Obstacles take time to identify. But if you don’t find and tackle them, then it will become difficult to move forward in your career.
We’ve devised a guide to help you acknowledge what might be obstructing you from getting to that crucial next stage.
(Psst! We’ve written all about the GROW method and how it can help your career in this article!)
What are some examples of obstacles in business?
Some of the most common responses we get from our candidates are:
- I can’t progress in my career
- There are no jobs that fit my skillset
- I can’t make the changes that I want to in my job
These aren’t so much obstacles as problems. So, how can you find the obstacle and fix the problem?
We suggest: Once you’ve located a problem, ask yourself the simple question: Why has this become a problem? Let’s take “I can’t progress in my career” as an example. Here are some suggestions as to what the obstacles to this problem may be:
- Because you lack leadership skills
- Because you lack confidence
- Because you don’t have a big enough network
- Because you lack the prerequisite training
- Because you’re in a toxic environment
One or more of these obstacles can be contributing to the problem, and you have the power to improve and change all but the last one.
How to improve leadership skills
Leadership is a mindset. So, to become a leader you should learn to think like one! Take the initiative. If you see something that you could improve, voice your opinion. And don’t stop there – if your opinion isn’t heard, work out why. Are you only pointing out the company’s mistakes and gaps? Followers find problems; leaders find ways to resolve them and push forward. Think through a work problem and bring solutions.
Take note! Presenting yourself to your peers as a person with ambition doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to others. Make sure that you listen to your colleagues, appreciate their thoughts, and remind yourself how you would feel in their shoes.
How to improve confidence at work
Practice and push yourself out of your comfort zone; it’s the only way to change! People who lack confidence are often also perfectionists, which can block your progress. Everyone makes mistakes. If you don’t practice, then you won’t grow.
One less common way to get confident is to learn from other people’s success stories. Memoirs are a brilliant place to start; they offer quite the opposite of an Instagram feed, where everything is curated to look rosy! Read stories from the best, like The Snowball by Warren Buffett.
One way to improve confidence without taking charge outright is through networking, which brings us to:
How to build a bigger network
Are you getting in front of people? It’s not about only the right people, either – to build your network, you need to throw a bit of corporate spaghetti at the wall.
Go to conferences. Speak at them (see our note on “confidence” above!)If your company has several branches, see if you can move to another branch for a short term, or ask if you can work on a project together with a team in a different location.
How to get the right training and education
This might seem like an uphill struggle if you have been out of a learning environment for a long time. But if you learn and develop every day, whether you’re learning a new language or improving your vocabulary, those small efforts will eventually make a big difference. Try something that you can easily fit you’re your day, likesigning up for Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day! Or download the Financial Times app and set up searches to learn from the experts! Whenever they write a new article, they’ll fall straight into your inbox. This informal training will also set you up for taking the plunge into a longer course.
Learning no longer has to mean sitting in a classroom. When it comes to your career, think seriously about professional development and the skills you’ll get from it. If you’re stuck on where to start, look at the CVs of people who are in the jobs you want. What qualifications do they have? Have they taken any on-the-job training? Are any of them accredited? Make a note of them and speak to your manager about how you can incorporate them into your day.
Need to find a way up?
If you’re looking for a job in the City of London, talk to us, and follow us on social media. We post new positions regularly on our Instagram and LinkedIn channels.