1 1 1 1
X

Are you really
promotion material?

Fill in this short survey to find out:

  • 1. Have you requested a promotion in the last year?
  • 2. Have you ever been rejected for a promotion?
  • 3. Have you ever been offered a promotion?
  • 4. Has a co-worker at the same level ever been promoted instead of you?
  • 5. Has there ever been a position you applied for and didn’t get?
  • 6. Are you hesitant about asking for a promotion for fear of your boss’s response?
  • 7. Have you ever left an organization because you were passed up for promotion there?
  • 8. Do you know if your work environment values you and your work?
  • 9. Do you think that you deserve a promotion?
  • 10. Do you promote your work and yourself at work?
Get your results directly to your email:
** Please answer all questions **

How do you recover after being rejected for a promotion?

So you didn’t get that last promotion. Yes, it’s disappointing and even humiliating. So far, you haven’t experienced anything like it. Your climb up the corporate ladder has been so smooth until now that you never imagined you’d be rejected for your next promotion - a pothole along your corporate development path. But what you might not have known is that this is a story common to nearly every middle manager I’ve consulted over the past 35 years. Promotions above the middle management level are several times more difficult to achieve than promotions along the entry level corporate development path. So once you’ve dusted yourself off and have resolved to keep up the fight, here are some suggestions for not letting your next promotion opportunity slip away.

 

The first thing you should do is take a look at the last year or two. Ask yourself honestly, how clear were you to your boss about wanting to get promoted? Were you counting on your boss to assume that you wanted a more senior position? Did you just simply think that doing a good job would automatically lead to a promotion, as it probably did when you were promoted last? In most cases, middle managers underestimate the importance of making it explicit that they want to be promoted. Getting promoted at this level in an organization is a great deal more than doing a good job. You have to actually build a strategy for getting it, which might include learning some new skills. Unless your boss is on board with you, helping you navigate the promotion waters, you’ll find yourself lost. So if your boss doesn’t know about your ambitions, make it clear ASAP.

 

Once you’ve communicated to your boss that you want to be promoted, make some time to speak with them about the reason why you were passed up this last time. Only by having an honest conversation with your boss will you be able to find out what you should be working on for next time. Don’t underestimate your own value by being shy. This is the time to get real answers to crucial questions - so start making the list now.

 

If, after speaking with your boss, you find that you're missing some key skills, competencies, and experience, make it your top priority to bridge these gaps. Unfortunately, most organizations are not forward thinking enough to provide middle managers with the tools necessary to be promoted from within. Instead, massive resources are directed towards finding new candidates for positions that could’ve been filled by existing employees. Therefore, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve got what it takes. So instead of being the last to leave the office and the one who volunteers to take on just one extra project (both which haven’t worked for you so far), use your time wisely by reading up on the latest trends and learning about new areas.

 

And when you’ve embarked on the promotion prowl, don’t forget to document everything that could help you win that next promotion opportunity. If you’ve met or exceeded specific goals within an assigned timeframe, make sure you receive some type of acknowledgement (a simple email will do) from your supervisor. If you’ve run a successful project in which you’ve supported your team in an outstanding manner, try to get short notes from both team members and the customer, stating how helpful you were. If you come to the promotion table with this kind of evidence, it will be hard for senior decision makers to ignore it.

 

To my own dismay, I’ve seen the best of middle managers follow all of these steps, and yet, when the time came, they were still passed over for promotion. Because of this, I suggest the following. When you approach your supervisor for the first time, ask them for specific steps that can be taken for you to get promoted. If you get a clear answer, then you can follow the plan above. However, if the answer is vague, it’s a sign that the company wants to keep you exactly where you are. In this case, I suggest you start polishing up your resume, as it’s probably time to move on to a company that deserves you.


 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Promotion seekers: never ignore the business mindset

As a middle manager, you already know what it takes to make a business successful. All businesses need strategy, marketing, operations, and finance. What you probably haven’t realized yet is that if you’re planning on moving up the corporate ladder, you have to treat yourself as a business, too. Without an “I’m a business” mindset, you’ll find yourself in the same position until retirement. Only middle managers who see themselves as businesses will identify and seize promotion opportunities, which are important factors affecting career development. Let’s have a look at the ways in which you should adopt an “I’m a business” mindset.

