GUIDANCE FOR MOVING UP THE LADDER
In the course of a career, the middle rungs of the corporate ladder can feel like a black hole, especially as job opportunities thin at higher levels. But, according to an article published by The Wall Street Journal, managers can rise from the middle, provided they think and act like the leaders above them.
Here from the article is some guidance on the topic from human resources consultant Mary Ann Gontin, who conducts leadership training for midlevel managers:
Think big. Top executives are attracted to “people who lift their heads up from their desks” and understand the impact their assignments might have on other departments – not just their own teams.
Ask for input. Before taking on a new project, go to your boss for suggestions as to which other leaders in the company should be kept in the loop, a move that shows you are thinking about the wider organization and avoiding political dust-ups. Doing so also assures an insecure boss that you aren’t going over their head.
Communicate. Figure out how people up and down the chain prefer to hear from you, be it e-mail, in-person check-ins, or data-heavy summaries. Not sure what approach to take? Just ask, Gontin advised.
Give credit where it is due. Leading a successful project doesn’t mean hogging all the kudos. You should feel confident enough to publicly praise staff, and even bring them along for debriefing sessions with senior executives. To higher-ups, you’ll come across as a team player, not a control freak.
Take control of meetings. Have an agenda and clear expectations when running meetings, and be “obsessive” about the schedule. Should things veer off-course, acknowledge the new topic and promise to return to it later.
Step up. Tenure isn’t enough to land a promotion. Volunteer for big projects, mentor junior staffers—anything that shows you can handle the duties of the next big job. “Most people are already doing the job by the time they get promoted,” Gontin said.
Take stock. Review your résumé annually. If there is nothing substantial to add, then volunteer for more projects or sign up for professional development.
Be realistic. Even outstanding middle managers aren’t guaranteed promotions. If the upper levels of your organization are packed with 40-somethings decades from retirement, start looking elsewhere, Gontin advised.
Ask for a Berman Larson Kane Assessment. Have a senior member of our staff review you plan, accomplishments and career progression and potential.