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“Identify Habits that are Harming your Career”

You know it by now. You’re the result of your habits. 

But what you might not realize is that while certain habits might have gotten you to where you are on the career ladder, at some point, they have actually stopped your climb, despite your having aimed your best towards professional development goals for managers.

I’ll illustrate this with a story from my own everyday life. Usually, my daughter takes the school bus to school. But a few months ago, she had to bring in quite a few supplies for a school project, so she asked me to drive her to school, and of course I agreed. After my frantic morning routine of getting dressed, gulping down a cup of coffee and gathering my briefcase, we got into the car to head for her school. Or so I had intended. 

As I switched into the lane leading to the highway, my daughter yelled out, “Mom, where are you going? I’m going to be late for school!” Pretty confused, I slammed on the brakes and realized that I was driving towards my office. It seemed that my habit of driving to work had overtaken my intention to take my daughter to school. I made a u-turn and luckily got her to school on time. My habit of following a certain route to work had served me well - until this particular day. If you are conscious of your habits (unlike I was), then you become aware of when they are helpful and when they are not.

I’m sure you can recall a version of this story in your own life. Now let’s see how it all works.

Studies show that about 40% of your daily decisions are made automatically - without a second thought, so to speak. This allows the other 60% of your brain to take in and process new information. In order to maintain this ratio, your brain is constantly identifying repeated behaviors and turning them into automatic habits, through your brain’s natural compression mechanism. With this mechanism in place, you can actually learn to compress your unhelpful habits - allowing room for your potential habits to be discovered and developed. This should be a significant part of the professional development goals for managers.

At this point, you might be wondering if you have any unhelpful habits that need compressing. The answer is an unequivocal “yes.” I’ll explain.

As you already know, automatic habits are wonderful for getting things done quickly and efficiently, not requiring a minute’s thought. The downside, however, is when they take charge in situations in which they shouldn’t (like in my story above). Now let’s take a business example.

As a middle manager, you might be appreciated for knowing every detail of every project, poised to make quick and efficient decisions, thus driving projects ahead at the speed of light. However, what happens when moving up in the ranks of your company requires releasing some control and nurturing a team to take on responsibilities? Your natural instinct is to take over and decide for them, while what you really need to do is develop the ability to let your team come up with decisions, even if it means they might struggle a bit. As you can see, here you must hold back on your habit for quick, accurate decisionmaking and allow room for a less developed habit, nurturing your team. This is the process of “growing” as a manager, which will lead you to future career success. 

One word of warning: there are many programs out there that claim to have isolated the most needed habits for you to take on easily and painlessly. The sad result of such programs is that like everything else forced on you, you’ll probably drop such “cookie-cutter” habits as soon as you can (think of some of the fad diets out there). On the other hand, if you concentrate on discovering and developing your own innate habits, you’ll be working on something that comes naturally to you - and therefore much more likely to stick and serve you for years to come.

 

And always remember: 

Great managers are made. Not born.

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“Think big but start small: the #1 key to success”

Middle management is the time when your career can either soar north or plummet south. Unfortunately, for most middle managers, plummeting is the default. It’s not because they’re not talented or lack the ability to soar, an example of how to measure success at work. It’s actually because the flight path was never planned very well.

 

Up until this point in your career, you might’ve taken careful baby steps - from entry level to team leader and finally to middle manager, honing in on whatever background you’d come to your company with. Of course, this path has served you well so far as a respected middle manager. This is a reasonable indicator of how to measure success at work.

 

But what’s the next step? At this stage in your career, planning this next step requires a complete change in mindset. Many successful middle managers decide they want to vye for the most senior position in their discipline. For example, a mid-level marketing manager might set the goal of becoming the chief marketing officer. Naturally, they might begin to meticulously plan their climb towards this position, rung by rung up the corporate ladder. The rationale here is that each rung would be a “realistic” move as the years go by. And, if they’re lucky, they’ll reach CMO status one day. If not, they’ll be left by the wayside along with the majority of frustrated middle managers.

 

So how can you make sure you don’t become a middle management castaway? The first thing you need to do is think big. Solid career planning that leads to real results requires that you take the time to think out-of-the-box when it comes to your ultimate career dream. Taking the mid-level marketing manager as an example, trying out “what if” scenarios is key. For instance, what if you envisioned yourself as CEO or in another C-suite role? Would a series of short term, step-by-step plans to move up the ranks in marketing necessarily make sense? Of course not. To be a CEO, you would need to acquire experience in nearly every other discipline in the company. But if you limit yourself to in-the-box planning limited to the next rung on your career ladder, you’ll miss the big picture...and find yourself stopped in your tracks. 

