Do you feel you are often overlooked for a promotion? Have you ever asked yourself or your boss how you can get promoted? Most people feel stuck in their job at some point in their career and wonder how to get the next promotion. Consider the following case study:
Chris was a senior manager in Management Development and Training for a global consumer products company. She joined the company six years ago as a manager and was promoted after 2 years into the senior role. She was responsible for the development of talent in her assigned functions (i.e., sales, Marketing, IT, HR, R&D, and Engineering).
During her tenure with the company she developed and implemented several company-wide programs that were new and very successful. She created a sales representative selection program, a District Manager selection program, an individual development plan process to help all employees with skills and career development, and improved the performance management system that was in place. One of the programs she developed was a goal setting and feedback process for sales representatives that increased sales in the pilot division by 5%. This accomplishment was rewarded with a promotion to Senior Manager. Besides the Director she reported to, Chris had the most tenure in the organization and had a lot of respect and support from the Training and Development and HR functions. She thought she was doing everything she needed to do to advance her career.
One day her Director called her in the office and told her he was getting promoted. When she asked about his job, he looked at her and said, “Chris, I tried to get you promoted, there is just no support for you in my job from the senior leaders in HR.” When she asked the Director why, he said because Chris didn’t have the intangibles needed to advance into that role. This was a demoralizing meeting for Chris who was ambitious and felt ready to lead a bigger part of the business. It took her several weeks to get back to normal but it was clear her career was stalled at the company. A short time later, Chris received a call from a former colleague about a senior role in his organization and eventually Chris left to advance her career elsewhere. The company ended up losing a very productive and loyal employee because they didn’t see that Chris had the leadership skills necessary for the next level.
Frequently, the competencies that helped us get promoted the first time or two, are not the same skills that are needed to continue moving up the career ladder. If Chris had understood what “intangibles” her company expected and then took the initiative to develop her skills and abilities in those particular areas, then she could have stayed with the organization and advanced her career there.
SO ASK YOURSELF (AND YOUR BOSS) THE FOLLOWING:
- What leadership skills do I need to develop to be considered for the next promotion?
- How can I better display and demonstrate these skills in my current position?
- What other types of “intangibles” can I focus on?
If you don’t know what you are truly lacking to advance your career then you have a very low chance to succeed in terms of getting the very few job opportunities at the most senior levels of the organization. And, it’s easy to become complacent or believe that there isn’t anything else that you need to develop. However, great leaders know that there is always something they can improve in order to reach their next goal.