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Seven habits holding you back from success

Career Tips By Annie Awuor
Various factors can be preventing you from progressing in your career (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ever wondered why that promotion never seems to land on your table and keeps passing you by? Why you have been stuck at the same job position for over five years and those who have come after you end up being your boss?

We talked to a variety of people in the industry, from SME owners to people in the corporate world, in order to find out the traits that are preventing you from progressing in your careers. Here is what we uncovered:

Nancie Amunga (Photo: Standard)

1. You lack self-motivation/strong work ethic

Nancie Amunga, Founder of Dana Courier Services and Errands

You might have all the papers but so long as you are not self-motivated and take initiative to solve problems that teeth every now and then without being asked, then you are at risk of remaining in the position that you are as others are moving up the ladder. In fact, you even risk losing your job. Every employer looks for people who can solve problems, for people who do not wait to be instructed every now and then.

A strong work ethic starts with small things like, are you using company resources well? I once had an employee who would come to the office and their job was to download movies. They would act like they were doing me a favour by working for me. There was also this employee who would steal the petty cash that I provided for day-to-day running of the office.

Betty Kathungu-Furet (Photo: Standard)

2. You are not independent and resourcefulness

Betty Kathungu-Furet, owner and founder of Furet Films

If you are that employee who need constant supervision you will definitely not progress in the workplace. I do not like employees who need to be micro-managed every step of the way.

In the film industry you need employees who can think on their feet, the film industry is not like other workplaces, anything can happen on the set.

I like employees who once I give them a brief and instructions on what they need to do, and they are able to proceed without me hovering.

This does not mean that I allow my employees to do things without consulting me, but if they face a new challenge in their work that they also come to consult with me, but also with a solution of their own. I love resourcefulness, I mean which employer does not?

Lina Dyhr (Photo: Standard)

3. You don’t speak up about your achievements

Lina Dyhr, founder of linaconnect.com, head of marketing for a mobile phone-based payment platform, TIBA

To progress in the workplace, you need to learn how to articulate your desires for growth to relevant leadership where you work. Speaking up involves showcasing your successes and achievements.

A lot of people choose to be quiet and work hard in the shadows, but they do not realise that we live in a world where if you do not speak up for yourself no one will.

As an employee you need to learn to be your own PR agent. Don’t shy away from mentioning or showcasing learnings and success during and after completion of a project. When you do this effectively, the company leadership may also recognize that they better promote you or you’ll outgrow them.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that you have to be very strategic about your PR as sometimes it can intimidate others; use your emotional intelligence.

Ramesh Gorasia (Photo: Elvis Ogina/Standard)

4. You keep doing the bare minimum

Ramesh Gorasia, Multi-business owner in construction, real estate and agriculture

One of the things that I believe that holds back employees from future growth is their attitude. One can have the best qualification trait on paper but if the attitude is negative, then everything else goes down the drain. Nobody wants to work with a Negative Nancy/Nelson.

Attitude is the foundation of everything and if an employee doesn’t come to work with an open mind then it becomes difficult to promote and even work with such a person no matter how good they are at their job. Thus, one needs to be flexible enough to accommodate

I believe in the old saying, hard work pays. We live in an era where shortcuts are preferred and while this may get the desired results, they will always come at a certain cost and one that not everyone is willing to pay.

An employee who goes out of their way to get things done and still goes the extra mile often gets promoted. You may think that those around you don’t notice but everyone always recognizes your efforts with time. My encouragement to an overlooked employee is that they should keep it up, the rest shall surely follow. Laziness and a nonchalant attitude will not get you anywhere.

5. You lack passion and self-drive

Francis Mulekya, Managing Director at Prestige Industrial Services Limited

If as an employee you do not have passion for their current position, you are bound to find yourself lacking energy and self-drive.

And if you do not learn how to self-motivate themselves to be more than average you, I can assure you there is a high chance that you will not progress from your current position.

Those who are passionate about their work, go the extra mile and get noticed in the workplace. There is nothing worse than an employee who lacks passion and is unable to self-motivate. No one wants to promote such an employee.

Suzie Wokabi (Photo: Instagram @suziewokabi)

6. You are unprofessional

Suzie Wokabi, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Suzie Beauty

Being unprofessional in the workplace is big one for me. Sadly I see a lot of it at all levels of recruitment, and even after employment. I see it in the way people write emails to me asking for employment. I get emails that do not have good grammar, which have improper use of capital letters and paragraphs. Some even ask for jobs without sending a cover letter or their CV. If you do not know how to write a proper cover letter, all the information is available online. Some employees do not even bother to learn the culture of the workplace or even go through the employee manual. It is also important to observe the environment and see how people relate to each other, how they work, and even how they dress. Especially in my industry how you look matters a lot. You must be professional and presentable. Further, you need to learn to keep time and always be excellent in your work. Being professional is especially important if you want to progress, lack of it can not only prevent you from getting a job, but getting promoted within an organisation. We see people who do not even last past the three-month probation period because they show up late for work and do their work in a sloppy manner.

Derek Bbanga (Photo: Standard)

7. You lack emotional intelligence

Derek Bbanga, Communications and Emotional Intelligence facilitator with Public Image

The big reason that a lot of people do not progress in the workplace is because they lack emotionally intelligence. Workplace success is built on human interaction. to be successful you must nurture emotional intelligence. It is all about being self-aware and as a result having the capacity to understand and manage your emotions. Once you understand yourself you are able to understand the emotions of others and thus have better relationships in the workplace.

The workplace can sometimes be a high-pressure environment and if you do not know how to manage your emotions and understand the emotions of others, then you will not excel and progress.

Employees with high emotional intelligence are not only able to self-motivate and self-manage, but they thrive in a team set up, and are able to better adjust to change and be flexible. Further, they are able to cultivate and maintain key relationships which are especially handy during promotion season.

If an employee does not know how to communicate effectively then they are unable to successfully manage or participate in a project in the workplace. If you are not able to articulate your contribution to the company, then how will you value be known? How will you be seen?

A lot of people get passed over for promotion because they are not able to speak for themselves. What is you value? What is your contribution? If you are part of a successful project you should be able to articulate your contribution. Those who have great communication skills in the workplace are not only able to negotiate for themselves but have influence.

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