Feeling Stuck? A Failsafe Framework to Overcome Leadership Challenges

By Heather Campbell

Stuck – not something many of us aspire to being. But it’s something we all experience.

In business, leaders get stuck with:

A difficult colleague
An unreasonable boss
An intransigent team
An impossible project
An unfulfilling role

When we’re stuck, we want to become unstuck. We want to find a path forward. And that can be tough, it can even seem impossible. So how can you find your way from stuckness to unstuckness?

When I’m coaching leaders on the journey from stuck to unstuck, I begin by exploring the four Cs that lie at the heart of the problem:


These four Cs are intrinsically linked to one another. For example, if your confidence falls, you’ll communicate less effectively. If you think you’re not competent in a specific area of your work, your confidence will tend to suffer. If you work in a culture of micro-management, you can easily find yourself questioning your competence.

When any one of these 4Cs is negative, we can quickly become stuck.

Maybe you’re stuck right now. Or maybe someone in your team is stuck. Or maybe a colleague is stuck.

The good news is, what gets stuck can also be unstuck, so you can always find a path forward. It’s always achievable. Over the next four weeks, I’m going to explore these four Cs so that you have the levers to pull to move from stuck to unstuck, whether that’s with your career, dealing with someone you find difficult or delivering an impossible project.

In a recent coaching session, a Director in a construction consultancy was describing a change in company culture. Over the last six months, the culture had gone from positive and open to one of blame and stress.

“What’s changed?”

“The CEOs talking to us less. He’s started sending emails that are totally negative and cutting. In my last meeting with him, it was just push, push, push, and complaints about what I wasn’t doing. No listening. The demands on our time are impossible”

The Director was stuck. He was stuck career-wise because he wasn’t happy but didn’t feel ready to start looking for another role. He was stuck working longer and longer hours to meet increasing demands and couldn’t see a way off the hamster wheel. He was stuck with a suddenly unsupportive boss who had inexplicably changed.

“Is the CEO a reasonable guy?”

“He used to be.”

“Why don’t you assume he still is and ask him what’s up?”

“The mood he’s in at the minute? No way.”

And so, the situation became even more stuck…how to move forward? I’ll share the solution next time!

For now, ask yourself where you’re stuck right now. What’s causing this stuckness? An honest appraisal of these 4Cs is the first step in moving forward.

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