 

Only after taking the time to think big can you then start to see the multiple paths available to you to achieve your ultimate goal. And once you’ve identified these paths, you can then begin to choose one to plan your next step.

 

When you’ve chosen a path, formulate goals that will allow you to stick to it. Don’t make what I call the gym membership mistake and commit to seven workouts a week. Instead, aim for two days and then build up gradually. For instance, if you know you want to learn about the financial side of your company, attempting to gorge on every financial report in sight is unrealistic. Sure, just like the gym, you’ll start out with great intentions and full of energy. But then, little by little, the stack of reports will start gathering dust and you’ll blame yourself for failing to live up to your own expectations.

 

A much more productive plan would be to munch on a couple of reports for a given amount of time and then to increase any intake as time permits. The important thing is that  once you have your overall vision in place (and not just your next short term move), accomplishing your vision bit by bit will lead to real progress.

 

To summarize:

1.Give yourself some time to work out your ultimate goal, leaving “realistic” short-term goals aside.


2.Make a plan towards accomplishing this goal, acknowledging that there are mutliple paths.


3.Begin one or two steps towards the goal, increasing these steps as you are able.

Good luck and don’t forget to dream!

 

And always remember: 

Great managers are made. Not born.

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Succeeding in 2019

New beginnings always bring new opportunities - but it’s up to us to decide whether to make these opportunites our own - an important part of career goals for managers. Unfortunately, from my experience, very few of us take full advantage of new opportunities. This is usually attributed to what people mistakenly call a “realistic” view of such opportunites. They incorrectly overestimate the gap between where they are and where they could be. So they decide it’s not realistic to go for the opportunity - better to stay put. 

Others who understand the importance of career goals for managers realize that opportunities cannot be wasted. Yes, it takes work, but it’s not impossible. I hope you’re part of this second category of managers. It’s 2019 and you have a world of opportunities awaiting you. Here’s how to get going: 

First, it’s important to understand that seizing new opportunities means making some changes of your own. To do this, you’ll have to take an inventory of your current habits to see which ones might help or hinder your journey towards new opportunities. For example, when making decisions, do you often seek advice from everyone in your department? Perhaps such a habit has caused you to miss out on time sensitive deals. 

Once you’ve taken your habit inventory, follow these steps:

 

1.    Identify the habits you need to change.

2.    Reduce these habits so that you can control them. This means being able to take them out and put them away as    needed. If you get this right, you’ll find that you’ve made room for desireable habits to take root and grow.

3.    Nourish and monitor your desireable habits. With persistence, they will become second nature and lead you  towards success.

 

With this plan, you’ll seize the right opportunities in 2019 and before you know it, it’ll will be your year of success. During 2019, I’ll explore some of the topics I’ve touch on in more detail in the following posts:

 

1.    “Think big but start small: the #1 key to success”
2.    “Identify habits that are harming your career”
3.    “Reduce harmful habits: why and how?”
4.    “Find your untapped potential: why and how?”

Look out for this special 2019 series.

 

And always remember: 

Great managers are made. Not born.

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Using the Holiday Season to Realign and Achieve Your Career Goals

This is the time of year, we focus more on family and loved ones than our career. After all, it’s not called the holiday season for nothing. In truth, spending time with our family helps us see the bigger picture of what we want and where we see ourselves in the future. It is also a great time to begin to reflect and learn how to measure success at work.

Sure, you have had a good year. You kept your team on track and fulfilled the requirements of each project presented to you. But is this enough? Are you where you thought you would be this time last year? What can you do now that will influence where you will be in one year’s time? Do you know how to measure success at work and get that promotion you deserve?

 

Embrace What Might Seem Impossible

Nearly all of the wonderful inventions we rely on today started as dreams. Scientists dreamed of curing diseases, Inventors dreamed of cleaner ways of running cars, and peace-makers dreamed of a world without war. 

What dreams do you have for your career? Daring to dream is very liberating, and allows us to begin to think “outside the box”, and to transcend the normal borders of our imagination.

