Over the past decade I have worked for several companies, from small startups to large enterprises and even in Govt. sector. I have worked with people of various cultures, religion and believes. I have seen people who have been extremely successful in relatively short careers and people who have not grown as professionals like they wished. I have worked under people, I have lead teams and I have given consultation to various companies.

If I sum up all of my experience in one word then I would say

The biggest hurdle in professional growth is Attitude!

I have seen people making lot of different mistakes that I feel become hurdle in their professional growth, but all of these mistakes that I am going to highlight can be summed up under one umbrella, Attitude!

Reluctant to learn new things

This is by far the most common problem that I see in professionals. They show reluctance of learning new things. The reason they show reluctance can be due to a number of things, they might feel that they do not need to learn something new, they might be scared of trying and failing or worse they are lazy to learn something new. I have seen people who form shell around them and think they will survive somehow. In modern world technology keeps on changing and chances are that whatever field you are in, demands you to learn new things and keep on evolving, failing to do so will degrade your value eventually whether you realize it or not.

Do not listen to other people’s opinion

Not listening to others is again a very common problem. I have to admit I used to do it a lot against my junior colleagues at one time, because I had very strong opinion about some technical matters and I felt I knew more than them. Later in my career I realized how wrong I was, you should always listen to others even if they are wrong, because when you listen to them you do two things, you can learn something new and realize they might be right and if they are wrong, you can understand their perspective and where they are coming from. Thus it helps you in helping them to correct themselves. A good rule of thumb I use now days is listen to others like you want them to listen to you 🙂

Unable to take criticism

Of all the things that a person can improve, this is by far the hardest! It is in our nature to feel bad when people criticize us and more often than not, we just want to forget the criticism. It’s true that a lot of people criticize us just for sake of criticism, but sometimes people criticize us because they feel we can do better and we are not doing our best. The best leaders and professionals have been those that have been able to take criticism and make their critics quite. So next time when someone criticizes you, just take a mental note and sometime later, reflect on it. If you honestly feel that the criticism is correct then try to rectify that problem. It will do wonders to your professional growth.

I am the best!

Rarely will you meet people who are very good at what they do, and because they are so good, over time they become arrogant. If they continue down this path, they start to think they are the best. There is no problem with telling yourself that you are good, however as soon as you start thinking you are the best, your professional growth will stop. You will stop learning and just start praising yourself. Like I said I have seen very few people with this problem but those that I saw ended up being alone and less successful in the longer run.

No need to change

I have seen people, who did not feel the need to change because of the very nature of their job. IT department in Govt. sector, some small banks and NGOs might be example of places where things do not change as rapidly as in some other fields. People who are working there, feel comfortable and do not think that world around them is changing. I have seen people who had worked in a company for more than 15 years without evolving and got stuck. When the company decided to fire them, they were not skilled enough to move elsewhere! I have seen people going through lot of stress due to this issue and ending up doing job that they would otherwise never have done.

Remember wrong attitude will always be the biggest hurdle in professional growth, if you feel you have any of the above problems, try to analyze yourself. Remember the biggest enemy that we face is always from within our self!