 

Make a business plan. Yes, you read a correctly, a business plan. Your plan should include your own mission statement, in which you set out exactly where you want to be both in the short and long terms. Remember that a good mission statement should be specific enough so that you can check on your progress in its fulfilment. I like the format of “by [date], I will be the [position] of [company]”.

 

In addition to your mission statement, make sure you have mapped out your competitive environment. Who are the other players in your company who could be vying for the same promotion? How much does your company promote from within versus from the outside? Who might the external competitors be for your next promotion? These are crucial factors affecting career development.

 

Once you have laid out your competitive environment, it’s time to enter marketing mode. As with any marketing plan, you should formulate your own USP (unique selling proposition/point). A good USP states loudly and clearly why you (and not someone else) should occupy your place in the market. What is the added value that you will bring to your next position? Why is this added value unique to you? Formulating a USP might not be easy, as you might not have had the opportunity to stop and reflect about what makes you special. I suggest not only self-reflection but also consulting others you can trust. Just as in a good market research focus group, ask co-workers around you what they think your USP might be. Be sure to try and speak with subordinates, people at your managerial level, and your supervisors. In this way, you’ll have enough information to put together a pretty accurate USP to communicate to others.

 

Once your USP is in place, you have to make sure others know about it as well. I’m not saying that you have to go for a full-blown advertising campaign. However, if you find yourself on the modest side - or even worse, someone who tends to stress your weaknesses, then switch modes immediately. For example, it doesn’t hurt to put out an email mentioning how proud you are of  your above average customer retention rate, does it?

 

Now, what about your company operations? True, you’re not a factory, but you still need to figure out how you’re going to get that next promotion - what you’d set out in your mission statement. First, find out what you’ll need to do in order to meet each milestone - or new position. For example, should you brush up on your finance skills? Prove you’re the number one salesperson in your region? Take on a project that’s not in your immediate area? Do you need extra time and resources to accomplish your plan? Organize all of this information and then create deadlines for yourself - as if they were assignments given to you by your supervisor.

 

Finally, think a bit more about finances. You’ve already considered the expenses in your operations plan. What about the other side of the coin? Do you have a salary target for each new position? Are there salaries you’d consider as unacceptable? You need to be aware of this, as it will help you understand the managerial levels you need to aspire towards. Or it might tell you that you need to look for advancement at another organization. Of course, you might not have all of the financial information necessary, but knowing roughly where you’d like to head is part of the “I’m a business” mindset.

 

I know that I haven’t covered everything there is regarding adopting an “I’m a business” mindset, but I hope that my message has been clear. In order to move from middle management to more senior positions, you have to come up with a clear strategy. Framing yourself as a business, from my experience, is a very useful, productive way to go. With a good business plan in place, businesses, as well as middle managers, have a much greater chance of success.



And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Super achievers: 3 reasons why you're not getting promoted

Contrary to what many middle managers may think, moving up the career ladder isn’t steady, rung by rung. Yes, many of you have earned your current middle management position by putting your nose the grindstone, burning the midnight oil - all with a dash of social finesse. Up to now in your corporate development career path, you’ve seen a direct correspondence between your sweat and the promotions you’ve achieved. But once you become a middle manager vying for promotion, the landscape changes. There no longer seems to be a playbook you can consult to score touchdowns along your corporate development career path. In fact, sometimes playing by the playbook might lead to the opposite results you’d hoped for. Has the corporate world changed its rules? Absolutely not. The fact is that you were never prepared for getting promoted beyond middle management.

 

While there are many reasons you might be missing out on promotion opportunities, one major factor might be your boss. Yes, your boss. The one who can’t stop praising you for your work. The one who entrusts the most challenging projects to you. The one who gives you stellar performance reviews. So how could this be? I’ll tell you: you’ve probably never had “the talk” with your boss - the one that lays out very clearly your aspiration to be promoted to a senior position. Unless you have this talk, you’ll never be a serious candidate for promotion.

 

So what can you find out in such a talk? There are many things, but I’ll concentrate on three key areas and make some suggestions along the way.