If you dream of being promoted to a senior position and owning the corner office it might seem impossible now, but is it? If every idea that was once a dream was ignored where would the world be now? We’d still be reading by candle-light or waiting for news from a loved one to come via a written note or a telegram. 

Remember, if you don’t have a dream you can make it come true. Allow yourself the freedom this holiday period to dream a little. It may take you to new and exciting heights.

 

Make Your Dreams a Reality

So, now that your dreams are present it is time to make them a reality. You can do this by visualizing your success. Dreaming is one thing, but envisioning those ideas into a reality will help them come true. It will make the impossible seem real. In truth, if you can visualize something you can accomplish it.

Begin by visualizing yourself in a senior position. What does it look like? Where is your desk? What’s the view outside your window? Then visualize yourself in different situations in your new job. What’s it like to run a staff meeting? Give an important presentation? Determine a budget? The more you visualize, the sharper and more detailed the images will become.

Incorporate your other senses too. Visualizing is not just about what you can see. What would you hear as a senior manager? What would sitting in that corner office feel like? How good would your coffee or tea taste now that you have made your dreams a reality?

 

Write Down Your Dreams

Do yourself a favor and buy a beautiful notebook or journal. Make sure you get just the right one for you so take your time when purchasing it. Why? Because now is the time to turn your dream into goals, and then reality.

When we put our dream job into words, we make it concrete so that we can set the goals needed to turn it into reality. You need to write down what exactly is your dream job. When do you want to begin it? And, what are some of the major steps you’ll need to accomplish before that job is yours?

You might need to do some retraining or upskilling. When and where can these be done? What other skills can you add to your repertoire to ensure that promotion is yours?

 

Start Planning Your Future Career Success

As the New Year looms ahead of you, now is the time to begin planning your future career. Start realizing your dream as you begin this new career path of yours.

Make time to create a detailed plan. This should include a breakdown of your overall dream job goal into smaller, more manageable “mini-goals.” And, a rough due date by which each of these mini-goals should be achieved. 

Remain focused on your dreams, and don’t let life or disappointments stop you from achieving them. Those who are really successful don’t have backup plans. Instead, they keep their eyes on the ball and never waiver from their ultimate plan to make their dreams a reality.

 

I’d like to wish you a very joyous holiday season, filled with love, happiness, and peace for all. 

 

Best wishes

Etika

 

P.S. And don’t forget.

Great managers are made. Not born.

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Is Being a Go-Getter Stopping Your Career Advancement?

There is no doubt companies benefit from quick-thinking, fast-acting talented people who are true go-getters who are clearly working on their corporate development career path. These kinds of people hunger for challenges, and take on any task with seemingly endless enthusiasm and energy. They have a particular drive and passion that is sometimes unmatched, driving their team to reach goals over and over again.

What these go-getters are is Producers. It is not uncommon for many managers to be recognized as Producers on their corporate development career path. They are an asset to any company because they become involved in almost every aspect of a project from the initial ideas to its completion. They offer real hands-on support for all team members and they are accessible 24/7 if need be.

So, why can being a Producer hamper your promotional opportunities? After all, this type of manager is truly valued within the workplace, right?

It is not uncommon for Producers to be quickly promoted up through the ranks to middle management positions. However, it can be difficult for them to move up into a senior position despite working so hard and keeping their nose to the grindstone.

This might be a surprise because Producers seemingly deserve a promotion and all the rewards that go along with it. They have a great track record that speaks for itself and they have a great reputation for achieving goals. There is no shortage of opportunities either, so the big question is, why are Producers left on the shelf, stuck in middle management positions?

 

The answer is clear when you know why. Let’s take a look:

Producers become so focused on driving to meet targets and taking on new projects they neglect other important factors needed to fulfil the role of senior manager. 

In truth, Producers are viewed as uniquely individual. They are one-person shows, as it were, who are good at what they do, but who lack other important skills.

Producers can be so driven their team often lacks proper training. Developmental opportunities are missed because Producers are always looking forward when they should be stopping to see who needs support right now.

As well, Producers may not be good at following policies or procedures. They know they exist, but they don’t want them to get in the way of the success of the project; and this is never a good thing. We all know that policies are there for a reason.

 

So, if you are a Producer what do you need to do to get that promotion?

It’s not as bleak as it sounds. There are plenty of things a Producer can do to ensure that the next promotion is theirs. If you can identify with this type of manager, then take note of the following.

