7 Types of People Who Never Get Ahead at Work

If your professional growth is lagging, you may need to look in the mirror.

7 Types of People Who Never Get Ahead at Work

What’s holding you back at work?

We all like to think of ourselves as all-star employees, but here’s a reality check: While some workers appear to be riding an escalator to the top of the food chain, there are others whose professional growth simply isn’t what it should be. If you don't know how to get ahead at work, chances are you may be one of these seven employee archetypes. These tips can help you make some moves.

The Self-Doubter

Your level of self-confidence may be what’s holding you back and stymying your professional growth. Your insecurity and lack of self-worth can have a big impact on your career.

If you frequently doubt yourself at work, you’ll need to silence your inner critic and stop apologizing for your perceived mistakes. If you’re a self-doubter, catalog your accomplishments so you can see with your own eyes areas where you’ve been successful. Gathering hard evidence of your career wins can improve your confidence.

The Gossip

No one likes a gossip, but rest assured, every office has one. Spreading rumors about your co-workers, though, can have big repercussions. Gossiping at work damages relationships—it doesn’t build them.

Nobody is going to trust a notorious gossiper, which means your reputation in the workplace will suffer. Stepping out of the office gossip mill altogether will enable you to mend relationships with any peers you’ve offended.

The Hypersensitive One

People who know how to get ahead at work have likely had plenty of direction, and not all of it positive. Have trouble accepting constructive criticism? You’re far from alone, but constructive feedback is meant to help you, not hurt you—and it can be a valuable tool for your professional growth. Therefore, you need to develop a thick skin.

Quite often hypersensitive people are their own worst critic, and that can make it difficult to take any feedback they get and make a positive change. So, like the self-doubter, you’ll need to learn how to silence your inner critic, really listen to what the other person is saying—however uncomfortable it may make you feel—and create an action plan for how you’re going to utilize the feedback you received.

The Follower

If you look more to other people to guide you than you look to yourself, you’d better believe that your boss is going to pass you over for a promotion in favor of the very co-workers you turn to for guidance.

Consequently, getting ahead is about establishing yourself as a leader—regardless of whether or not you’re in a management position—since displaying leadership skills helps you gain visibility within an organization, which can lead to more opportunities for promotions.

Your best approach is to create opportunities that will help you stand out from your co-workers instead of following them. To gain exposure, consider assuming a leadership role on a committee at your organization. Getting on the speaking docket at industry conferences can also help you distinguish yourself from your peers.

Need to build up your confidence first? Start speaking up during team meetings and offer to be the lead on a project. Don’t fade into the background.

The Underachiever

Just getting by may be working for you, but to further your professional growth, you’ll need to step up your performance. The key to improving the quality of your work is to get constructive feedback from your boss about identifying problem areas. Figure out why you’re not meeting your expectations.

If your boss takes more of a hands-off approach to management, you’ll have to actively solicit feedback from him or her in order to go from underachiever to top performer.

The Know-It-All

A know-it-all is the first person to weigh in on what the monthly budget should be, how many articles to post on the company blog, or how to deal with a difficult customer. However, they can also be extremely difficult to work with because they don’t like receiving feedback, and they think they have all the answers.

Sound familiar? Read the room. Before you give your opinion, pause and actually listen to what others are saying. Moreover, be open to collaboration and considering other people’s opinions.

The Doormat

Tired of co-workers and bosses walking all over you? Letting your colleagues treat you this way can make it challenging to get tapped for a promotion, even if you’re the most qualified person for the job.

But here’s the hard truth: Most office doormats are at least partly responsible for their doormat status. Identify the reasons why you’re getting pushed over—do you avoid tough conversations or let others take credit for your work?—so that you can start changing those behaviors.

Know When to Seek Other Job Opportunities

Knowing how to get ahead at work includes knowing when to get out of a bad job. Feel like you’re being passed over time and time again due to no fault of your own? Let Monster help you embark on a job search for free and find an employer that values your contributions.