Not Getting Ahead At Work? These 4 Habits Could Be Why

Leave your ego at the door.
Too busy to do your job? Don't expect a promotion any time soon.
Too busy to do your job? Don't expect a promotion any time soon.

Feel like you're not getting anywhere at work, despite your best efforts? While it can be frustrating to feel like you've stalled on the corporate ladder (and tempting to throw the blame onto anyone and anything else), the answer could actually lie in your own behaviour.

Here are four key habits that, according to leadership and people-management specialist Karen Gately, are capable of halting pretty much anyone in their professional tracks.

1. Busyness

While this trait may sound like an attribute to some, Gately insists being too busy (especially with the wrong tasks) can become a massive obstacle when it comes to getting ahead.

"Busyness is a choice. We are all busy, the world's coming at us, and our job is to choose what we give our attention to and what we prioritise," Gately told HuffPost Australia.

"If you are too busy to achieve the core objective of your role, then you'll find you are just going to spin your tyres and are not going to advance.

"This is something I see all the time, especially with senior leaders. Just about every CEO I coach tells me that they're really busy and busyness is a key challenge, particularly on a daily basis. They constantly tell me they are busy with 'today' tasks, such as responding to the daily needs of their staff.

"While of course these things are important, if that busyness stops them from planning and executing strategies for the future of their business then their potential is constrained and limited.

"Busyness is a problematic habit and mindset."

2. A lack of courage

Unfortunately, this is something Gately said she often sees within the female working force.

"A lack of courage or not taking on the fears that constrain our beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of achieving... this is something I see all the time," Gately said.

"The fear of 'will I fail?' and 'will I look like a fool?' 'Will I look like I'm ahead of myself because I've put my hand up for an opportunity?'

"All of these fears contain our thinking and cause us to operate within limited beliefs, which is exactly what isn't going to get you ahead.

"The classic example of this is, sadly, is ways in which women need to challenge the way they think. It is common for women to believe they need to be more experienced and capable than they actually are in order to step into an opportunity. Often they will wait longer to think they are 'ready', whereas in actual fact their leadership team would be ready to support them if they demonstrated that desire and courage to give it a go."

3. Failing to manage your energy

Allowing other aspects of your life to creep into your performance at work is something that's so easy to do. Tired at work after bingeing Netflix? Hey, we've all done it. But if it's getting to a point where it's impacting how you work, then you might need to address some key lifestyle behaviours.

"Simply put, we need energy to thrive in life," Gately said. "Energy is the fuel which allows us to think and feel and behave successfully.

Foster relationships -- both inside and outside of work -- that are energising rather than draining.
Foster relationships -- both inside and outside of work -- that are energising rather than draining.

"The more energised we are, the more likely we are likely to think in ways that are courageous and optimistic. We are more likely to feel encouraged and have a sense of belief in ourselves and, furthermore, to step up and act and drive through and make outcomes happen.

"Many of us don't actually think about the energy reserves we have and how they impact our thoughts and actions. It's so important that, when it comes to our energy, to make sure we invest it wisely."

Gately makes the point that how we choose to spend our energy is a choice we make multiple times every day, often without us even realising.

"Every moment of every day, our experiences either drain or energise us. The same goes for relationships," she said. "Some people suck the lifeforce out of us, and some people energise our spririt by being the people that they are. Choices about how we manage those relationship and engage with those people to have the best possible outcome on our energy levels is really important.

"People often allow being tired to hold them back from performing in the way they need to."

4. Ego

Put simply? Keep it in check.

Got an ego? Leave it at the door.
Got an ego? Leave it at the door.

"We have these behavioural habits that are driven by our ego's need for nurturing or stroking or whatever the case may be, and this can lead us to engage in arguments or fights that we don't need to have because of the need to be right, for example," Gately said.

"Protecting our ego will hold us back from being real and being authentic and behaving in ways that allow the whole team to win, for example.

"Ego can often cause us to have an individualistic mindset that undermines collaboration and our ability to be seen as a team player and, as such, the best person to ultimately lead the team.

"But perhaps most fundamentally, ego stops us from learning. An unhealthy ego means we have a lack of balance between self-belief and humility, and it can be easy to close our mind to what we could get better at and what we need to get better at."