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Top 10 Habits That Can Derail a Career in Loss Prevention

We all try hard to be successful in our jobs, take the steps to get ahead, and establish a strong and positive reputation as career professionals. Most often—and rightly so—we tend to focus on those qualities that can help keep us on the path of success—those lessons that help us move forward. Yet, there are also a variety of factors that can derail our careers or cause us to lose focus, and it is just as important that we remain aware of these potential pitfalls as well. As leaders, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our teams to remain self-reflective and self-aware, always looking for ways to improve as leaders and grow as individuals.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common factors that if left unchecked can derail a promising career as a loss prevention leader. Do any of these apply to you?

  • Resisting Change. In so many aspects of today’s retail workplace, change truly is the only constant. That means your ability to understand what’s happening around you and embracing new and creative ways of doing things is a must to advance your career. Be strong enough to bend as the waves of change come your way.
  • Not Understanding How What We Do Contributes to Organizational Objectives. In our career field, we are retail professionals who happen to specialize in loss prevention. It is critically important to understand how what we do fits into the larger goals of the business and the culture of the company we work for. Understanding how what we do matters in the broader scheme of things should directly influence the objectives, priorities, and outcomes of the loss prevention program.
  • Avoidance. How we respond to conflict is a hallmark of leadership. Leaders must be willing to take risks and put their perspective on the line. This isn’t simply about avoiding difficult discussions. At its core, conflict avoidance is often used to mask insecurities and avoid having our vulnerabilities, uncertainties, or mistakes exposed.
  • Taking Credit for Other People’s Work—or Shifting Blame. These individuals exaggerate their contributions and successes while shifting blame to others when things don’t go as expected. When we over-inflate our efforts or expect others to “fall on the sword” to protect our interests, it can lead to animosity and feelings of disloyalty. This self-serving behavior undermines the value of the team and will eventually come back to haunt those involved.
  • Ethical Violations. Honesty and integrity are the most desired and admired characteristics of leaders of all types, but especially in a career field like loss prevention. Even a career full of good behavior and positive works can be ruined by a single ethical violation. Always be cautious in your decision making, keeping step with the morals and values that brought you to where you are today.
  • Micro-Management. The tendency to seek ways to control our environment, speak up about problems, and challenge the system can be extremely positive. However, this can also lead to a perception of being rigid and overly controlling. You might be trying to avoid failure, but this can impede creativity and lead to those around you feeling undervalued and not trusted. Unfortunately, this can also greatly obstruct team dynamics and eventually lead to disengagement.
  • Not Working Well With Others. While it may sound like an obvious pitfall, there are those that can be blind to just how difficult they are to work with. The ability to create strong relationships and build a team that enjoys working together is essential. No one succeeds on their own. Many careers are derailed because we either don’t know how to build effective and positive relationships, or don’t prioritize this asset in the workplace.
  • Not Learning From Our Mistakes. While some mistakes are bigger and more impactful than others, everyone makes mistakes. Yet while most of our mistakes may not be career defining in and of themselves, the key to leadership success is not to make the same mistakes over and over again. It is generally believed that we learn much more from failure than from success, but it is still critical to learn to overcome mistakes, grow as an individual and as a professional, and avoid repeating mistakes as we move forward.
  • Arrogance. There is a stark difference between confidence and arrogance. Leaders who behave in ways that are seen as egocentric and superior tend to shut down conversation, creativity, and innovation and can ruin team dynamics. Those that display the constant need to be right, the expert, and the one with all the answers will typically lack self-awareness and undermine the essence of what it means to be a leader. When in a position of authority, stay humble and connected to your team.
  • Burnout. One of the more common factors that can derail a career, burnout can impact every aspect of your life. Victims of burnout often have a Type A personality. There may be a tendency to be a workaholic, have an inability to set boundaries, and perhaps put themselves last when it comes to their health and wellbeing. Be intentional about your work/life balance and take the necessary steps to recharge your batteries and avoid the setbacks of overwork.

Do any of these apply to you or someone you know? Loss prevention is a career field that requires flexibility and an open mind. But as the business of retail continues to grow and evolve, many of the fundamental qualities of successful leadership will remain constant. Sometimes when we look in the mirror, we can see more than a reflection—we can see a window into ways that we can grow and develop.

- Digital Partner -

Don’t let any of these factors have a negative impact on your career. With all that you put into what you do, you deserve a career you love and for all your hard work to pay off. Stay positive and focused, but also spend at least a little time reflecting on the things that can throw you off track—so that they don’t.

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