Promotion seekers: here are 4 things you need to do
For most middle managers, the most pressing question along your corporate development career path is whether you’re really executive management material. This isn’t surprising at all, because as you climb the career ladder, you’ve been noticing how narrow the pyramid seems to be getting so quickly. You’re seeing middle managers who have either been in the same position for years or who’ve been shuffled around from one middle management role to another. And their destiny seems to be sealed. But is yours?
The first step in answering this question is to check with yourself - are you really ready for a promotion. So I suggest you take my short survey, entitled: Are you really promotion material? Based on your responses, you’ll receive a short report to help you assess your current situation and plan your next career move along your corporate development career path. If you’ve determined you’re ready for your next promotion, read on...
While I can’t promise you a concrete path towards promotion, my 35 years of helping middle managers achieve their career dreams have helped me identify a few common steps to follow:
1. Earn recognition from your work environment.
There aren’t any shortcuts to achieving a promotion. To be recognized as promotion material, you have to consistently make sure you deliver results. While your performance doesn’t always have to outdo your colleagues, consistency is the key. A consistently well-performing middle manager is usually considered a good bet in the corporate world. It shows that you can take on challenges, manage with others, are motivated, and are poised for taking on even more responsibility.
2. Develop a wider perspective.
While my last point emphasized excelling at your current role, when looking for potential candidates for promotion, decisionmakers will undoubtedly try to identify those middle managers who seem to have developed a wider, whole company perspective. This doesn’t mean that you have to take on the responsibilities of the CEO, but it does mean that you have to begin considering the challenges and opportunities facing your company as a whole - not just your department. So take the time to reach out to other departments in your company in order to gain a good understanding of your company from a wider perspective.
3. Build an organization-wide network.
At the end of the day, the success of an organization lies in its people. An organization can develop the best solution for the most pressing challenges, but without an excellent team standing behind the solution, it's likely to remain in R&D - hidden from the world. As a middle manager vying for promotion, it’s important that you get to know a wide variety of professionals in your department so that when the time comes, you will be known and respected as a well-informed, approachable senior manager. While today’s workday can be hectic, perhaps set lunch appointments or quick after-work drinks with employees from other departments - and start learning what makes your organization special.
4. Conduct a personal SWOT analysis.
SWOT analyses are usually reserved for analyzing companies or rolling out new products and services. But this shouldn’t prevent you from pinpointing your current strengths and weaknesses as well as your potential opportunities and threats. Knowing this information will help you figure out what you need to preserve and what you need to develop now and in the future. This will ensure that you keep your competencies in tact, relevant, and ready for challenges
There’s no magic mix when vying for a promotion. However, following the steps above will certainly help you along the way as you move towards the coveted corner office.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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