Mid-career derailment can happen any time, but in today’s economy there is no room for complacency. With job opportunities harder than ever to find, it’s a particularly rough time to be fired or demoted or to hit a career plateau. You can reduce your risk for derailment by paying attention to your value and effectiveness and by focusing on interpersonal skills, adaptability, team leadership and bottom-line results.

Based on the Center for Creative Leadership’s ongoing study of executive derailment with clients around the world, here are 10 ways to avoid these pitfalls:

Ask for instant feedback. When walking out of a meeting, ask a colleague, “I think that could have gone better – what could I have done differently?” Listen to the response. Don’t defend or justify your actions and don’t interrupt. Sean Fowler, assistant vice president with insurance company IAT Group in Cold Springs, Fla., uses feedback from his co-workers as a reality check. “You have to develop a bit of a thick skin,” Mr. Fowler said. “Once you get past the initial shock, you really come to appreciate it. It’s a long-term effort made up of small steps, not a leap.”

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