 

1.    You don’t have transferable skills.

True, your boss thinks the world of you when it comes to doing your job. But they haven’t seen how you’d handle situations you’re not familiar with. Do you always focus on the financial side of things, shying away from the marketing one? If so, your boss might have made the decision that you’re contributing to your company in the best way possible -  just where you are.

 

How to handle this:

If you think you’re being sold short, tell your boss that you’d like to pitch in when new projects come up. Show them that there’s more to you than what they’ve seen so far. But  if you really are limited to a core skill, make it your business to expand your horizons. Take a night school course, read books by business leaders, research online resources, or consult an expert. Remember that with each promotion, you’ll need even more skills.

 

2.     You’re indispensable.

This might come as a shock to you, but if you’re indispensable, you’re actually in trouble. Yes, you could take it as a compliment that your boss can’t get through the day without you right at their side. Or that new projects can’t even begin while you’re on vacation. So think about what disasters could occur if you were to actually be promoted? And what kind of boss would want to bring that  to themselves?

 

How to handle this:

Take things down a notch so that you’re not the go-to person for everything. Begin by sharing your tasks with others, guiding them along the way. Or train a co-worker in your super efficient methods for getting things done. While this might be unnerving at first, remember that you’re doing this for a reason: to strategically free yourself from being indispensable.

 

3.     You think you’re the one in control.

Being so good at your job, you know that others don’t hold a candle to you. So, maybe without meaning to, you give off an aura of superiority to fellow workers - perhaps expressed through a little too much self-confidence. Your boss, while appreciating your competence, feels this and is actually a bit threatened by it, though they might never admit it. The only thing they can do to counter this feeling is to keep you in check by ruling out any possibility of promotion.

 

How to handle this:

Lower your profile. Notice when you find yourself jumping into conversations to give your two cents - and take a step back. This will allow others to show their expertise and earn recognition for it. When you’re asked for your opinion, limit the time you allow yourself to talk. This will ensure a short, general answer - rather than an expert lecture. Holding back might be difficult, but your goal is to show that you don’t present a threat to your boss.

 

Getting that promotion once you’ve reached middle management is much harder and more complicated than the promotions you’ve successfully achieved so far. By talking with your boss openly, you’ll realize there’s much more to consider than your professional competence. But with careful, strategic preparation, you’ll be planning your own promotion in no time.


 

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

What are the secrets to ensuring your own promotion?

For those of you who have been following my posts, you know that when it comes to promotion opportunities, I’m not a big believer in fate. As I see things, promotion opportunities don’t just appear out of thin air. They are the result of careful, focused preparation so that when the right time comes, you can reap the benefits of your own preparation and determine your own corporate development career path. So my focus in this post is how to prepare today...regardless of whether you see a promotion opportunity in the horizon.

 

One reason that middle managers don’t get promoted is that they are too bound to the positions they know (or think they know) in the company. The marketing department has X number of employees whose functions are A, B, and C. The finance department has X national teams and Y international teams...and so on. What would happen if you could shape your own corporate development career path by creating your own position? What would it look like? What kinds of unique competencies could you bring to this position, benefiting both the department and the company? This is the time to think about such possibilities - when a promotion application deadline isn’t chasing your tail. This is also the time to check the feasibility of such a position by consulting with trusted co-workers, a mentor, and your boss.

 

Once you’ve decided on the ultimate position that would take advantage of your talents - and one that has received the nod of other key players, begin some market research. Find out how this position could: bring in new business; better serve your current markets; or develop products and services more efficiently. Collect the data necessary to back up these claims: market trends, sales figures, operational expenses, etc. Also, note any insightful reactions you get from co-workers as you discuss this new position. In general, your job is to build a case for this position - a case so strong that your company would be foolish not to create it for you.

 

While you’re creating your dream position, make both the time and effort to enhance relationships with current co-workers as well as to expand your network - ensuring that you reach beyond your comfort zone - whether it’s a team or whole department. While it might seem impossible to squeeze networking activities into an already jam-packed day, think of times in which you already might find yourself interacting with others: at a professional lecture, during a volunteer activity, at the water cooler, or at lunch.

 

If you do have time to spare, ask colleagues if they need an extra hand with their project. You might then find yourself invited to meetings which you wouldn’t have necessarily been invited to. The purpose of such networking is to make yourself known to various parts of your company so that when managers from different areas have to decide whom to promote, your name suddenly pops up from more than one - thereby greatly increasing your chances of promotion.

 

Your career - and especially your promotion path - should not be left to chance. Based on over 35 years of experience, I have seen few or no promotions based on “being there at the right time and at the right place”. There’s really no such thing. If you realize this, you’ll take the concrete steps I’ve outlined above to create your own promotion path - so that you’ll be ready to seize the opportunity when it arises.

 

Don’t worry about going full speed ahead with my suggestions. You can implement them as you feel comfortable. The important thing is to get started and to plan out how you’re going to proceed on your path to success. And before you know it, you’ll be looking out of the window of your own corner office.


 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Middle managers: 4 things to do to get promoted now

As a middle manager, you’ve been around long enough to know that the higher you move up the corporate ladder, the more difficult it is to keep up with a successful corporate development career path. While some middle managers find it effective to move to another company, many of you are looking forward to being promoted someday in your current organization. But as many of you have discovered, getting promoted internally is sometimes harder than finding a job elsewhere. So if you’re vying for an internal promotion to embark on an improved corporate development career path, what can you do to show that you’re the right person?

 

Well, first I’ll talk about a couple things you shouldn’t do - both related to the other candidate. First off, don’t play dumb. After over 35 years of experience in this field, I can promise you that the other candidate knows you’re either interested in the job or at least checking it out. So go ahead, face your competitor with a smile. And may the best candidate (you!) win. Secondly, no matter how much you might have the upper hand in office politics, play a fair game. Your advantage might win you the job, but shaking off your reputation as the company snake will be much harder to do. So now that we’ve talked about what you shouldn’t do, what things can you do to convince the relevant decision makers that you’re the right person to be promoted?

 

Here are four productive plans of action that will differentiate you from the pack:

 

1.    Manage your time.

Being the last to leave the office - and letting everyone see it - is a time-tested way to show your commitment to the company. I’m not necessarily encouraging that you do this, but if you do decide to stay late, be smart about it. Rather than making yourself look busy, use the time you’re at the office to do online training, read up on new trends, or expand your knowledge of your company’s playing field. In other words, turn this time into an opportunity for you to build yourself up as a very well-skilled, knowledgeable candidate. In this way, you both look good for staying late and position yourself better for that next promotion opportunity.

 

2.    Get your manager involved.

If you’re really serious about achieving an internal promotion, let your manager know this right away. It serves two purposes. First, you’ll be able to get an initial reaction from your manager and know where you stand. Second, if your idea is well-received, your manager won’t have any choice but to “join your team,” so to speak. In this way, you’ll be able to slowly turn your manager into a promotion mentor, openly consulting with them about the best way to show your company that you’re the one to promote.

 

3.    Keep your eyes wide open and your ears to the ground.

In most organizations, information is power. I’m not suggesting you snoop around the break room, eavesdropping on your co-workers. However, I do encourage you to pay attention to what you hear when you hear it. Don’t let tidbits of information, such as someone’s sudden reassignment, pass you by without wondering how it could affect your career. Also, listen to the style in which people around you interact: their tone of voice, the words they use, etc. These can give helpful insight into the general atmosphere of the company - and inform you of possible changes that could help you in your next promotion opportunity.

 

4.     Go looking for problems...and then solve them.

Don’t take this as advice for creating problems. There’s no need to; every organization has more than it can handle. But there are probably some problems that you could solve, making a significant difference for those around you. For example, take a look at how files are stored on your organization’s server. Could you improve accessibility by doing a little cleaning up? What about the location of the copier? Could it be put in a more convenient place so that it doesn’t disturb the Accounting Department? If you take initiative, people will notice and appreciate you...making you a prime candidate for that next promotion opportunity.

 

So to wrap up, being promoted within your company can be tough. But based on my 35 years of experience, it’s definitely doable. Remember to play clean and to differentiate yourself from the others. You’ll be in that corner office in no time.

