Limited Self-Belief and Lack of Self-Esteem: As career professionals, we generally underestimate our own abilities and attribute a greater degree of efficiency and aptitude to others. This limiting belief holds career development back from achieving its full potential. Professionals who desire career advancement need to understand that their abilities match up competitively with others in their field. Developing self-belief and self-esteem are the first steps for successful self-representation. Confidence is contagious and easily identified.
Self-Defeating Behaviors: Everyone has habits, some good and some bad. Bad habits interfere with career development. Saying inappropriate things or making improper gestures at the wrong time does not present itself favorably with co-workers, bosses, or gatekeepers. Behaviors develop reputations that precede professional engagements. Judgments are passed based on previous work behaviors and rumors are spread that illuminate this perceived flaw. Stress and fatigue contribute to less than desirable behavior and being aware of other’s reactions is a tell sign that should alert us to keep or replace enacted behaviors.
Uninformed about Steps and Techniques Needed for Progression and Advancement: Most workers find themselves doing repetitive tasks and wonder why they’re not advancing. Some people are satisfied doing the ordinary, but not you (or you wouldn’t be wasting your time reading this). Ask questions – how did she move up so fast? What did she do? How did she do it? Who was her contact? Here are 7 steps that can be implemented right away and possibly the missing element needed for your promotion: 1. Create relationships 2. Be early, leave late 3. Do more than asked 4. Tell everyone how great your boss is 5. Support other departments 6. Ask for more work and do it 7. Ask for a promotion. If you don’t accept just getting by then you will advance. Ultimately, the blame for our failure or success rests on our shoulders and we need to identify the sequential steps to meet our needs regardless of how difficult these steps could be.
Misaligned Goals and Values: Goals and values are not the same thing. However, negative effects are felt when they are not in sync. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Is that really where you want to be? What do you value most in life? Does that goal align with your most important value? When goals and values are aligned, there is an aura of synergy that is created, jubilance in work follows, new energy is created, positive momentum is created, and a resounding vigor is experienced. Do you feel a weight on your shoulders? Maybe your goals and values are in misalignment. What quick change could you make to have the two roads meet?
Lack of Self-Awareness concerning Strengths, Knowledge, and Abilities (KSAs): Never underestimate your education and life experience. Most people do. We all have strengths, but not all of us take the time and put in the effort needed to make innate strengths into abilities. Not knowing your strengths can limit your development for the long-term. What do you enjoy doing? What do you do without any effort? Where do you get the most compliments from others? We all have life experiences that shape our behaviors and attitudes. These life lessons are not learned or experienced by everyone. We learn by doing. It is common to underestimate our knowledge. We assume that others know the same things and others have had similar experiences. This is not the case. We share similar experiences within cultures, but the overall picture for each individual is unique. We are all different in our own ways and have something valuable to add to the conversation. Never underestimate your value.
Inability to Communicate Effectively: Did you ever hear of the game “telephone”? A message is whispered from one player to the next and the message heard by the last player is always completely different from the original message. The biggest problem in today’s fast paced, over-worked, and over-informed environment is the inability to communicate effectively. As an author or writer, one learns to write as if the audience does not know anything. On the other hand, when we speak or write, we generally accept that our audience has a basic understanding of the topic. The error in communication lies in not clearly providing the message as it is intended. Critical points are excluded to maximize time, but those points need to be filled in by the audience receiving the message. This misunderstanding leads to crucial errors and ultimately destroys more time than was initially saved. Take the time to communicate your message clearly and effectively in the first place and save yourself the headache of having to clean up the associated errors.
Lack of Leveraging Networks and Relationships: The general belief is that our closest friends and family are the only ones who would help us in times of need. Studies on social networking suggest that this is completely wrong. Your external network is willing to help and you need to leverage the benefits. Loose connections seem to provide greater benefits and they find greater opportunities that your immediate network could never realize. The power of your external network exists in its positioning which is completely outside your immediate network’s reach. Ask for support and probe your distant network to see how they can support your career development. People are willing to help. It’s our nature. Your external network could provide the needed boost that will take your career to the next level. If your distant network is limited then you need to create an action plan for cultivating connections. In today’s globalized and interconnected economy, competition is high, and relationships are gold. Ultimately, this works because of reciprocity and the genuine character of our kind. When you get the opportunity, pay it forward because what goes around comes around.