Wondering why you can't get promoted to a managerial position? One or more of these 10 common problems might be the reason why:
1. You don't look the part. It might seem superficial and unfair, but appearances really do count. You might get away with pushing your office's dress code to the limit, but it's probably impacting the way people perceive you and what opportunities you're offered.
2. You're terrible at time management. Managers need to keep track not only of their work, but also keep track of other people's too. If you can't stay on top of your own projects, your employer isn't likely to have faith that you'll be able to monitor the work of an entire team.
3. You aren't very good at tough conversations. A manager needs to have tough conversations, make decisions that may be unpopular, and enforce standards and consequences. If you shy away from difficult conversations--or the opposite, if you're too aggressive and confrontational in them--you likely won't be seen as manager material.
4. You gossip or are part of a clique. Managers need to be unbiased and objective--and not only that, they need to appear unbiased too. If you've already crossed professional boundaries within the office, it will be difficult to rebuild those lines as a manager.
5. You don't know how to prioritize. Managers need to look at a landscape of dozens of possible projects and identify the most important ones to spend time and resources on--and then stay focused on those goals without letting distractions intervene. If you already have trouble figuring out the best place to spend your time, the problems would only compound.
6. You act entitled. Entitlement from someone at a junior level is hard enough to deal with; entitlement in a manager is even worse. No employer wants to deal with a manager who thinks her department deserves a higher budget or more staff allocations than everyone else, or who tries to exempt herself from the policies and procedures that everyone else has to follow.
7. You don't manage your own boss well. The ability to manage upward gets more and more important as you move up the ladder. If you're not skilled at managing your relationship with your manager now--including communicating well, getting aligned on expectations, and getting her what she needs in the manner she prefers it--it's likely to hold you back from higher-level roles.
8. You're a complainer. Managers need to have the maturity and perspective to understand how policies that might be annoying still serve the larger good of the company. They also need the judgment to raise concerns professionally and through the correct channels, rather than sharing them with anyone who will listen.
9. You do your job duties and nothing else. Average work might satisfy the requirements of your current job, but it's not enough to get you promoted. Promotions go to people who go above and beyond the minimum and seek out ways to improve constantly.
10. You don't make your accomplishments visible. You might be doing a fantastic job, but if no one knows that, you won't be rewarded for it. So don't be shy about sharing accomplishments with your manager, whether it's rave reviews from a client or a tricky problem that you solved before it caused damage.
Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog, where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the co-author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results, and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development.
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