Create time to sit down, one on one, with each member of your team. Ask them how they are feeling about their current job. Do they need training in certain areas? Where do they see themselves in two, five or ten years? And most importantly, how can you help them achieve their goals?

Also, step back and allow your team to drive a project themselves. They probably don’t need your constant input. This might, in truth, be perceived as interference, and that can develop resentment. Instead, give them enough space to thrive.

To become a better manager you will need to be well-rounded, versatile and flexible. You deserve that promotion, but you are going to have to work for it. 

Being reflective is always a good thing, and it can only lead you to bigger and better things in the future. Taking stock of what kind of manager you are, and how best to improve on the skills you already have is a great start.

 

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

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Is Being an Administrator Actually Bad for Your Career Goals?

There are many different types of managers, and all have benefits that no company should be without. However, along with these advantages there are some drawbacks that can hamper the manager’s chances for promotion. These can make it difficult in knowing how to measure success at work.


One such manager is the Administrator. This might by you, so keep reading, and why you might identify with being an Administrator there are things that can be done to build on your skills and get that promotion you deserve.
Administrators are those types of managers who know how to measure success at work. They diligently and meticulously plan each step of the process, knowing that planning is necessary to achieve success. They keep everything in order from their pens, their diaries, and even their team. They thrive in an environment which is well organized, neat and ordered. 


A good Administrator is highly valued within the company because of their commitment to orderly planning and organization. Administrators ensure that all resources are available and that a clear project flow is in place before a project is even started. They plan the stages of the project very carefully, often incorporating the use of resources along the way. As all Administrators know, projects that begin on time and are completed either on or ahead of schedule are worthwhile and satisfying.


Like many of the managerial styles we are visiting in this series of articles, Administrators are quickly promoted up through the ranks to middle management positions. After all, what company wouldn’t benefit from the talents highlighted above, right?
However, breaking through the middle management ceiling and becoming senior managers is not easy for many Administrators. These hardworking reliable people are often frustrated and disappointed when colleagues are promoted over them. They feel left behind and undervalued. This is not good for morale or the overall success of the company. 

 

So, what are Administrators doing wrong?

Let’s take a closer look at the drawbacks of being so efficient. While Administrators are great at developing ways to run projects efficiently and on time, many exceed expected results, they lack flexibility. When projects suffer setbacks they find it difficult to reassess and change their fixed plans. In truth, many Administrators are too rigid and controlling. They also lack the wider vision to see beyond what is on their desk right now. They don’t seem to be interested in what else is going on in the company either. 

Are you an Administrator desperate for a promotion? If you answered ‘yes’ there is good news. Combine your natural instincts and strengths, and build on those aspects of your managerial style which are lacking. 

These might be developing and practicing skills such as brainstorming, team-building, and improvising. Spend a little less energy on organization and processes, and more on team building and support.

You need to be seen as a well-rounded manager that is flexible, approachable and someone who is ready to handle the unpredictability of any corporate environment.

There is no reason why that next promotion shouldn’t be yours. We all know you have the skills to do the job properly. All you have to do is show your bosses that you can do it, and that you are flexible. Develop those others skills that you see in senior managers and the next time a promotion opportunity comes up, it’ll be all yours.

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

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Are You An Entrepreneur? Then it’s Time to Curtail Those Ideas

Every office and every company needs at least one good Entrepreneur. These are the people who come up with new and inspirational ideas. They are passionate and innovative about what they do. They seem to have their corporate development career path set out clearly in front of them – or do they?

Entrepreneurs are always busy working out new and interesting solutions to challenges faced within the company. They help move the company forward, taking someone else’s ideas and generating interesting projects in the blink of an eye.

Entrepreneurs are naturally admired and valued. The minute they embark on their corporate development career path, they are constantly busy figuring out ways for their company to innovate and expand. And they excitedly jump into new areas, taking their teams on journeys to novel and exciting levels.

Being an Entrepreneur is a gift, and all of those ‘out of the box’ solutions generate an exciting and unique working environment for everyone in the office. 

Are you the Entrepreneur in your office? Are you the one who comes up with new and exciting ideas, which lead the company towards a greater profit line?

If you identify as being the Entrepreneur there is no doubt that you have already experienced success in your career. You may have been quickly promoted over others at a young age, and you are perhaps the go-to person when it comes to solving tricky aspects of projects or ventures.

Other time, however, you may have noticed that your career has stalled. You may have applied for several promotions inside your company and been disappointed because you didn’t get them.

