What is a professional blocker and why is it important?
Professional blockers are behaviors that can limit your career. Also called “derailer” or “barrier,” it is a weakness that will require improvement if you want to reach your full potential. Sometimes, a blocker can also be a talent taken to an extreme.
Examples include: confrontation; entitlement; revealing things told in confidence; putting interests of his/her area ahead of what is best for the team; open only to opinions and ideas of a select few; having difficulty building productive relationships; demonstrating poor judgment; low attention to detail; participating in non-productive behavior (e.g., gossip); avoiding needed conflict.
Ways to recognize professional blockers:
People often don’t even know they have blockers until it is too late and the behavior is so much a part of who they are, that it takes a lot of time and energy to make the necessary shift. The sooner you can identify your blockers, the better.
Tip #1: Proactively ask people who have seen you in action at work, like your boss and peers, what behaviors of yours they think will help and hurt your ability to progress professionally. It’s important to know your strengths so you can leverage them as you work on weaknesses; however, multiple strengths will not compensate for a derailer.
Tip #2: Figure out which derailers are important, particularly those that have the potential to impact your career the most; focus on those first. Common derailers early in career could include difficulty building productive relationships (especially if you are shy or do not have much practice networking), distracting chatter and gossip, a sense of entitlement, etc.
How to overcome professional blockers:
The biggest step in overcoming any professional blocker is identifying them in the first place. Once that is clear, you must take a look at why you have that behavior. Ask yourself what thoughts and beliefs you have that then create a feeling of worry, doubt, anxiety or fear. Those feelings are the reason your derailer is showing up.
It takes conscious effort and time to work through a derailer, but perseverance will pay off. People will see your ability to respond to feedback, which is one of the most important attributes of successful career progress.
Florina Gordon Krawchick is a human resources leader. She has spent over 10 years working in the finance, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Florina has a true passion for business and people and supports both through identifying, developing, rewarding and retaining talent. Her expertise is in recruiting, training, talent management, leadership development, organizational design and coaching.
Florina graduated with honors in Business and Human Resources from The George Washington University. She is a certified SPHR and Professional Coach. For more information, visit her LinkedIn page.