Promotion seekers: here's how to work on your weaknesses
Any middle manager will admit they have some weaknesses that might be keeping them from getting promoted. If you’ve been a middle manager for more than a few years, you’ve seen your share of co-workers getting promoted ahead of you - and deep down inside, you’ve probably understood why they were promoted and not you. This isn’t to say that all promotions are granted fairly. In fact, in over 35 years of assisting middle managers achieve their career dreams, I’ve seen quite a few undeserved promotions. But these aren’t the cases I want to address here. Today’s post is about dealing with the weaknesses you have that you feel might be preventing you from being promoted - one of the major factors affecting career development.
The first step in dealing with your weaknesses is to identify them. For example, while you might think that your biggest weakness is time management, it might not be perceived as such by your work environment. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not your (lack of) time management but the way you seem to initiate project after project without following through. And all of this time, you’ve been seeing this entrepreneurial spirit as one of your biggest advantages. So before you begin attacking your weaknesses, find out what they are from your environment's point of view. This is important to know, as it’s your company’s perception of you that will determine how far you go - one of the most important factors affecting career development.
Once you know your weaknesses, try to find out a core skill that you can acquire to improve the weakness. For example, if you’re seen as not thorough enough, then perhaps ask others to let you know when you’re getting off track. Such gentle reminders will help you stay on a manageable number of projects at one time, rather than skipping around, as you might be doing now.
If you’re struggling with a weakness, perhaps there’s something hidden within the weakness that you’re actually really good at. So if you’re known to jump around a lot, then perhaps it’s your creativity that’s triggering this. Creativity is an extremely valued skill in organizations and is generally unable to be learned. So instead of beating yourself for not following through with ideas, highlight the fact that you’re really good at generating them - offering added value to your organization.
And speaking of strengths, you don’t want to ignore them while trying to improve your weaknesses. Remember that you’ve gotten to where you are because of your strengths, so you want to continue nurturing and developing them. Oftentimes when you work on your strengths, you’re able to overshadow some of your weaknesses. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore your weaknesses - just don’t begin defining yourself according to them.
Trying to implement my advice can seem like a daunting task. Any way that you look at it, it’s really all about developing new habits. No new habit can be taken in one bit and successfully implemented. When you try to bite off more than you can chew, you’ll find yourself right where you began in no time. Instead, with each change you try to implement, take baby steps and build up the habit bit by bit. A new habit that’s been given a solid foundation is much more likely to survive than a habit that’s landed on you - and crushed you - out of nowhere.
If you take building good habits as a long-term project, your work environment will notice a significant change in you - and you’ll be on your way to the corner office sooner than you think.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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