You may also be confused as to why. You are hardworking and dedicated. You know the company inside and out, and have proven experience that should suit a senior manager’s position. Or do you?

One thing that Entrepreneurs are not good at is dealing with the practical day to day tasks. Many Entrepreneurs have failed to learn about the less creative sides of management. They are not good at understanding the approval processes, budget allocations, and resource development, for example. They are great at coming up with ideas, but not actioning them through to a successful conclusion. As well, many of the ideas generated weren’t successful because they weren’t practical, and yet after years in the position the Entrepreneur hasn’t recognized that.

 

Without a thorough understanding of this less glamorous side of office procedures an Entrepreneur simply can’t get ahead and advance their career.

 

So, what can you do?

Ensure that you spend an hour or two each day following through your ideas and creative plans. Create a flowchart or Excel doc that helps you keep on track. One which identifies each step of the creative process from the first idea right through to when the project is completed. Make sure each step is dated too. This will give you a clear understanding of how long the process takes. Also, make sure you note who else was involved so you know who to work with in the future.

As well, learn more about the administrative side of your managerial role. If your creative ideas need funding, for example, find out how that process takes place. Who is involved and why some projects are a success and others are not.

Being a well-rounded Entrepreneur is going to help your career to succeed and grow. You are going to gain more knowledge and experience, and these will be seen in a positive light when you do apply for that next promotion.

Being an Entrepreneur is a valuable gift that only you fully understand. Your bosses need you to always be at your creative best. They also need you to demonstrate your capabilities and learn each and every aspect of the job. Stepping outside your comfort zone and doing things that might seem mundane or even boring may not seem like fun in the short term, but they will pay off and you will soon find yourself climbing the corporate ladder.

 

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

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4 Ways You Can Get Promoted Over a Co-Worker

Competing with a co-worker for a promotion is never easy. There are many challenges that you will have to face. It can be nerve-wracking and you may feel that the eyes of the entire company are focused on you. Of course, that means if you make a mistake and don’t get the promotion everyone will know it, and that can be embarrassing.

It is for these reasons that many people shy away from applying for a promotion because their skills and experiences are pitted against their co-workers, and that’s understandable. When pursuing their corporate development career path some people lose hope and give up.

But what if I told you there was a way to apply for a promotion, handle it like a pro, and improve your chances of getting it improving your corporate development career path?

Let’s have a look at these 4 steps to getting promoted over your co-worker:

 

1. Explore the Job’s Requirements

You’ve got the job description sitting on your desk, and you think there aren’t any surprises. After all, you know the company well and understand what is required … or do you?

Let’s take a closer look at the list of experiences or qualities that an ideal candidate needs. 

All job descriptions catalog the technical skills and competencies needed to fulfil the role. For example, “be able to work in a challenging environment” maybe listed. It might also say that the successful candidate must be experienced using a whole suite of software programs.

However, if you delve in a little more you will may find that there are certain things missing. These gaps are important to know if you are going to get the promotion.

Let me explain: It doesn’t matter how competent a person might be at using software if they don’t have great interpersonal skills and are able to inspire and manage a team well.

Studying the job description and looking for what is missing, then ensuring that your application addresses them is a sure-fired way to give you the competitive edge.

 

2. Look at Your Co-Worker as Your Competitor

When looking at your co-worker in a different light it is important not to build up feelings of resentment. Sometime competition can bring out the worst in people’s attitudes, and they end up making enemies.

Let’s approach this step in a more generous mindset rather than a small minded one. That way, if you don’t get the promotion and they do you won’t have made an enemy in a senior position. Alternatively, if you do get the promotion and they don’t, it might be likely that you will still need their cooperation to do your job properly.

Start making notes about each co-worker who is going for the position. List what advantages they have over you, and also their weaknesses. Once you have done this you should know what areas you are at a greater advantage? You’ll also have a clearer picture of what areas you need to improve. Look at ways you can highlight your advantages on your application so they outshine your disadvantages.

 

3. Compile Your Research

Now that you have information about the position and you have got to know your competitors, it is time to put all of this information together in a chart.

The chart should list both the formal and informal job requirements, as well as, how you size up to your competition on every requirement. It should also include a breakdown of the job description which should be used as a reference point.

Spend some time studying the chart thoroughly. Make sure you haven’t left anything out or put too much emphasize on one thing and not another. Go back to the job description and read it again with this fresh information in front of you.

