Getting overlooked for promotion and watching others progress around you can be soul destroying. It can leave you feeling disheartened and for some, with a bruised ego.
Another year of hard slog lies ahead and you are unsure of what to do now to progress your career. The lifestyle you aspire to appears even further away. Before we look at the reasons that have stopped you from getting that promotion, let’s check in with why you want it.
Let’s start at the beginning: why do you want to progress and what will that promotion give you?
It’s important to take the time to think about these questions so that you enter into a mindset that motivates you to perform at your best so that you get noticed and promoted.
In my experience, promotion represents both personal growth and continual professional development. It has been an indication that I’m progressing in my career and getting recognition from others, which further boosts my confidence. Although, it wasn’t always easy and at times my self-confidence took a dive. I recognised the importance of continually developing my skills and experience and taking stock of my accomplishments along the way.
Getting promoted enabled me to have a greater influence at a senior level and in my area of expertise. Getting promoted enabled me to live a different lifestyle – to save a deposit for a flat, to own my first car, and to travel the world and have many memorable adventures. These results didn’t happen overnight. I worked hard and I studied hard at the same time for years at a time. However overnight I was given an office and a new title. The next day my seniors became my peers and my peers became my assistants. This was tough and I felt uncomfortable. I needed to find a new way of working together effectively. I learned to adapt my communication style and develop and sustain a new and broader set of relationships.
Getting promoted, and having the money and confidence to live the fulfilled life I want to live, enabled me to set up my own business after I’d started my family and be the Mum I want to be.
From my own experience, coupled with the last 15 years’ experience working as an executive coach with 100s of individuals who wanted to progress their career, from team leader to Director and beyond, I have developed a framework to support you progress your career more easily and in less time overcoming the 5 most common reasons stopping you from getting promoted. In this blog post, you will discover these 5 most common reasons holding you back:
1) Lack of Self-Belief
If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. So what might be knocking your confidence? It may be that you have some deep-seated assumptions, for example, several years ago someone might have said to you: “you haven’t got what it takes,” or “you don’t have the right skills to be a leader.” If you continue to live with these criticisms and assumptions in your mind, it will stop you believing in yourself. These kinds of negative comments can take years for us to get over.
Alternatively, even though you have the experience, capabilities and your boss says you’re ready, there may still be that niggle and you assume you’re not ready. In this situation, you’re not adopting a mindset for growth, which allows you to believe that you have the capacity to continually learn, develop from mistakes and have the inner strength to deal with what comes your way.
You need to challenge limiting assumptions and create more liberating ones to gain self-belief so that you don’t get overlooked for promotion.
2) Inability to Manage Emotions
There are going to be times when you feel frustrated or upset at work.
You might feel angry or moved to tears – after all, we are human beings! But if you want to be considered a potential leader, you need to learn how to manage your emotions appropriately.
For example, you’re in a meeting which is going badly and suddenly your stomach might churn, your throat feels tight and you begin to fume and say something which comes across as emotive and angry. You’re seen by others as somebody who speaks before they think or who sees red quickly.
Alternatively, you don’t feel like you’ve been heard. You become frustrated because you feel sidelined or that others don’t understand you. You burst into tears through frustration and are then embarrassed. Others don’t know how to respond and an uncomfortable silence emerges. Someone breaks the silence and suggests moving on or worse still changes the topic. You feel undermined but also disappointed in letting yourself down.
You need to manage your emotions to communicate to others that you can be relied on to be in control. That you are mature enough to tolerate what emerges from a situation or conversation and deal appropriately with your own response. Managing your emotions is key to being on the radar for promotion.
3) Not Listening!
It is easy for us to quickly blame others for not listening and yet, you may overlook your own capacity to listen – to truly listen.
How do you feel when you’re not listened to – when the other person is simply waiting to speak? Pretty awful, because it’s really important for us to be heard and feel that we matter.
Often in today’s increasing complex and competitive environment, which reflects a lack of time, people want immediate results. They think that the best way to do that is to talk over others and move forward quickly without really listening. This leaves people feeling undervalued and isolated.
When you listen to make a diagnosis or to form your own reply, you are not really listening to the other person. You’re not listening to what is important to them, their expectations and what they want from you. Not listening can be expensive. Others may have joined your organisation, but they will leave you if they don’t feel you have listened to them. Equally, you may miss out on securing a new contract having not listened sufficiently to what your clients or customers want.
You need to develop the habit of listening to understand and generate the thoughts of others, rather than simply proving yourself right. This brings us nicely on to the next point that senior leaders are looking to promote those who can develop the talent around them.
4) Lack Capacity to Bring Others With You
Today, organisations promote individuals who can develop the talent around them.
The problem is that you have not provided sufficient clarity for others. They are unclear of where you and they are heading, how they are going to get there, what is expected of them and what they can expect from you.
It may be that you have an inspiring vision, which you’re excited and passionate about. You communicate your vision by taking your team members up the motorway in the fast lane. However, they’re on the B road, some might even be under-performers, and they haven’t caught up with you yet. They are left feeling confused and disengaged.
Or you are behaving passively and allow people to railroad you. You readily accept that others will change or reject your thoughts and ideas. Your team members are left feeling uninspired and a lack of respect for you.
Neither way of communicating will engage others to follow you. You will need to adapt your communication style to appeal to others so that you lead at your best, in order to get the best from others to ensure you don’t get overlooked for promotion.
5) Inability to Develop and Sustain Relationships
Without trusted relationships, you are not going to achieve results. Failing to invest your time and effort in developing and sustaining relationships will leave you feeling isolated, unsupported and stagnated. Overlooking the capacity to trust others and be trustworthy will cost you: losing out on new assignments, failing to win new clients or being overlooked for a key project.
Strong relationships based on trust and mutual respect are the foundations for achieving results. Such relationships create possibilities. When you have possibilities you can create opportunities and once you have an opportunity laid in front of you, you can take action. And once you’ve taken that action you can benefit from the results.
You need to invest time and effort in others so that you have a strong network both inside and outside of your organisation to provide you with support, mentoring and new opportunities to achieve the promotion you dreamed of.
The Solutions to Progressing Your Career
Overcoming these five challenges to getting promoted will not only enable you to develop professionally but also you’ll benefit personally so that you can live the life you want for yourself!
Stay with me. Over the course of the coming days, I will share with you the five solutions that will help you progress your career through my free online training videos. Start now and get your first two solutions here: