This is one big question that pops up in everyone’s mind more than once in their career. This question basically originates from feelings such as “I am doing a great job” or “I am putting a lot of extra effort” or “People whom are not as good as me are getting promoted” etc… The moment these feelings start cropping up in your mind, you are set for a frustrating time in your career. But the big question is, are you really ready for the next move in your career from the perspective of the management who makes the decision on your move?
Understanding how the management looks at the performance, as well as what they look for in people to consider them for the next move can help you manage your frustration a little better. I have detailed here a few things that I have learned during my participation in talent review process, where the management evaluates each person in the organization and decides on their future career path.
Just being a safe pair of hands for the company doesn’t guarantee career growth
You have a specific skill set; you are very good at what you do; you are very loyal to the company; you have a lot of experience in your field; these are all good things, but these by default are not going to guarantee you growth in the company. The above traits make you a safe pair of hands for the company whom they can rely on. The organization knows that they can trust you and they are very happy to have you work for them. But, if you don’t combine these traits with the right attitude, ambition and leadership skills, then you are less likely to make it to the next role. So don’t be satisfied with your own performance; keep asking for feedback and work on it to go up in the organization.
Attitude can make it or break it
An employee’s attitude towards work, how he approaches people and how he approaches different situations, can either make or break his career. The right attitude can help you gain bounties while the wrong attitude can get you in trouble. A ‘can-do’ attitude is always a winner, but make sure it doesn’t turn into an over promise under deliver habit. The management favors people who keeps a positive attitude and are willing to give a shot at things and try to make them work. At the same time, those who keep a negative attitude towards everything are not doing themselves a favor. Playing the devil’s advocate is good to a certain extend but don’t overdo it. A person’s attitude towards his or her co-workers also plays a very important part. Keeping a defensive and confrontational attitude is not going to work in your favor. But that doesn’t mean you should try to avoid any confrontational situation; sometimes you cannot avoid them, but don’t make it a habit to go for confrontation all the time.
You need to grow balls to grow your career
Being a nice guy may help you to win friends, but is not enough to help you grow in the company. If you need to grow in your career, you need to actively demonstrate that you have the ability to say ‘NO’, and challenge people when needed. Accepting everything that gets thrown at you, not giving honest feedback out of fear of being unpopular, and avoiding constructive criticism can all make you the most popular guy in the office among colleagues. But the popularity stays at that level. At the management level you will be considered as someone who doesn’t have the ability to challenge the status quo. In simple terms, you will be considered as someone who needs to grow balls. So don’t confuse the inability to speak up as being nice to people. You will be a winner when you have both the ability to speak up and be nice to people.
Empathy is an important trait for career growth
Being tough when the situation demands it demonstrates a key attribute every person should carry to be successful in his or her career. But being tough just for the sake of it to project yourself as macho might work in your favor outside work, but not at work; definitely not when it comes to scoring points with the management. People who become completely insensitive towards their coworkers and subordinates are considered as incapable managers, who require working on their management ability and style. Empathy is a trait that the management looks for in their employees, especially managers.
Ambition and clarity of where you want to go can help you get there
Having an ambition or clarify about where you want to get to in your career not only gives you a clear objective to work towards, but also gives the management an idea about where you want to go. This ultimately helps the management to provide you with the right direction to help you get there. Be very articulate about your ambition so that you can get the right guidance at the right time on how you can get there, and work very hard for it. So keep in mind that your ambition not only guides you but also guides the management.
Substance trumps everything else
You can try to be the person whom you are not, try to impress people with all things you don’t possess, and try to please people out-of-the-way to get you what you want, but at the end of the day, when it comes to deciding on your career, all that matters is the substance in you. It speaks louder than anything else, and it matters more than anything else. So, if you are not good at what you do, then there is a limit to how far you can go. If you have the substance, there will be a lot of people who will stand up for you and support you while you are being discussed. Fake will fade with time; so let your work speak for you.
A bad performance rating is not the end of your career
It’s never too late to bounce back in your career, so don’t lose hope. If your manager just revealed the hard truth about your performance which you have been knowingly or unknowingly neglecting all these times, then it’s time to wake up. If you are willing to open up your mind to the feedback and wholeheartedly work on the areas for development, then you will be able to make it back to glory days. In most cases people lose hope, and when they do, they lose their job as well. It’s like a patient fighting with a life threatening disease; your willingness to get back to your good self, matters more than anything else. Keep in mind that the management is looking at your performance, and they have nothing against you; so improve your performance and you can be back in the game.
It’s important not to turn into a blocker
We are no more in an era where you take a position in the organization, you do a good job at it and expect to keep that position all your life, and the only way the people under you can take your position is either when you decide to leave or when you retire. And this is called being a blocker. By being in that position the person is killing the career prospect of many talented people below him in his organization, who at some point in time will get frustrated for not being able to move up, and decide to quit and look for better opportunities. So for any organization in order to attract good talent and retain them, it is important that they have a career path in place for their promising talent. And the last thing they want is a blocker in the organization’s blood vessel; who threatens a stroke by not allowing the free flow of talent. When that happens, they will not hesitate to remove that blocker without any delay. So it is important that you make sure you don’t become a blocker.