What can seriously hinder career advancement? How can knowing this help build your awareness of how your beliefs and behaviors that can derail success? If you see these in yourself or others, it provides the opportunity to consider other options and make better choices. Here are four things that can stall your career:
1. The focus is primarily on yourself and your success. In high-risk situations such as investing in your performance or career goals where there is competition at play, it can seem necessary to set high expectations for yourself and become focused on meeting your needs. This is appropriate for self-development, and can feel rewarding when things go your way. However, this tendency can lead to political missteps and ignoring the concerns and needs of others. Too much focus on this kind of self-involvement has high costs.
- When you are self-involved, you can quickly lose perspective on the larger context that matters to others as well as you.
- Other people pick up on this self-concern and self-involvement, and it can interfere with trust and a relationship based on mutual consideration.
- Self-involvement can impede listening, lead to arrogance, a lack of collaboration, and less efficient performance since you may not be tapping into others’ perspectives and helpful ideas.
2. Lose composure under pressure or stress. Losing your cool can happen when you feel defensive or overwhelmed in the face of challenges. It’s possible to lose composure when you feel trapped in a bad set of circumstances, and you lack the self-confidence to address it successfully. A loss of composure can also occur if you are perfectionistic with expectations beyond what may be reasonable. We all experience breakdowns occasionally. We work through these moments and learn from them. But without a way to deal effectively with painful emotions, there may be costs.
- When under stress, our brains narrow focus, and we can become single-minded in our perspective, or judgmental of self and colleagues,
- Defensiveness can show up in a hostile or sarcastic manner with others,
- Under pressure, it is common to make poor decisions.
3. Over-dependence on an advocate. Success rests with having the courage, endurance, and will to become self-confident and self-reliant. While mentors and coaches can play a critical role in your learning and career growth, over-reliance on a boss, champion, and mentor can build a dependency that harms your reputation. Your reputation can suffer when you turn to the manager or project leader for advice without coming to them with a solution of your own. Another reason for dependence is being overly loyal or having too narrow an experience-base. Let’s look at the costs of being too dependent.
- Others may question your ability to achieve results independently.
- Others might wonder whether you can stand up to a tough assignment or situation without help.
- You may be so tied to one advocate, that if he or she lost interest or left the organization, your reputation may suffer.
4. Over-dependence on a single skill. When you overuse a skill, it becomes a weakness. We are comfort-zone creatures. Most of us don’t like taking chances and don’t venture onto unfamiliar ground comfortably. Some think that learning one thing and doing that well will help them get promoted. An example of an overused skill is selling. As things change, using the skill of selling as an influencing strategy can turn others off. Also, a single skill can become a problem when different skills would help reach the goals more efficiently. Here are some risks of this over-dependence.
- Reliance on a single strength for performance and career progression can be a built-in career limitation.
- Not having a broad and diverse set of skills make it difficult to adapt to changes, and handle challenges successfully rather than only having the core talent or technology to leverage.
- You may get a reputation for having a narrow perspective, being inexperienced, or not interested in broadening or self-development.
If you see yourself in any of these potential derailers, realize what you need to build new muscles and skills that will get you on track to success. Use your courage to face your beliefs and strategies and change them. Work on another skill to cover for, substitute for or neutralize the adverse effects of the lack of skill. Find and use your strengths. Leverage them, and get feedback and assistance from others to mitigate risks and ensure career success.