If you want to get that promotion, is it just good enough to be good at what you do? I believe the answer is no. There are a lot of talented people who never rise above average. Not that average is bad, but as a leader, don’t you want to be better? Living near San Francisco, I sometimes drive down to Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39. As I stroll along the waterfront taking in the sights and smells along the shore, I pass by numerous street vendors and musicians hawking their wares. These people have talent! Yet it is pretty obvious that some of these folks have been beaten up by life.
At work, there are lots of “talented” people. Yet, only a percentage move up to become supervisors, managers or executives. Why? The answer is simple, those that get promoted know how to play the game. “Playing the game” can have some negative connotations about it, so let’s break this down to ensure we’re all on the same page.
Playing the game doesn’t mean kissing up to the boss. It doesn’t mean being a yes man/woman and leaving your integrity and values at the door. Playing the game consists of…
- Investing time in your company. This means a couple of things. You should be willing to go to events held by your company. Yes, I know they can be boring, but… to get promoted you have to go because that is where relationships are built outside the office. You also have to invest in it by coming in early and staying late. You don’t have to put in 50 hours a week, but if you’re only putting in 40… well, that’s average.
- Understand your company. Do you know what’s important to executives at your company? If not,why not? What are the “hot” projects and how can you impact them in a positive way?
- Understand your boss. What’s important to your boss? Are you helping him/her get what they want? Would your boss say that you make his/her life easier or harder? Can you be counted on to get them what they want, when they want it?
- Expand your circle of competency. If you are just “technical”, you won’t get ahead. I’ve worked with people who don’t understand why managers make more money than someone who does the work. Simple, worker bees are average. Technical skills can be taught to a lot of people. However, understanding how to make relationships and lead and manage others is a whole different story. You must work on your “soft” skills if you want to get promoted.
If you aren’t willing to do these few simple things, you won’t get promoted. In some cases, if you’re at an organization long enough, you get promoted by default. However, a lot of these same people, were the first to be let go during a downturn. You want to be the last one standing.
All the best!
All the time!