Promotions. Most people want one (although perhaps not everybody) and many of us look forward to the new responsibilities and perks of the job we’ll have next. But how can we set ourselves up for success? (And once we’re promoted: what then?)
This week’s article roundup has some of the latest thinking and best articles on getting promoted and career success — from an article that itemizes the non-technical traits that many promotion committees are looking for — to what you should focus on learning once that promotion is in the bag.
This week also marks the fourth anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs, who blazed a brilliant career path that has been celebrated and examined many times. We include a piece that takes his “connect the dots” theory and makes it the basis for predicting career success. Then we end with a look at the future: career lessons for millennials, by millennials. Enjoy.
Are You Ready-to-Promote?
We start off with “Traits That Will Get You Hired or Promoted“ by emotional intelligence expert Harvey Deutschendorf for Fast Company. Deutschendorf focuses on soft skills that might not be as “trainable” as the technical aspects of a job, and are therefore highly sought after by hiring committees and review boards.
High on the list — no surprise here — is emotional intelligence: the quality that drives our self-awareness and how attuned we are to others. It’s the basis, Deutschendorf argues, for other desirable traits that leaders need, such as consideration, respect, efficiency — and the ability to be team players. Also on the list: never passing the buck and never walking past a problem you can solve.
Although these are soft skills, they are described with great clarity and are tied to specific business results. More than a listicle, this is a thought piece that can serve as a gut-check — especially if your have your eye on your next promotion opportunity.
The Opposite of the Peter Principle
Do high performers make good managers? The answer: It depends. Being good at their jobs doesn’t necessarily mean they have team-building and leadership muscles yet. On top of that, there’s another challenge: When a high performer becomes a manager, there’s the temptation for her to see her new team’s output and think, “I could have done that better myself!”
Resist the temptation to step in, says author Katy Tynan in her article for Harvard Business review. Although the urge might be strong, it’s the wrong move for a new manager.
Her article “Do You Have a Manager’s Mindset?” discusses making the leap from expert to manager and — as the title suggests — it’s all about cultivating a manager’s unique perspective. The process of abandoning old work habits and creating new ones is as much about your frame of reference, Tynan argues, as it is about skillsets and performance. Fortunately, she gives us her list of 5 mindset fundamentals to prioritize as managers.
In her list, Tynan deftly identifies the critical attributes of managers, such as being able to anticipate challenges and to form a cohesive plan from multiple moving parts. She then breaks them down into individual skills we can all cultivate and improve.
It’s a good read for all managers — whether you’re new to game or not. Not just for self-improvement only, it will also help you mentor your team and serve the bottom line. That makes it a win-win-win.
Are You a Builder or a Climber?
Nobody doubts the learning curve of a newly-minted manager, least of all Dan Bobinski, who provides leadership training to executives at Fortune 500 companies. The only question is: how steep is that curve?
In his article “So You’re a Manager. Now What?” Bobinski explains that while managers can take assessments that identify their individual management styles, there is a fundamental attribute, common to all managers, that may be the largest factor in determining how well we can lead: how we treat and interact with those around us.
Bobinski describes two extremes: Builders, who focus on creating powerful teams, and climbers, who find ways to use team effort for their own individual gain. Climbers tend to focus on numbers — putting profits above people — while builders do well at linking their team’s efforts to a company’s mission or department goals.
While we might not need to think too hard about how to categorize the leaders we work with, Bobinski asks us to turn our attention to ourselves. If you’re quick to dismiss the self-reflection, know this: climbers often lack self-awareness to an alarming degree, according to Bobinski, and tend not to see the ripple effects of their behavior.
Becoming builders, however, is open to all who are willing to learn. Have a read.
Predicting Career Success
What can we learn from Steve Jobs and his incredible career success? Plenty, says best selling author and syndicated columnist Michael Simmons, in his article for Medium “The No. 1 Predictor Of Career Success According To Network Science.”
Was it Jobs’ focus, creativity, or relentless drive that brought him success? Simmons says it’s more cultural — and less personal — than that: it was because Jobs placed himself in a large, open network of people from different industries and disciplines.
Open networks allow for more ideas to mingle — more “dots to connect,” as Jobs would say — and they challenge us by asking us to absorb and harmonize conflicting perspectives.
Simmons goes on to describe open networks and to provide numerous examples of how they can benefit your career (for instance, they can help you more accurately forecast events). He also presents Jobs’ unique perspective as to why operating in a closed network just doesn’t yield the same results.
Citing evidence from quantitative studies, Joseph Campbell, and even The Matrix, Simmons posits a compelling thesis, and one Jobs would undoubtedly agree with. It’s a fascinating read.
Career Lessons, Millennial Style
Many career advice books, notes journalist Liza Jansen, are written by those already comfortably settled in the C-Suite. But how well do they resonate with employees who are just starting out?
In her piece for Quartz, “Future Millennial CEOs: Keep These Career Lessons in Mind,” she highlights Francesco Marconi. While still in his twenties, he has been keeping an online career diary on Medium that has gone viral, especially with a younger audience of professionals.
Drawing from that diary, and other sources, Jansen pulls together 6 career principles — targeted especially at millennials — that will shape the success of the next generation of CEOs.
Taken together, these tips are definitely a different color parachute. One tip is to be aware of how much FOMO (the fear of missing out) drives what we say yes to, especially in the workplace — and how heavy use of social media can increase FOMO and scatter focus.
But this increased connectivity can also beget sources of inspiration that were unknown to career climbers of older generations. These global social feeds allow millennials to admire — and even interact with — people who model their ideal anywhere in the world.
The desire to make an impact hasn’t changed with time or technology, but how that gets done is changing, and so are the best practices for making that happen. Jansen puts her finger on the pulse of a new generation of leaders, and shows how they think about crafting their own success. Don’t miss it.
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