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Navigating Career Pitfalls: A Guide For Executives.

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Overcoming 12 Career Hazards That Threaten Your Growth.

It is that time of year.

The festive holiday season is fast approaching. Year-end processes are no doubt in full swing. Office socials and festive get-togethers with friends and families before signing off for the year, no doubt with a measure of relief. If you are still looking for small gifts for your team, then there is still time to get a copy of The RYSE Journal from Amazon, described as "A coach in your pocket" and "A one-stop-shop for building a coaching culture in your teams":

A 3d picture of a book called "RYse Journal"

Here is the last thing I want to share with you in 2023:

🥇 - Twelve Common Career Trip Hazards

Whether you are an experienced executive or someone recently starting out in their career, your path is littered with hazards that can derail you. Here are twelve common trip hazards to avoid:

Delivery and Implementation: You allow the pursuit of perfection to get in the way of the work you need to do. Perfectionism is often a place to hide. Perfection can be an excuse we use as the reason not to speak up or deliver.

Investing in yourself: You don’t look after yourself: a lack of sleep, exercise, rest, good food, and time to recharge. If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.

Maintaining focus and avoiding distractions: You forget why you are in business. Who are your clients, and what do they want? And how does your work and the team's work support that?

Crafting your personal brand: You over-focus on your personal brand. And your brand and craft become divorced. Over investing in your brand takes precedence over investing in getting better at your craft.

Developing executive presence: You chase prestige. It is okay to want to impress other people but choose the right people. At best, prestige is a trailing indicator. At worst, it increases the noise level and hence distraction.

Enhancing communication skills: You become a fast-talking, assertive speaker as a way of pushing your agenda past other people’s examination. This is at the expense of developing your listening skills as you emphasise listening to respond rather than understanding.

Collaboration and being a valued team member: You think the for-profit company that you work for is a family rather than a sports team which only exists to provide a top-quality product or service for its clients.

Making better decisions: You gain early success and traction because you are ambitious and talented. Beware! Early success can make you overconfident, so you ignore or forget these core principles. This creates blind spots. And blind spots may derail your career.

Building relationships strategically: You surround yourself with people who drain your energy rather than those who energise you. Or those who are B or C players rather than A-players, which drags you down.

Managing upwards: You work for an absentee or non-inclusive manager. Or someone who doesn’t want to engage and develop their employees.

Running effective meetings: You encounter people who don’t want to change, which leads to frustration and resentment. Change is hard. Every change carries with it the possibility of conflict and uncertainty. Your boss, who leads many of the meetings you attend, may regard the workplace environment as dynamic and difficult enough without looking for trouble.

Seeking feedback: You become dissatisfied because you compare yourself to others. As you get more years under your belt, you will come across many successful people who didn’t deserve the credit they got. It doesn’t matter. Play your game and focus on yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy.

🏋️ End-of-Year Health Check

For each of the twelve trip hazards, think about occasions when you are at work. Think of your typical day and week and interactions with others - not just one good or bad example.

For each hazard, enter a subjective self-assessment score from 1 to 5. A score of 1 means you view the trip hazard as low risk, while a score of 5 is something you consider high risk of causing you to derail.

Be transparently honest with yourself. Your answers will help to clarify, define and prioritise the areas to work on.

For any area that you put yourself at high risk of succumbing to the trip hazard, a score of 4 or 5 - write down a list of actions you need to take to mitigate and reduce the risks. What do you need to start doing, stop doing or do more of in 2024? These actions should form the foundation for your professional goals for the year ahead.

Final Thoughts

Leadership is not just about guiding others; it's about being open to guidance ourselves. It's about cultivating resilience in the face of irrational adversity and being mindful of the impact we have on others. As leaders and coaches, we must strive for the insight that allows us to grow and help others do the same.

Let's connect if you are grappling with these issues or looking for strategies to enhance leadership self-awareness. Follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my "Coaching Contemplations" newsletter at for more insights.

What strategies have you found effective in dealing with low self-awareness in leadership? Share your experiences. Let's learn from each other.

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