4 reasons you may be struggling to work your way up the career ladder

You have the skills and experience and you put in the hard graft. Meanwhile, your colleagues are leaping up that career ladder like there’s no tomorrow. What do they have that you don’t? There could be any number of reasons, but many people get passed over for the four issues listed below:

  1. You don’t have a plan in mind. Perhaps your boss asked you what your career aspirations are and you didn’t have an answer. You don’t know where you’re likely to be jobwise in five years’ time. This may be part of the problem. If you don’t have an idea of where you’re headed, how can you ever get there? Ask yourself what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. Is it possible to succeed in your workplace with these attributes? Would you prefer to do your boss’ job or move to a different department? Or are you after a completely new career? Top performers in the workplace rarely get there by chance. They have a plan in mind and the ambition to make it a reality. Next time your manager asks you what your job goals are, have a clear answer in mind and ask him or her to help you get there through training, work experience or by taking on more responsibility.
  2. Your emotions are out of control. Perhaps your job is stressful or your home life is causing you problems. When you have a bad day, you let your emotions show. You snap at the receptionist, send passive aggressive emails and kick off at your boss over trivial issues. Rather than channelling your frustration you are given to mood swings, temper tantrums and tears. These emotional outbursts make everyone around you uncomfortable and are unprofessional. If your emotions are controlling you rather than the other way round you are a liability. You need to find a way to keep them in check, whether that’s by praying, asking for help or counting to ten before you speak!
  3. You are overbearing. You have a load of ideas and are happy to go into detail about them with anyone who will listen, but you have a hard time listening to other people’s thoughts. You’ve been told you’re not flexible. If this is the case, you’ll soon find that no one wants to work with you and they may even stop inviting you to meetings where you can air your ideas. This needs to be addressed right away. First, listen to other people’s ideas and consider them carefully. Show an interest by asking questions. Wait until it’s your turn to speak before jumping in. Then present your ideas clearly and why you think they would be more effective. Give good eye contact and smile. Allow people to unpick your ideas without getting offended. Once you can show that you are willing to listen and to take other people’s ideas on board, people will want to work with you and will trust you to pick the best ideas rather than steamrolling anyone with a different opinion.
  4. You struggle with relationships. You mean well but you’re just not communicating well with colleagues, clients or customers. You find conflict difficult and prefer to work alone rather than in a team. If you’re struggling to build good relationships your success rate at work will undoubtedly be affected. It might not feel natural for you to chat with the people you work with, but you will need to get to know them if you want to be effective. Take colleagues out for coffee or lunch and find out what they’re interested in. If that’s a step to far to begin with, make the tea round and smile as you hand them out. Allow them to get to know you and pay attention to what they say. Pray for your colleagues before you go to work and ask God to show you how to handle your work relationships better. Even if you haven’t made the best start you can turn it around if you commit to doing so.

If you’ve got all the above under control but still aren’t getting any praise or promotion, it might be time to try something new.


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Joy Tibbs is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to Premier. Find out more at joyofediting.co.uk and find her on Twitter @joyous25

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