 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

If you're worried about not getting promoted, don't miss these 6 tips

Like many talented middle managers, at some point you’ll want to apply for a promotion within your company and prepare a resume for internal promotion. Chances are that when this time arrives, you’ll be faced with competition both from within and outside your company. Not only will there be other candidates, but also they might be better suited for the job than you are. So the obvious question that comes to mind is: can you really increase your chances of being hired with your current resume for internal promotion? Based on over 35 years of experience, my answer is a simple “yes.”

 

Before getting into how you can increase your chances, you need to do a little reframing. Right now, you might see yourself at a disadvantage in terms of the other candidates, but I’d like to suggest something else. Instead of viewing your relative lack of qualifications or experience as a disadvantage, look at them as an advantage Here’s why:

 

The other two candidates, who might be all-stars, are probably not as worried as you are about their chances of getting the job. They’ve done their homework and realize they have the better resume. But  because they feel so secure, they’re probably resting on their laurels. You, on the other hand, are sweating, trying to figure out how to show your best side - investing all you’ve got to get the job. So it’s actually your own uncertainty that’s giving you the upper hand. Not sure how to invest your energy while your competition is asleep at the switch? Read on.

 

1.    Get a more objective look at your current position.

Are you really ready for a promotion? Don’t necessarily take your own word for it. Instead, fill out this short questionnaire I’ve developed. It’ll give you insight into how others in your organization might see you - and hopefully a fresh perspective. You’ll get a truer picture of yourself as a candidate and will be ready to take on the next steps.

 

2.    Conduct a competitor analysis.

Find out who your competitors are within the organization and then formulate a list of what their advantages might be over you. Some people have a tendency to underestimate their competitors. The danger here is that it can lead to a false sense of security and keep you off your toes. After you finish this list, write out what your advantages are over your competitors. While this process might be relatively easy for internal competitors, finding out the appropriate information about external ones can be more difficult. Do the best you can, as the result of this mapping is critical. So get yourself busy, not leaving any potential stone unturned.

 

3. Invest in personal branding.

Once you have the critical information about your competitors, it’s time to think about how you’re going to differentiate yourself from them. Determine what makes you special and then set aside the time and resources necessary to maintain and develop your own personal brand. For ideas on how to do this, please read my post Pave your corporate development career path by branding yourself for promotion

 

4. Consider approaching your direct manager.

In most cases, your direct manager can positively influence the promotion process. But be careful, because this isn’t always the case. It really depends on how your direct manager is seen in your organization and how much their opinion is valued. If it isn’t, don’t waste your time influencing them. And don’t forget that in some cases, a recommendation from a less regarded manager can even damage your candidacy. However, if your manager does have some clout, it is important you approach them with your aspirations for promotion, so that perhaps they can put in a good word for you.


5.    Identify the movers and shakers in your organization.

In every organization, you can find movers and shakers. Such movers and shakers might carry executive titles, while others influence things behind the scenes, often through personal ties. Your job is to identify this second group of employees. Here’s a hint: they’re usually the confidants of those higher up in the chain of command. Once you know who they are, make sure they know of your desire to be promoted and clearly justify why. Then hope all of this is passed on to your organization’s decision makers.

 

5.    Go above and beyond .

Volunteering to take on a special project at the right time and place can result in both an immediate and roaring effect. Just be aware that the boom can peter out rather quickly - especially in today’s dynamic business environment. Nonetheless, it will most likely “put you on the corporate map”, acquainting others who don’t know you with what you have to offer.

 

When it looks as if the other candidates have the upper hand, it’s natural to feel you don’t have a shot. But the problem with this feeling is that it really impacts your behavior and sure enough, you’ll walk around acting as if you don’t actually deserve a promotion. That’s not the way to go. Instead, try out my advice - and your chances of getting that promotion will increase. And instead of feeling hopelessness, use your energy to think about how you can and will work towards reaching the coveted corner office.

 

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Promotion seekers: never assume this

Among middle managers, there’s a common misconception that getting a promotion at your company is easier than landing the same position at another company. And if you’ve got a good resume for internal promotion,  you’re a shoo in, right? Wrong. And to add a little fuel to the fire, based on my 35+ years of experience, you’re actually at a disadvantage.

