexible and resistant to change, it will quickly become apparent and their professional reputation will suffer as a result,” warns Walker. Constant communication is also important. “If you can communicate effectively with both the business and IT departments, you’re on your way to building a strong reputation,” he notes.

Walker believes that CIOs need to become more politicized in their interactions with the management team, gathering supporters and forming alliances. “They need to be able to navigate the complex political waters that they will inevitably encounter,” he says. “It can be a difficult and stressful task, but it’s one that CIOs must be able to perform if they want to be successful in their careers.”

2. Invisibility

Your brand speaks for you when you’re not in the room, and CIOs can ruin their professional reputation by hiding in the shadows, says Maureen Farmer, founder and CEO of Westgate Executive Branding and Career Consulting. Lack of a personal brand can limit a CIO’s ability to move up the industry ladder because they remain a secret unknown to anyone outside the enterprise.

CIOs are highly skilled experts who quietly lead their teams in the most complex digital and physical infrastructures of the post-industrial world, notes Farmer. Generally lacking visibility beyond their enterprise, CIOs rarely focus on personal strategies and career opportunities. “Instead, they deliver bottom-line value through cost reduction, efficiency gains and post-merger product integration, to name just a few of the challenges they face,” she notes.

CIOs need to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Speaking at industry events, networking with peers, and writing articles and white papers are just a few of the ways CIOs can build their brand.

3. Lack of innovation

IT leaders must burnish their reputations by fostering innovation in the form of new initiatives, prototypes, hackathons and cross-departmental partnerships, says Jeff Mines, CEO of professional services firm Champion Leadership Group.

To stand out from the crowd and become a highly respected leader, the CIO must make critical adjustments to his department’s operations. “They need to get more creative in delegating responsibilities so they can spend more time pushing experiments,” Mayne advises. “They also need to adopt a new management style that is open to the unique ideas that emerge from experimentation.”

On the other hand, being overly aggressive can actually damage a CIO’s reputation. “Many veteran CIOs have industry experience and struggling scars to back up their thinking about the best technologies and methods to implement them,” says Mains. “However, sometimes they are so sure of their ideas that they try to force them on everyone from their subordinates to their senior colleagues without first gaining support.” In the long run, it pays to be assertive, but not argumentative .

4. Reckless decision making

Be careful with the decisions you make. “One careless choice can ruin your reputation and your career,” warns Jim Durham, CIO of Solar Panels Network USA, a national solar panel installation company. “By being aware of the risks and taking responsibility for your actions, you can minimize the damage and learn from your mistakes,” he advises.

A careless decision can be anything from choosing the wrong technology to mishandling sensitive data. “These actions are not only career-destructive, but can have lasting negative effects on your enterprise,” notes Durham.

CIOs are always pressured by management to make the right decision. However, it is important to remember that even the best strategies and intentions can sometimes lead to disastrous results. “If you’re not sure about a decision, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and check with your team before making the final decision,” suggests Durham.

Failure is never an option, especially big failures. “It shows that you are unable to handle important tasks,” Durham states. It can also damage the company’s reputation and, therefore, your own. In the worst case scenario, this could result in your termination.

Unfortunately, even the most cautious CIOs can make mistakes. “If you do end up in the middle of a public relations nightmare, the best thing you can do is admit your mistake and take responsibility for it,” advises Durham. “It will show that you are willing to learn from your mistakes and make changes to make sure it never happens again.”

5. Having inferior social skills

A leading way CIOs ruin their professional reputation is by ignoring the human factor. “CIOs must be able to communicate with both technical and non-technical people, and they must always remember that they are dealing with people,” says Anthony Vaccaro, vice president of sales at Timewatch, a professional services software provider.

CIOs often get frustrated because their team doesn’t live up to their expectations. “All of a sudden they start treating them like machines, or worse, like children who don’t understand what’s going on,” Vaccaro says. “That’s a surefire way to lose the trust of your team and make them feel like you’re not listening.”

Whenever something goes wrong, the IT leader needs to understand what happened and how to avoid repeating the mistake. Shifting blame down the ladder is a cop out. Word will spread over time, reaching all levels of the organization and your reputation will take a hit.

6. Ignoring credit sharing

Both management and staff prefer to work with people who recognize their achievements. Not sharing credit for a job well done will not help the leader’s reputation, internally or externally.

Promoting your department’s accomplishments is a quick, easy, and subtle way to raise your visibility as a trusted and innovative leader. Praise your team’s hard work and everything you’ve helped them achieve. The result is a win-win for all parties.

7. Failure to align IT with business goals

When IT and the enterprise start moving in different directions, disaster is inevitable. The result is usually chaos, bad feelings, and an IT director with a reputation for being uncontrollable and unreliable.

Pursuing IT opportunities that don’t fully meet business goals can be fatal for an CIO, says Cole South, co-founder of Synchronize, an e-commerce solutions provider. “Aligning and achieving business goals takes time,” he notes. It’s always worth the effort.