 

4. Build Your Strategy

Approach the job application process like you would any other important project. Break the process into stages and build a strategy around each step to ensure that you put yourself in the best light possible.

Once you have updated and re-formatted your resume, it’s time to look at how you are going to approach the interview process.

To make sure you stand out as the better prospect over your co-workers you are going to have to use specific examples to highlight the advantages you have over them. This might be about quoting increases in sales or how successful your projects were.

In this way, you differentiate yourself from the competitor by offering information that is unexpected, yet can definitely be a game changer.

 

Summary

Now that you have read through this article it is time to start preparing for your next promotion. Don’t wait until the promotion is announced. Start planning it now.

Competing with an internal candidate has its challenges, but being successful is not possible. If you follow these four steps, you’ll still be able to show that you are the best candidate for the promotion.

Good luck!

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born. 

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Are You Honestly Listening to Constructive Feedback?

No matter where you sit in your company’s hierarchy, there are always going to be drawbacks. You might be the best manager your team has, and you might be so successful you have become relaxed and at ease with your achievements.
Being successful was your dream and your goal. It is something you have worked really hard at for a long time, and you deserve all the accolades you can get. You may feel that you know how to measure success at work because you are kicking goals in so many areas.
You have been educated to work hard and to get ahead in your career. To be the best you’ve got to be good at what you do. This is what you’ve been working towards your whole career, paving the path to the top, bit-by-bit. Excelling at your job is essential for becoming the type of manager your organization would consider for future promotions. 


It’s understandable that you have been caught up in your achievements, and enjoying all that success entails. You have probably received awards, bonuses and those regular pats on the back that we all cherish. Receiving confirmation that you are doing your job well is something all managers crave, but there is one thing you need to remember. It can be tricky knowing how to measure success at work, but it is not impossible.


Getting the encouragement you need is only a confirmation that you are doing your job well. It is not an indication that you are ready for promotion and ready to take on a senior position.
However, with great success comes complacencies and these can lead to many successful managers not listening to constructive feedback. So, what does it matter, I hear you ask? Well, becoming complacent is a good way to ensure you never get promoted.


I know it sounds crazy, but let me explain.
A huge number of successful managers don’t achieve their goals of promotion despite of how successful they are. In fact, you’ll be surprised to learn that 72% of managers just like you are not promoted because they are so successful.


Take Time to Reflect On Your Existing Skills and Talents

It is worthy making some time to reflect on your skills and talents. These have got you to the great position you are in now, but are they enough to ensure that you get that promotion you have always wanted?
Once you have made a list, look at it and consider are they good enough for a senior position? 
Now, this is the time you’ll need to be honest with yourself and speak to someone in your company you trust. If they offer constructive feedback, take it and work with it.
Don’t become defensive or shrug it off. So many managers do this, and it is costing them a promotion.


Make Sure You Listen

When asking for constructive feedback don’t react in a personal way. Do you think those in the company above you did that? It’s highly unlikely. Successful senior managers are the type of people who are somewhat thick-skinned and don’t take criticisms personally.
Instead, they listen carefully and attentively to each and everything which is relayed to them. Then they do one important thing: they act and change. 
Do you need to put in more hours? Do you need to ensure some members of your team are working at their best? Are the times you dropped the ball and the project stalled or worse, halted in its progress?
More importantly, what could you done differently and what would you do again in the future?


Using Constructive Criticism as Part of Your Plans for Promotion

Now that you have made some notes about where you need to make improvements you need to use that feedback to make sure you are promotion material. You need to change how you do your job and ensure that your senior managers observe those changes.
In truth, you are going to have to change your mindset and start asking yourself some important questions.
Here are some you might consider:
Sure, I received a bonus for xyz job, but what would my senior manager done better?
I know all the ins and outs of the database, but do I understand how it fits in with the overall software system?
My team is one of the most productive in the company, am I supporting them in all the ways I can?

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, it’s not the end of the world or your career for that matter. What’s important is that from now on, you work on using constructive feedback to ensure that your career excels further than it already has and that you can achieve the promotion you deserve.

