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5 Reasons Your Executive Career Has Stalled

You’re a strong performer with a proven track record of success. Throughout your executive career, you’ve consistently assumed increasing levels of responsibility and have welcomed new challenges. Recently, however, you’ve noticed that your career has begun to stall. You’ve reached a plateau and can’t seem to understand why or how to fix it. Here are five obstacles in the way of your executive career advancement.

1. You’ve outgrown your executive role.

You’re a master at your job. You understand the ins and outs of your business better than most, which is why others flock to you with their questions and issues. It’s been a while since you’ve faced a situation you couldn’t immediately tackle.

It feels good to be an expert, but you’re not learning anything new. You’ve been a huge asset to your team, but your executive career isn’t moving forward. It’s time for something new. The change doesn’t have to be dramatic – it could be a higher-level executive role within your current organization. But it needs to get you out of your comfort zone and into a role where you can grow.

2. You don’t effectively promote yourself.

You work hard and produce high quality results. You know you’re adding tremendous value, but nobody else does. Your executive leader may occasionally pat you on the back, but he/she doesn’t fully grasp the extent of your efforts and contributions.

No matter how hard you work, if you’re not sharing your accomplishments with influential leaders, they will never fully recognize your value. To get the recognition you deserve, and in turn, get the executive opportunities you want, you must proactively promote your value. This can feel uncomfortable, but I’m not talking about obnoxiously tooting your own horn. Strategic self-promotion is critical to executive career advancement.

3. You don’t believe in your work.

You do your job well, but you feel disconnected from the mission. It’s difficult to feel passionate when you don’t feel that you’re making a meaningful contribution to an important goal. You go through the motions, but your heart just isn’t it.

If you don’t believe in your work, despite your best intentions, you can’t do your best work. It’s not motivating to strive for more because you don’t see the benefit. You need to find a role that not only leverages your strengths, but allows you to make an impact.

4. You don’t believe in yourself.

You’re a high performer, but you lack the confidence to reach for higher-level executive opportunities. While you’d love a greater challenge, you’re worried about taking on more than you can handle. It’s safer to stay where you are than to take the risk of assuming a higher-level executive role.

It’s time to stretch yourself. Everyone experiences fear when making a transition, so you’re not alone. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t have reached your current level if you hadn’t taken risks along the way. Be realistic about your strengths and capabilities, then find an executive role that allows you to fully leverage those strengths.

5. You’re not at the right company.

You work hard, strategically promote yourself, and vie for new executive opportunities when they arise. Despite your best efforts, you’re unable to reach the next level. You’re frustrated, confused, and eager for the next step.

Sometimes you do everything right and it’s just not the right fit. Your executive leadership team doesn’t fully appreciate your value, or it’s simply not an environment in which you can thrive. It’s time to find a company that respects your unique value and allows you to do your best work.

If your executive career has reached a plateau, it’s time to take action. Take time to reflect on what’s getting in your way. Do you need to do a better job promoting yourself? Are you feeling disconnected from your work? Once you’ve identified the underlying issues, you’ll be better positioned to address them. And if you need further help, contact me for personalized support.

Has your executive career ever stalled? What got in your way and what did you do to break through? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section.

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