 

Sounds surprising? Read on.

 

Imagine that you’re applying for the position from outside your company. As a successful professional, you’d do your best to prepare for the interview, including your resume for internal promotion. You’d read up on the company, check out its website and search for articles about its history and current performance. You’d check out your social networking contacts to see if you know anyone working there who could give you some further insight. You’d also update yourself on the industry in general. In short, you’d do enough background work to write a report that would put the best of investment analysts to shame.

 

Now, honestly answer this question: would you do the exact same thing before an interview in your own company. We both know your answer. So while you’re sure that your track record so far will get you the promotion, your competition can also in-depth knowledge of your company and its environment. Now, who would you choose?

 

Let’s say you don’t agree with me and insist your performance has been so stellar that management would be foolish not to promote you. I’ll give you even more credit than that. Maybe you’re a sales manager who’s outsold everyone else for the past three years. Naturally, everyone in the company knows you’re a star. In fact, they know everything about you: the good, the bad, and the ugly. You see, when you apply for a promotion, your good points are of course known and recognized, but so are your less desirable traits. As ugly as it sounds, office lore and gossip travel fast - horizontally and vertically. You can be sure that the last time you flew off the handle at a client or mucked up an order will be just as prominent on your record as your exceptional sales performance. And for external candidates, getting this kind of “dirt” would take much more effort and probably wouldn’t even surface during the hiring process.

 

No dirt on you, you claim? All right, I’ll take your word for it. So you’re the dream of every sales department? And you’re record is squeaky clean? That’s bad, too. And here’s the reason: why would anyone in their right mind fix something that ain’t broke? If you’re bringing in tons of business, why would your company want to change this? And what guarantee does your company have that you’d be a good senior manager anyway? There are plenty of slightly less competent sales managers who can be groomed into senior managementhood. So you’ll just be kept where you are - generating lots of income for your company.

 

Does all of this mean that if a great promotion opportunity comes along, you shouldn’t bother applying? Absolutely not. But don’t assume you’ve got it in the bag. Instead, my advice to you is to treat any promotion opportunity as if you were an external candidate.

 

Do the research required to understand the industry, the company, and the department. Find out any negative flack about you by asking co-workers what they honestly think about you...and then be ready with your side. And finally, don’t wait for your company to take responsibility for developing you into a manager. Read professional material, attend seminars, meet with a consultant. Yes, just like an external candidate, you have to prove to your own organization that you are indeed senior management material.

 

Prepare yourself today for the promotion opportunities of tomorrow, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself on your way to that coveted corner office.

 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Aspiring C-level managers: don't ignore this 1 important thing

There’s a belief in corporate environments that when you’re hot, you’re hot. From my over 35 years of experience in helping middle managers realize their career dreams, I can tell you that this belief is only partially true and one of the real factors affecting career development.

 

As an entry-level employee, you made it your business to make sure you were the best you could be, whether it was marketing, sales, operations, finance, IT, etc. You stood out as the one to watch when it came to your particular discipline. Everyone knew you were destined for a promising career. You were hot.

 

And being hot at your discipline helped. You were promoted much quicker than other employees and you excelled at each of your positions. But recently it seems like someone has put the brakes on your career. Being hot at something doesn’t seem to be as redeeming a quality as it once was. In fact, it’s quite the opposite and there are other factors affecting career development.

 

Surprising, right? Not really. While you were becoming so ultra professional in your specific area, others were developing a managerial mindset that is just as important - if not more important than being the best programmer of financier in town.

 

And when promotion opportunities come around (if they haven’t already), you’re going to find that co-workers who are less proficient than you in certain areas are going to get the promotions you thought were coming your way. How can this be? What’s their secret ingredient?

 

Well, I’m not a fortune teller, but there are some secret ingredients to a managerial mindset you should know about.

