Been There. Done That. Is that the story of your work life? Then you are likely to be bored. And comfortable. And stagnant. Like you can do things with your eyes closed. Every year you wait for a promotion and it smartly side steps you. Secretly, you sigh about your lost potential and reconcile that at least you are safe!That's called being stuck in a rut!
Well, if you are wondering how one gets there and how one gets out, read on.
Here are 5 Blunders that stunt career growth
1.Lack of Self Awareness:
What does your organization value you for? What do you do best that no one else can do as well as you? What energises you? What are you especially proud of? What derails your performance? What is the role that would be the right next step for you in your current organization and outside? Very few people can really truly answer these questions with complete clarity. If we don't know the starting point well enough, we can hardly figure out the path ahead. So start by looking within. There are awesome tools like Strengthscope that map out your strengths and help you get 360 feedback. Believe me, you will start valuing yourself more!
2. Can't market yourself:
Why do we know Richard Branson or Bill Gates or Sundar Pichai or Elon Musk? Don't say that it is because they are CEOs of multinational giants. Do you know the CEOs of Walmart or Exxon Mobile or Berkshire Hathaway ( Top 10 on Fortune list)? So what is the point? In today's world, creating a personal brand is imperative unless you want to disappear into oblivion. The CEOs mentioned above make themselves seen and heard. They stand for something. The least you can learn to do is to be able to present yourself in the best manner possible at every forum. Like they say in Hindi "jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai" (what is visible is what sells). Figure out what makes you unique and and whats valuable about what you do. And don't forget to speak up for yourself. If you don't, no one else will.
3. Crib, Crib, Crib
There's a person we know in our office who loves to crib, whine, cry...right? The walking talking complaint box. The moment we see them approaching us, we pretend we are very busy with super urgent work so that they walk away...then we breathe a sigh of relief! If you have been in the same role for the some years and are frustrated about it and the way the organization works, there is a high likelihood that you are unknowingly modeling the behavior mentioned above. Bad Idea. Will not get you promoted next time either...so time to ditch the habit.
Become the sunshine of your office, not the dark cloud! Talk to people with a smile that lights up your eyes and touches their hearts. For every problem on the table bring out solutions...let positivity and optimism be your middle names. Let the magic begin!
4. My way or the highway approach to career growth
Opportunity for career growth comes in many forms...not just the way one imagined it. An additional responsibility. A new location. A new organizational initiative. A role in a different function. And we say no! Big mistake, nay, its a Big Blunder. An organization has needs too, you know. If you want to grow, you need to match your aspirations to your organization's growth needs. That is the only way to make the relationship thrive. Staying in your comfort zone and then inwardly (or outwardly) thinking that you are not valued by the organization is borderline foolish. Always remember that up is not the only way up! Gathering experiences of different kind is key to evolving as a well-rounded professional!
5. Falling Asleep at Office
Remember this quote above from the classic bestseller "Who moved my cheese?" Well the truth is that even the smartest executives are caught napping and organizational change hits them like a ton of bricks. The signs are all there if you are watchful...a new leader who does not give you your due or office gossip about relocation to another city...it could even be an eminent restructuring / buyout / merger that makes your role redundant. Whatever it is, unless you are alert and proactive about your changing environment, you would be left high and dry and your career may hit a big speed-breaker. Keep your eyes and ears open and figure out who are the people in the organizations who are the first to know. Having coffee with them once in a while could be your first step to networking, and soon you may find out about an opportunity that is brewing up, much ahead of the time it becomes visible to others!
So, in summary, unless you are reinventing yourself, constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone into the zone of courage, becoming more visible, being open and solution oriented....chances are the rut will continue. Don't say that you have not been warned!
About the author:
Yoshita Swarup Sharma is an ICF certified executive coach (ACC) who specializes in enabling leaders to transition into senior and top leadership roles with ease and grace. Role transitions are a very important milestone in any career and it does get lonely at the top! So reach out to her, if you think you need support in helping senior or high potential leaders in your organization get ready for their career moves. Or inbox if you want a complimentary session around your own career transition.