 

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

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5 Tips to Ensure You Never Get Stuck in Your Career

Regardless of who you are or where you work you never want to get stuck in your career. Developing a corporate development career path is essential for your wellbeing and future career prospects. This can only be done by identifying why some managers never get promoted, and are doing the same thing year in, year out and why others are promoted above them.
As well, you may wonder why you are being told to wait just a bit longer for your own corporate development career path and what you have done to create this opinion. You have worked hard and been dedicated to the success of each and every project you’ve worked on. You have built up your department successfully and you are well liked. 

So, what is going on? What have you done wrong? And, should you be worried? Yes, but read on. There are the top 5 reasons why mid-level managers like you are stuck in your career. Read through them below and start making plans to change your career path today.

 

1. There Are Limited Places at The Top

All company positions can be viewed like a pyramid. Sure, there are plenty of chances for career advancement at the bottom. Even mid-way up the pyramid there are positions that you have applied for and received. However, close to the top the career advancement opportunities begin to become less and less as the pyramid becomes narrower. 
This makes sense, but it doesn’t have to mean that you are one of those middle managers who never improve their career. 
Let’s face it, you were good enough to be promoted from a junior role to a mid-level one. The pyramid was still wide at that lower level and the competition was not quite as tough. There seemed to be more opportunities along your corporate development career path, but not anymore.

You need to move up and find a way to do so using your existing skills and new ones you are going to research and build on. This will ensure that when senior management are scanning through prospective candidates your name is going to appear front and center.

 

2. Stand Out from Your Competition

Some people are driven from day one to succeed and do well. They never take anything for granted and know from the day they begin at a junior level that it is only going to be temporary. They are on the way up, and they know it.

You need to develop the same career goals and you need to compete harder. In truth, it’s not enough to do a good job or even an excellent job. You have to figure out how to compete with other mid-level managers by showing that you have the skills and expertise they don’t, and showcasing them to your colleagues and senior managers.

To gain the next promotion it is essential that you stand out in the crowd and get noticed. Doing your job well is not enough. You need to find out how the company works, what the company prizes in senior managers, and become that one person it is looking for.

 

3. Understand That You Need to Lift Your Game to be a Senior Manager

Often juniors are promoted despite their weaknesses. Their limited skills are recognized, as are their talents and achievements. Their flaws are also noted, but senior managers figure these would be worked out and eliminated in a mid-level manager position.

This might ring true for you and the stage your career is at now. However, if you take the time to study the skills and expertise of the senior managers above you, you will find that they have grown and developed well beyond their former junior selves.

When you apply for a position as a senior manager you will be scrutinized from head to toe. As the pyramid narrows there is no room for anyone to make mistakes or carry their flaws like baggage. Those in charge of promotions are, for the most part, unwilling to compromise, and why should they?

Make sure that you have developed what it takes to be a senior manager. This may take time to learn thoroughly, but look at it as an investment which will ultimately give you the career advancement you so desire.

 

4. Demonstrate That You Are a Well-Rounded Manager

If you’ve been in your present position for some time you may not have realized that the rules have changed. You may not know anymore what is truly required for a promotion, and that what defines you as “professional” has changed.

There is no doubt that you are good at what you do. You might be the best sales manager or the most innovative programmer, and this has got you to where you are today. But, is it enough? 

To move up the ladder you’ll need to add sophisticated managerial skills to your portfolio. What helped you in the past has become less important, and while you were busy doing your job the goal posts have been shifted and your skills are no longer relevant or applicable for senior positions or they are lacking in some way.

Demonstrating that you’re a well-rounded manager is the most important thing you can do now. You need to focus on and refine your management skills and show that you’re worthy of being a senior manager. 

 

5. Never Stop Striving to Be Better at Your Job

The last thing any successful manager has done is rest on their laurels. While it is okay to pat yourself on the back and appreciate how far you have come, it is important that you keep striving towards your next career advancement.

So far your talents and achievements have served you well. You have been noticed in your company and been promoted to where you are now. It would be tempting to sit back and take a career break, but don’t. If you do this you will find yourself being ignored and even taken for granted. Your senior managers will not promote you because you were good in the past. They want to see how you are taking the initiative and growing and developing your career on your own. 

Managers who do not take a proactive part in shaping their career fall into career coma, never to wake up again to new opportunities. 

It is important that you don’t wait for someone to shake you out of your comfort zone. Find ways to actively take charge of your career path. Let’s face it, your next promotion is all up to you. No one is going to help you get out of a rut. Embrace the new challenges that lie ahead and that next promotion will be yours. 

 

And always remember:

Great managers are made. Not born.

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