 

1.    Looking the part

It’s true, we’re now in the age of relatively informal appearance. People come to work dressed much less formally than just a few years ago. I’ve even been shocked to see people coming to work in get ups resembling gym attire, but that’s really pushing it. However, I’m sure you’ll notice that the more senior a manager is, the less they’ll be likely to dress down too much. I’m not saying that you should wear a business suit to work every day, but I am saying that it’s important to observe how the next level dresses - and look the part yourself. Remember than when these decision makers have to determine which candidates to allow into their ranks, they’ll want to choose people that look as if they fit the role.

 

2.    Communicating effectively

You can be the most brilliant R&D developer, but if you can’t communicate your ideas to senior management, let alone potential customers, your R&D creations aren’t worth much at all. Can you make a point concisely, both in speech and writing? Or do your subordinates dread your unfocused, drawn-out meetings and poorly drafted memos? When the stakes are high, can you provide effective feedback or help a team member get back on track by demonstrating genuine empathy? Or does you intervention usually muddle up the situation even further? Without the ability to clearly communicate both your professional competence and to manage others well, a promotion just isn’t in the cards.


3.    Embracing change

Middle managers who desire to take on the role of senior managers must understand that embracing change is part and parcel of the job. Organizations, no matter what the size or industry, change and are meant to change in order to meet the challenges of today’s dynamic business world. If you are uncomfortable with the reality of an ever-changing environment, then a promotion isn’t for you. But if getting a promotion is important to you, try to develop a positive attitude towards change. View it as a constant growth opportunity both for yourself professionally and for your organization.

 

Being a true professional is the cornerstone of a successful career trajectory. But the definition of what a true professional is changes as you climb the corporate ladder. Making sure you develop a managerial mindset is crucial to this climb. I wish you luck as you make your way towards the corner office.


And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Middle managers: here's how to prevent getting rejected for promotion

Middle managers often feel as if they are constantly jumping through hoops. On one hand, you have a great, stable job - filled with both professional challenges and responsibility for results - keeping you on your toes. But with all of this good energy, there’s something that’s constantly nagging at you - will you ever be promoted to the next level?

These days, most of your effort is on doing a good job, but recently you feel as if you should be investing in your corporate development career path. You might’ve even filled in a few applications or had the chance to attend an interview or two. But you sort of knew you didn’t have a real chance. Was it because you aren’t professional enough? Experienced enough? Smart enough? Probably not.

It was because you knew you hadn’t prepared properly for the promotion opportunity. While each shot at promotion should be analyzed on its own in terms of how to tackle it, here’s how you can begin preventing that next rejection - ensuring a smooth corporate development career path.

 

1.    Market your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Yes, it’s the same USP that you learned about in Marketing 101. Just like a product or service, if you don’t stand out as something special, you won’t get noticed. You’re just another boring brand of shampoo or run of the mill cellular service package. Instead, you’ve got to figure out what your core competency is. Then, position yourself in your organization so that everyone knows what it is without your having to spell it out. This is tough at the middle management level, because your duties are highly defined. So you have to think company-wide. What can you do on a company level that will show off your USP? Initiate a new product line? Head a new project? Develop a new strategy? This will help differentiate you from others when it comes time to promote middle managers.

 

2.    Show it. Don’t flaunt it.

While you want to make sure that key decision makers know your USP, you don’t want to make too much noise. Let your actions speak for themselves. In companies where middle managers are hungrily competing for promotions, you’ll find that those who have proven track records are the ones who are eventually promoted. You can recognize these people as the exceptional middle managers who get invited to C-level meetings or who’s asked to brainstorm about a new corporate direction. These middle managers win twice. First, their USP is recognized and second, they have the opportunity to demonstrate their competency in contexts usually reserved for other company members.

 

3.    Develop a C-level attitude.

Not haughtiness. What I mean is that you should show you’re ready for promotion by adopting the mindset of an executive level manager. First, you need to convince yourself that you’re ready to be promoted. If you truly believe this, then you’re well over halfway there. But beware of one thing: a promotion is not the be all and end all of your career. It’s part of a long professional journey. Executive-level managers know this (and that’s what got them there in the first place). You have to build up a positive attitude both towards your own abilities and how you can contribute to the sustainability of their organization. Through the development of a strong work ethic, combined with a true passion for your job, you’ll stand out from the others.

