Thursday 27 January 2011

Why Aren't You Progressing At Work?

 Hello Jon,

So you're not progressing at work and you're bored and disheartened.

Work takes up nearly half our waking lives and so being in a job where your contribution isn't recognised nor rewarded is a waste of life, and the bleed-over affects of being unhappy at work often pollute your personal life when you get home. So this is an issue well worth sorting out.

I help lots of clients in this position and though each case is unique, there are common themes and so you may find the information below useful in your own case.

Firstly, understand who the decision makers are - the people who decide who progresses when and by how much. Know them specifically - not generically; their names and company positions. Often it's your boss, but often it isn't, though it looks that way.

Second get specific about what you want. If you want a raise - how much? If you want a promotion - to what? More responsibility? Spell it out by writing it down.

Thirdly, where possible, take your wants to your decision-maker(s) and ask them how you might get those specific things you want. Be ready to listen openly to the answers, even if they're difficult to hear.

Those three steps alone can get you a long way, but they often don't because the prospect of asking a manager for honest feedback seems daunting, and because our egos make it difficult for us to accept negative feedback as truthful. But if you can cross both of those rivers, then you're into the promised land. Now all you have to do it execute the things you were told about.

Of course, in reality, that's far from simple. It's easy to say "raise your profile in meetings" but it's often very difficult to actually do it on a sustained basis. Similarly "take a more strategic view of things" is easier said than done, and these are the challenges I help people with. However, if you do the three steps you'll be well-placed to see the landscape more clearly.

Common failure mechanisms I see in clients are:

1. Complete disconnect between reality and their internal worlds. I help them to re-connect the two, providing a pathway into the real world, which is the only one they can succeed in

2. Failure to realise that you need to do your current job very well before you can even think about getting a bigger better job. We tale an honest look at their performance and the underlying beliefs which drive it. This is often break a log-jam, freeing them up to shine.

3. Acute discomfort with the prospect of tackling issues of promotion and pay rises with those in power. I can show them ways to make the unthinkable, happen relatively painlessly.

4. An habitual focus on lamenting the problem rather than on removing it. I'm there to re-align them, to keep them goal-focussed, upbeat and creative.

5. Reluctance to work really hard to get what they want. I remind them why they're working with me, polish their goals for them, and dissolve the negative motifs driving their reluctance to commit fully.

6. Pessimism and impatience. I can challenge their thinking, tactfully esposing the faulty reasoning at the root of all pessimism.

7. Tunnel thinking - a lack of creativity. I have a box of what I call "low tricks" to free up thinking in my clients, and it's fun.

Even without me on your team, I hope this short explanation will help you to see a way forward in your career.

Good Luck on your new journey to Greatness!Chris