Career Studies: Six Types that Find It Hard to Get Promoted

November 15, 2013 2 mins read
Career Studies: Six Types that Find It Hard to Get Promoted

At the workplace, some people sail on the wind while others—despite their diligence and hard work—never seem to enjoy success.

What’s holding them back? I recently read an interesting piece on the topic, here’s the gist:

As research shows, there are six personality types that can hinder a person’s promotion:

1. Bridesmaids: These people are capable, but—like a bridesmaid—never manage to step into the spotlight. In their hearts, they are afraid of responsibility. Ask yourself: “Why am I this terrified of taking on responsibility?” Find the hidden barrier holding you back. Start by taking on a few smaller tasks. Gradually overcome your anxiety.

2. Complainers: Some people work hard, but love to complain. This turns off the boss and drives colleagues away. There are always multiple sides to an issue—try to find the positive one.

3. Pigeons: Bosses don’t always have a full grasp of their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes put staff in sub-optimal positions. If you find yourself struggling in an inappropriate job, don’t be a pigeon and waste your potential—communicate with your boss. Learn to express yourself. Have the bravery to stick up for your interests.

4. Water buffaloes: Some people happily do anything their colleagues and superiors ask of them. Even if they’re already busy, they’d rather put in overtime than refuse to help. Their efforts, however, are always underappreciated. They’re afraid of rejection, so they become overly compliant in an effort to alleviate their anxiety. Learn to tell others what you really think. Learn to refuse requests in a reasonable way.

5. Hostile types: Many people have hostile attitudes by default; maybe it’s the result of their upbringing. Take an objective look at your perspective. Make an effort to see things in a positive light.

6. Behind-the-scenes types: These people are quiet and hard-working, but credit for their achievements is always taken by others. If you want your boss to know you’re competent and have your own ideas, don’t always be the good guy. Stop being used by others. Take credit for your own accomplishments.

Alan Li's picture
Alan Li
Operations Director, Greater China