Most of us, at some stage or the other, get stuck, bogged down and even lost.
The tendency is to pretend it’s not happening. Ignoring it can lead to complications further on down the road – and then you could be heading for unpleasantness. Carry on for long enough and it is likely that you will lose confidence and become depressed and apathetic.
Know the feeling?
So what is the cause of feelings of this ‘stuck-ness’?
More than likely you have expectations around your career progress that are not materializing. Getting few acknowledgements or being overlooked at promotion time can be a major cause of the ‘stuck syndrome’.
This can become destructive if not attended to.
Having sat on Exco/Board meetings where high level decisions are made , I can disclose to you that the usual reason that somebody does not get the ‘big job’ is that they are referred to as ‘ . . . . not ready yet – they need a few more years to mature’.
By the way, as an executive in waiting, never think that you are not being groomed for the big job. Many people make this mistake. Do not think that your boss is entrenched in her position and that she will never leave. More than likely your boss is searching for the right successor so that she can move upwards. And she cannot move unless she has someone competent to take her place.
And it plays out like this.
When executive positions become vacant, companies usually attempt to fill the gap internally. It is only when there is no appropriate in-house successor that HR will they go into the market.
The thing to note is that if you did not get the job, there is only one reason – you were judged as ‘not ready’!
And here is the worst part – your boss usually will not tell you that directly! She will make up some other excuse. The typical one these days is that the company needs a BEE candidate.
Again do not fool yourself. Companies are not stupid. They will not let a good person go even if they don’t fit the colour scale. There are too few good executives out there – if you are good you will get the position.
Of course this is not the case in all situations. Yes, there are BEE mandated appointments but if you are going to hide away from the real issues, you will get bogged down – and stuck.
So what does one do?
The best way of dealing with this is to say ‘There is something that I am doing that is not working – let me find out what it is so that I can get past it’.
And it is important to note that your boss is unlikely to give you the feedback that you need to hear to get it right. If she doesn’t openly lie to you (and you can feel it when she does even though you might deny it) she is still unlikely to tell you the real reason.
Hence the stuck-ness . . . . and you land up confused. You think you are doing everything right and putting in the extra hours but the recognition is just not there! So you give up.
An intervention from someone who can give you honest feedback is extremely useful. This allows you to take the necessary steps to improve yourself. This is where a good executive coach can be helpful. Working with someone who has the experience to see the bigger picture and to see you in an objective and non-judgmental way allows you to openly examine your performance so that you can deal with the issues that are getting in the way. Furthermore you can be nurtured through the difficult stuff and get to a point where you are ready to make the appropriate change.
I have a client who is a senior person in a services company. He just could not get to work on time and was always late. He didn’t see this as problematical and was resentful when he walked into the office and his colleagues seemed offish. He felt that he worked longer hours so what was the problem?
It was only through coaching sessions that he was able to see that what he was doing was against the ethos of the company. In the process he was disconnecting himself from his team. No wonder he felt hostility and rejection!
Facing the reality that he was the cause of the unpleasantness , he was able to make the necessary adjustments. He now gets to work on time and his life has changed – the people have begun to include him and he’s becoming part of the team. He is so much happier!
Now this might be an extreme example but know this – the dynamics playing out at executive level are just as sharp except that they are much more subtle. And also beware that there is a huge gap between financial manager and CFO. And it is seldom about competence – it’s more about attitude and delivery.
And this is where a good executive coach will be very helpful. An investment in this type of personal growth can have a massive impact on your ability to get the recognition you deserve.
The bottom line?
Job satisfaction and financial reward.
About the author:
Clive a CA(SA) with over 20 years’ experience as an executive director in both listed and unlisted companies.
Clive brings some interesting perspectives to the field of management. Having been involved at Director/Board level, he offers a wealth of wisdom on both the people and business front.
Clive is the CEO of GREEN MIND CAPITAL (Pty) Ltd. The company focuses on assisting executives, especially emerging young CA’s, in maximizing their potential and fast-tracking their careers.
Clive has been involved with coaching and self-development since 1994. He has a particular interest in Cognitive Awareness Technology (CAT).
Clive’s mix of years of practical executive experience coupled with his own personal self-development journey brings together a unique method of Transformation Coaching. He has hundreds of hours of one-on-one coaching to his credit.
Clive Kaplan is a prolific writer on LinkedIn PULSE. He has written over 60 articles on various topics ranging from financial management and operations to job search and confidence building. He is also the author of the winQs series (pronounced ‘winks’) which appears regularly on the LinkedIn network.