Are you ready for the next level?
This is one buzz term that is overused – the next level! It is appropriate for what I want to challenge you on though. In HR I hear it all the time: people want to be promoted, selected for opportunities and recognized for a job well done. All those things are very important activities for companies to undertake: promote from within, grow, develop and recognize talent; however, there is a mindset of entitlement that has crept into the mix. Yes, entitlement.
People feel that for whatever reason, whether tenure, qualifications, age, gender or even nationality, they deserve to be pushed ahead. They can’t understand why they are bypassed because they haven’t really been honest about where they are. Here are my top three reasons why you may not be ready for that next level.
1. You don’t have a clear picture of where you see yourself in the future.
There are some people who are status chasers. They are after more money and status at all costs. Problem is, they don’t care what job they do to get it. Crazy, right? But some people will try for a higher post because of how it sounds or how much it pays, rather than if it fits into their long term career plans or skill set. When you get clear about your long-term plans, you can prepare yourself for them and opportunities will come.
2. You don’t have the skillset required for the new role.
This is a tough pill to swallow but I will offer it anyway. Just because you have a degree doesn’t make you qualified in its entirety for a particular position. Experience counts for something, as does skillset. Someone can be experienced and still not have certain skills required for a job. For instance, someone stopped me the other day, asking about a supervisory role they wanted because they were in that role now. I asked them what area they worked in now and if that’s the area they wanted to be in. They said no, they wanted to try something new. I asked what experience they had in the new area they wanted to try. They said no experience. So I asked, a little shocked, “How then can you supervise something you don’t know anything about?”
I see people that want to be made manager or senior manager who can barely send an email properly, conduct a meeting, create a proposal, or get along with others – all critical managerial skills.
3. Your interpersonal skills are horrible.
The school of management that says you don’t need to get along with people to get ahead is dead wrong. Yes, there are some that rule with an iron fist and feel that pounding people gets results. It gets compliance, but it doesn’t foster engagement, commitment or loyalty. One may say, “I don’t need all that; I need production.” My response to you is just review the latest studies. If engagement and connection are not your priority, I’m sure you have a disgruntled team with low morale, low productivity, high absenteeism, high turnover and a bad reputation in the employment market. People skills and relationship management are key to connecting with and inspiring not only your team but also your clients and customers.
A lot of people want to get ahead and that’s okay. I have my personal opinion about it because I believe once people have found their career niche and are happy about it, if they don’t aspire to management or ownership that’s perfectly fine. Just keep learning and growing in that area. If, though, you want more, you need to be ready for more. You need to understand what is required of that ‘next level’ – mentally, emotionally, physically, time wise, skill wise and more, so you can better prepare yourself to be noticed and promoted.
• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, personal development coach, mentor and activist who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals ‘live limitless’ by identifying purpose & vision, aligning to purpose through authenticity, and breaking free of limiting mindsets and practices. For comments, queries, strategic solutions and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.