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How to Overcome Your Career Derailers

Career derailment is real and very common. Career derailers are those recurring behaviours that are limiting you from advancing in your career.


  • Recognise Career Traps: Be aware of behaviours and attitudes that may hinder career progress.
  • Take Responsibility: Own your actions and their impact in the workplace.
  • Identify Weaknesses: Seek feedback and self-reflect on interpersonal skills needing improvement.
  • Boost Emotional Intelligence: Develop self-awareness and empathy for better workplace interactions.
  • Seek Guidance: Don't hesitate to ask for help or advice to gain new perspectives.

Avoid career traps

It might surprise you that most people are unaware that their decisions, attitudes, lack of a key skill or even a particular character trait negatively impacts their ability to produce results and be noticed for the right reasons.

So how can you avoid derailing your career?

Take control

The first step is to take responsibility for your own behaviour and the way you “turn up” in the workplace. It’s easy to blame others when things don’t work out but you’re only doing yourself a disservice. Instead, direct your energy towards better understanding how your actions may have contributed to the outcome.

Mastering the ability to self-reflect is the first step to taking control back.

Know your weaknesses

Soft skills are displayed by people in different ways and in different situations - they are linked to personality traits, social awareness and how the person values relationships.

Think about the soft skills or interpersonal skills you need to work on. Are you quick to anger? Do you dismiss others too quickly? Are you seen as aloof or uncaring? Do you overshare about personal problems? It may be all of the above, some of the above or a completely distinct set of behaviours that are unique to you.

Ask for honest feedback from trusted colleagues and loved ones (they won’t mind telling you!) and think hard about past situations to pinpoint the type of behaviour you display when things start to go wrong in the workplace.

Develop your emotional intelligence

Managing your own behaviour and natural instincts in certain situations doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself. It’s about well-developed emotional intelligence.

Being emotionally intelligent means you have a good understanding of yourself and how you’re perceived by others. It also means you can regulate your own behaviour (stay in control) and empathise with others (acknowledge their feelings and point of view).

The most successful people practice and develop their emotional intelligence.

Ask for help

Seeking advice or help from others doesn’t always sit comfortably. Time for some tough love…get over it. A different perspective can be all you need to make lasting, positive change. It could help you think about things differently, shake off negativity and even lead to a new opportunity.

Think about someone in your work life that you’ve admired in the past. You don’t have to see them as an idol…it could be that you just like the way they “do things”.

Ask them for a coffee and a chat and never look back.


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