 

4.    Make sure you’re a team player.

Many middle managers discover they’re not really team players. Sure, you can manage a small team in completing a specialized project, but on the whole, you don’t see yourself as team members. Of course, this is often felt quite clearly among your subordinates, who are quick to “spread the word.” Make no mistakes: if you’re not perceived as a team player, you’ll never get promoted. If you want that promotion, you have to develop team building skills, whether it’s through a course, informal mentoring, or formal consultation with an expert.

The transition from middle manager to a senior executive position can seem like an impossible task, especially if you’ve had the chance to experience some of the many trials and tribulations associated with applying for promotions or executive positions at other companies. As you’ve probably learned, it’s not only a matter of how professional you can do your work - there’s a lot more on the line. Begin laying the groundwork now and you’ll reach the corner office before you know it.

 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

If you want to get promoted, avoid lukewarm references

When applying for a job, figuring out how your references will portray you can be pretty troubling. These days, with supercharged social networking profiles, potential employees still view references as one of the most important components in deciding whether to hire a candidate. So you have to make sure that your references show you in the best light possible - it’s one of the essential factors affecting career development.

 

This is the best case scenario. But what happens when your references might not be so great? For example, maybe you and your boss don’t see eye to eye? Or perhaps your supervisor is jealous of you?

 

Whatever the reason, in these cases, the references will be somewhere between negative and lukewarm. Though lukewarm might sound harmless, it’s not. If your prospective employer gets a lukewarm reference, they’ll certainly ask for the details - and soon what seemed harmless might turn into a disaster for you. This can spiral into one of the most damaging factors affecting career development.

 

Of course, the best thing to do is to completely avoid a lukewarm reference by asking for references from others. But unfortunately, there are times when a lukewarm one is inevitable. In such cases, there are three major ways of dealing with it. Naturally, you’ll need to choose which one is appropriate for your particular situation.

 

1.    Approach your reference providers beforehand and ask what they might be planning on saying.

 

This is probably the hardest way to find out, but if you’ve had an open relationship with the reference provider, it’s the best way to go. Naturally, you shouldn’t take everything they say at face value, as telling you about you and telling someone else about you are two completely different things. However, my experience shows that such openness helps, especially when understanding in general what they’ve been satisfied (and dissatisfied) with. Interestingly enough, having this kind of open discussion with your reference provider could actually influence the reference itself in the end, especially if the meeting is done openly and without any hard feelings. In fact, if there is indeed a respectful rapport, you could remind the reference provider that their reference will of course have an important impact on whether you get your next position.


 

2.    Indirectly find out what your references providers are probably going to say about you.

 

If the first method does not work, you could always ask a close coworker to find out on your behalf. If you’re not sure you’ll get a candid response, have a friend from another company call your reference provider and ask about you.  Whichever method you choose, the important thing is that you have information that is more accurate than not knowing at all. And armed with this information, you’ll be able to emphasize (or deemphasize) certain aspects during your interview, depending on the image you want to project to your interviewer. Be ready to provide examples to justify your point of view, as this will help the interviewer see things from your side, as opposed to that of the reference.

 

3.    Tell your interviewer like it is - and do keep trying to find more favorable references.

 

Damage control caused by lukewarm references can also be accomplished by actually telling your interviewer that you suspect that the reference might not be the most favorable. Then you should explain exactly why - citing exactly what happened, making sure not to blame anyone else. Then, it is good practice to provide names of other reference providers to show the other side of the coin, which of course can include subordinates, co-workers, or other managers who’ve had the chance to see your work. Another possibility is asking for references from key customers or even competitors with whom you’ve been in touch and who can attest to the quality of your work. These actions will not only help establish an honest relationship with your prospective employer but also provide them with unique perspectives from which they can judge your performance.


 

While having to foresee the unpleasant chance of receiving a lukewarm reference can definitely be seen as a nightmare when seeking a new position, there is hope. Try out one of the three ways of of handling lukewarm references I’ve mentioned here. At the very least, you’ll reduce some of the anticipated heartache. But it’s more likely that you’ll come out ahead.

 

Good luck!


And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

Download file

get your weekly free blog update

100% privacy, I will never spam you.

Headline

COMMENTS

Pages