Following is an article from one of our favorite guest bloggers, Beth Armknecht Miller
Most of us have asked ourselves this question sometime during our career, and you might be asking yourself the question right now. After working with scores of executives as a coach and advisor, I have developed my top eight reasons why people are overlooked for a promotion.
- A high performance doesn’t mean high potential. In other words, just because you are doing a great job today doesn’t mean that you are displaying the competencies and behaviors necessary to be successful in a higher-level position. You need to understand what those competencies are by having a career conversation with your manager.
- No clear goals. One consistent trait that high potentials exhibit is goal orientation. They have a clear vision of where they want to be in the future and are motivated to get there. You may be an expert at your job today, but what are your future career goals and what are you doing to get there?
- An ineffective network. Relationships matter, and when you are working in an organization you need to understand the spheres of influence and have strong relationships with the people who matter. Who is your promoter? He/she is the one person who will stand up and promote you as the top candidate for an upcoming promotion.
- Lack of self-awareness. The top leaders I know have a strong understanding of their strengths and shortcomings. I have met a lot of managers and leaders over the years that have thought they had the potential, and were unwilling to listen to constructive feedback and then make necessary changes. If you aren’t getting feedback, ask for it! You can also perform some self-assessments such as Strength’s Finder.
- Not being accountable. There is no bigger turn-off to a manager than to hear excuses from an employee of why he missed a deadline. The worst scenario is shifting the blame to another employee.
- Low Emotional Intelligence. It’s not enough to be smart, you also need to have the emotional intelligence to regulate your emotions appropriately, understand the emotional needs of others, and self-motivate. I remember working with one very smart executive that was always the smartest man in the room. It caused others to stop sharing their ideas, and ultimately he was passed up for the CEO position because of this.
- Lack of initiative. Managers look for those who identify problems and then volunteer to fix the problem. These “volunteers” display a willingness to take on new challenges without being asked. When was the last time you volunteered to do something outside of your “job description”?
- Your career is your responsibility. There are professionals who believe that it is their company’s job to manage employee careers. I often wonder why employees believe this – because only you, the individual, knows what your goals and aspirations are and what you are passionate about. If your manager isn’t having these types of conversations, then you need to drive the process because you are the only one that ultimately benefits.
So which one(s) do you need to be working on, so when that next promotion opportunity opens up your chances have increased to successfully land the promotion?
Many people have a hard time answering this question by themselves, so I recommend taking the first step by having a conversation with your manager, and not make it a one-time event but an ongoing dialogue.
Once you have the conversation, then it is time to put a development plan in place. Ideally, your manager should be initiating this process – but if not, be prepared to create one yourself. The plan may be as simple as finding a good mentor or it may require gaining some new skills. Even harder, it may require you to create some new habits and eliminate ones that aren’t effective for you to advance. This could mean finding a good executive coach to help you navigate the necessary changes.
When developing the plan, make sure to tie it back to the company’s goals. If you are unable to do so, you will have difficulty gaining support from your manager. Review your plan with your manager to get their support and advice in implementing it. Make sure it includes goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. And to insure you have forward movement, make your goals known to people who will help keep you accountable.
Remember, you own your career. tweet this