Career Stallers

Career Stallers

Career Stallers can become a major hindrance when left unaddressed while one loses out on career opportunities. One needs to identify these stallers early enough in their career or else these stoppers can derail the trajectory of your career path.

Career Stallers and Stoppers are the negative characteristics or flame-out factors that can derail a person’s career. In many respects, they represent the flip side of competencies Career Stallers and Stoppers provide insights into whether a candidate demonstrates behaviours that might cause difficulty with people or results on the job. It is also helpful to identify red flags and proactively ensure that these stallers are managed well enough in order to not come in the way of career progression.

Lominger and subsequently Kornferry have worked in this sensitive area of developing high potentials for the last several years and have identified key career stallers that can turn careers topsy-turvy. Many of these are not only real stallers that require serious attention; it might also be a combination of reality and perception from a practical perspective.

Top Ten Career Stallers That One Should Watch Out:

  • Lack Of Adaptability: This is typically described as the inability to adapt and be flexible as a result of which the individual has trouble relating with people and has extreme difficulties in managing differing views and focuses on ideas of self. The best solution for this is to work on projects with customers, different stakeholder groups and establish systematic feedback systems to provide timely guidance.
  • Demonstrates Arrogance: This is demonstrated by someone shutting out people and their views and displaying a cold and superior attitude while maintaining a distance unless it is on his/her own terms. The high potential here needs to get 360 feedbacks that include behaviours, body language and preferably keep it anonymous. The developmental plan should include managing a team that consists of key stakeholders and high-value customers that have skin in the game.
  • Betrays Trust: This happens when the individual demonstrates inconsistent behaviours and is not reliable at all in keeping up his/her commitment. While lacking a customer focus and positive team behaviours, the individual can also tend to ignore feedback. The best solution is to ensure that learning happens while on the job and ensure follow-ups conducted in a meticulous way.
  • Lacks Composure: This manifests itself as poor decisions, and dip in performance during trying times along with impulsive behaviours and becoming control oriented. The best solution is to identify triggers and pro-actively reduce them over a period. Apart from feedback systems in place to check and balance, there needs to be a plan in place for crisis and serious challenges of a VUCA nature.
  • Being Overly Defensive: This is typically characterized by lack of openness to feedback combined with the habit of rationalizing mistakes and many a time appearing difficult to approach and poses threat to those that attempt to break the ice. Coaching about receiving feedback and working on it is the key to dealing with this staller. Building on the ability to accept mistakes and gracefully working on them would be the best approach to deal with this.
  • Lacks Ethics And Values: This is when business gets done beyond established ethical norms and where rules of conduct and values are inconsistent and/or flexed. Ad hoc norms get established to suit the need. This requires hard-core assessment of the status and repercussion of the state of affairs. The solution lies in getting feedback from the ethics committee, senior management and work on establishing norms and processes that can test the individual’s values.
  • Lack Of Ability To Build A Team: This is true in situations where individual contributors and technical experts with little managerial and team building experiences are placed in higher leadership positions. The high potential leader does not understand the collective value of people and has difficulty in accepting team effort and team norms. He/she will have difficulty in delegating, focus on me-time, and not group work. Nor is any conflict being resolved. In order to overcome this career staller, it is required of the organization to establish team goals and team feedback system.
  • Lack Of Strategic Agility: The leader here is usually the type that prefers tactical over strategic actions and typically has a narrow focus of a business. He/she is typically not a risk taker and has difficulty in dealing with a variety of tasks and models. It is ideal to have this leader get curious, look under the rocks and focus on futuristic projects or challenges.
  • Micro Managing: This is typically when the individual typically does not delegate and is very control driven. The leader here typically lacks patience and has trust issues. It is important to have the person seek input from his team and involve them in creating check and balance. Lessons on situational leadership and delegation can definitely help in practically trying this out.
  • Miscalculates Political Steps: The high potential, in this case, is typically not capable of recognizing political steps. The leader here might have issues with interpersonal skills and not usually tactful in identifying and dealing with landmines within the organization. Balancing Candor and tact is the key. Most successful leaders have identified these stallers early enough.


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