Written by Sarah Archer, Career Coach at CareerTree

Sarah Archer

Sarah Archer

Did you head into work this morning with a smile on your face and a spring in your step? Or perhaps it was more of a grimace and reluctant trudge? It could just have been Monday morning blues, or concern about one particular pressing project that is hanging over your head – but if you’re dragging yourself into the office on the regular, you could be suffering the effects of career stagnation.

Recently, I teamed up with consultants at Michael Page Recruitment to identify the seven signs of a stagnant career – from poor team dynamics to sub-par salaries – and how to solve them. Here are our top tips for going from stagnant to unstoppable

You aren’t getting along with your team. Take the time to work out your differences

Negative emotion is contagious, so unhappiness can spread like wildfire through a team, especially when there are poor team dynamics to begin with. Take time out as a group to work through your differences and clarify roles, responsibilities and value. Adding a new member to the mix could also work wonders, bringing a fresh perspective and renewed sense of team cohesion.

You feel out of the loop. Push for over- not under-communication

When managers are stressed and overwhelmed, often the first things to be cancelled are team meetings and one-to-one sessions, leaving you stuck in limbo. Instead of making assumptions in the absence of information, push your leaders to communicate – either in person or via email, work social networks and notice boards.

You’re not learning anything new. Seek out the training opportunities you need

When budgets are tight, training is often deprioritised – but this isn’t reason to let your skills stagnate. Any training you undertake ultimately benefits the business, so approaching your manager with a list of well-researched trainings options (backed by a business case) is likely to go down well.

Your next step is shrouded in mystery. Establish a career path treatment plan

Allowing your career to plateau may suit some people, but most of us are looking for promotion or professional challenge. If your next step isn’t clear, work with your manager to define a career development plan that you can review and tackle together – and remember, progression can be horizontal as well as vertical.

Promotions are few and far between. Consider your options beyond a raise

A sub-standard salary or the prolonged promise of promotion is one of the strongest de-motivators out there – but it can often mask an underlying issue. Working out whether it’s just more money you’re after or if you’re actually seeking additional responsibility and opportunity to grow will help you address next steps with your manager.

Leaders aren’t leading. Ask for top-down direction

Leadership sets the culture and performance of an organisation – so if you don’t trust your senior team, you’re probably looking elsewhere. Before you seek direction elsewhere, push those above you to communicate their vision for the company so you can make an informed call as to whether you’re willing to remain part of their journey too.

Your colleagues are leaving left, right and centre. Think before you follow suit

Watching your team mates leave one after the other can be disconcerting – do they know something you don’t? Even if others are experiencing career stagnation it doesn’t mean you are too. A new job might be just what you need, but it’s important to assess your situation individually before following the flock.

Not sure whether you’re suffering from career stagnation? Determine how much room you have to grow in your current role, and what your next step should be, by completing the Michael Page Career Growth Quiz below.

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