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Signs of Career Derailment & How to Get Back on Track - HRDQ

Signs of Career Derailment & How to Get Back on Track

From entry-level employees to managers and leaders, career derailment can affect anyone at any point in their careers. If left unaddressed, career derailment can get in the way of your long-term career goals and prevent you from climbing up the ladder at your organization.

If you have ambitious career goals, it’s important to understand the signs of career derailment and how you can get back on track before it impacts your ability to achieve these goals. By watching out for signs of derailment, you can take steps to address your career roadblocks before it’s too late.

Let’s take a closer look at what career derailment is, how to spot it, and how to avoid it.

Stay on top of avoiding career derailment and consider taking the Career Roadblocks Finder online assessment. It is designed to help managers and executives spot the barriers to career success.

What is Career Derailment?

Career derailment simply refers to becoming unable to achieve your career goals. This could mean being demoted, fired, or becoming ‘stuck’ in your current position and unable to continue progressing through the ranks at your organization.

While higher-ups at your organization might have once viewed you as a promising young talent with a bright future at your company, they may no longer see this potential, making it more difficult for you to keep your career on track.

Common Causes of Derailment

Preventing career derailment starts with understanding its most common causes. By understanding what causes this problem, it becomes much easier to prevent talented employees from getting off track.

The most common causes of career derailment include:

  • Inability to adapt to change
  • Poor relationship with coworkers
  • Inability to effectively lead a team
  • Not having clear long-term career goals
  • Failure to deliver expected results

While these aren't the only causes of career derailment, they are some of the most common that leaders and managers need to watch out for as they continue to pursue their career goals.

5 Signs of Career Derailment

So how can you tell when your career is no longer headed in the right direction?

There are several common signs of career derailment. If any of these apply to you, it’s important to make an effort to remedy these issues as quickly as possible to get your career back on track.

Poor workplace relationships

Do you feel isolated from your coworkers or team members? Are you being kept out of the loop by higher-ups? If you notice that your workplace relationships are deteriorating, it may be a sign that your company is losing confidence in you as a long-term partner.

Problems building and managing your team

As a manager with ambitious goals, it’s important to be able to spot talent and help your team members effectively work together. If you’re not able to successfully manage your team, you’ll find it more difficult to move forward in your career.

Poor strategic skills

As you move up the corporate ladder, your role is likely to shift from technical to strategic. It’s important to refine your strategic skills to perform at a high level as you move into a leadership role.

Disagreements with higher-ups

You don’t have to agree with the higher-ups at your company on everything, but it’s important to develop a productive relationship with your managers if you want to keep your career on track.

Poor organization and task management

If you want to secure your future at your company, it’s important to follow through on assignments and effectively prioritize tasks. Otherwise, higher-ups will start to question your ability to handle important responsibilities.

If you identify with any of these five signs of career derailment, you know what you need to work on to improve and keep your career going in the right direction.

How to Keep Your Career on Track

By understanding the signs and causes of career derailment, you can work to get ahead of these obstacles before they inhibit your ability to achieve your long-term career goals.

Be sure to keep these tips in mind to keep your career on the right track:

  • Be ready to embrace and adapt to changes as necessary to avoid being left behind.
  • Make a concentrated effort to help your organization identify and retain high-level talent.
  • Focus on delivering results by taking an active role in managing and coordinating your team.
  • Work on your interpersonal skills to develop stronger relationships with coworkers and more effectively manage others.
  • Find training opportunities to develop skills needed to achieve your ultimate career goals.

Talented leaders can avoid career derailment by taking proactive steps to improve their capabilities and work-related skills.

Learn How to Steady Your Career with HRDQ

To keep your career on the right track, it’s important to recognize the signs of

derailment and know how to get back on track.

At HRDQ, we provide high-level training materials that help business leaders develop important skills that contribute to the success of their organization and themselves. The Career Roadblocks Finder online assessment is designed to help managers and executives spot the barriers to career success. With this assessment, you will learn to predict obstacles that may cause career derailment and learn skills necessary for successful management.

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.