5 Behaviors That Keep You From Getting Promoted

I run into them in every company I work with. Solid managers with real contributions. They work hard, they’re incredibly loyal, and they’ve been on the succession planning list forever. Much of the time they even have an MBA…AND they’re stuck. The promotions come and go. They’ve heard the pep talk so many times they can recite it in their sleep.

5 Behaviors That Keep You From Getting Promoted

Of course, there’s no easy way to know what’s holding any individual back. But I’ve done enough diagnosing, supporting, and helping to transform careers over the years that I’ve seen some consistent patterns. Don’t get stuck in these common traps.

  1. Relentless Self Promotion
    The minute people begin to think you’re more interested in your career than the organization’s mission you’re sunk. Do great work, find a sponsor, and stop tooting your own horn.
  2. Non Stop Energy
    Everyone loves a go-getter, do-it-all-fast kind of guy–at the frontline and middle manager level. But the time I spend in the C-Suites across a variety of industries reinforces what I’ve believed for a long time. Energy and intensity are great, but if you want to play with the big guys project an aura of calm, cool-headed control.
  3. Keeping Your Head Down
    You’re so focused on your team and your team’s results you miss the bigger picture. Work on strengthening your peripheral vision.
  4. Competing With Peers
    Real leadership takes more than being consistently at the top of the stack rank. Winning Well leaders know the important balance of results AND relationships. If it’s unlikely your peers will want to crack open some bubbly with you when you get that big promotion, chances are you may never get the chance to know.
  5. Inability to Let it Go
    Tenacity is one thing. But as they say, when the horse is dead, get off. Sometimes the answer is no, and you need to let it go. Winning Well leaders learn when to keep trying and when it’s time to move on (at least for the time being).

The Inspiration For This Post

One of my favorite clients has been using my Results That Last: 7 Roles Every Manager Must Master  program as the foundation for his mentoring circle work. Each week, they go through one module together, discuss the content and tools, and then they each go off and do the exercise with their teams before meeting again to review the next module.

Sometimes he brings in internal executives as guest speakers who are particularly good in the role they will be discussing that day. He’s also doing the 360 degree feedback tool twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of the program. I love the approach, and he’s seen a significant lift in business metrics. (If you want to learn more how you can use the course in this way, or other creative approaches, please call me on 443.750.1249.)

 As various questions comes up, he’s been batting them my way for additional perspective. I was intrigued by the one that came up last week.

 If we were coaching a person that has been a supervisor or leader for 10 plus years … What has held them back?  What characteristics have they been missing or overlooked? What haven’t they done that others have?  (The road map is not paved or golden? Or is it?)

More about my online courses can transform your results

A Groundhogs Day Blessing or Curse?

My parents have a wonderful Groundhogs Day tradition. That’s when they celebrate their love with snuggly stuff and romantic gestures. Somehow, early on, they preempted Valentines Day, and it stuck. Hey, it was the 60s, who needs Hallmark when you have a groundhog? This rodent continues to inspire.

As for me, somehow each Groundhogs Day, I wake up with the curse of contemplation not of love and romance but of which areas of my life I have become more like Phil Madden (played by Bill Murray, in the 1993 classic, Groundhog Day.)

Phil is cursed to live the same day over and over (if you don’t know the movie click here and for goodness sake, rent it) until he finally recognizes the patterns, looks deeply into his own behaviors, and changes his approach.

A curse can become a blessing.

How many times have your heard someone say, “this feels like Groundhogs day?”

We all get stuck. We get stuck in patterns, in behaviors, in outdated beliefs about ourselves and others, in jobs.

A Few Groundhogs Day Examples

I ran into a once young guy (no longer so young) who worked for me years ago.

“What are you doing these days?,” I asked eager to hear about what he had become and what he was learning.
“Oh, I’m still doing exactly the same thing.”
I was shocked and saddened.

This was a bright kid, full of energy, ideas, a great team player. Why had he gotten stuck in that job? Why hadn’t anyone continued asking/encouraging (okay pushing) him to accomplish his potential? Who else was left behind in this same organization?

And then. I talked to an old friend. She shared,

“I finally figured out that I keep repeating the same patterns, both in dating and in looking for jobs. I have this perfect list of what I think I want. I go after him or the job full tilt. I attract the guy, I get the job, and then I realize it’s not really what I want. I break up with the guy . I begin looking for a new job. I’ve got to find a way to interrupt that pattern.”

Another friend’s Christmas card read “nothing much new has happened for me this year, but I guess that’s the way it is at this age (see It’s Never Too Late to Grow Great)”

Breaking Your Groundhogs Day Patterns

So today.

I wish upon you my Groundhogs Day Curse.

I hope you wake up tomorrow looking at your own shadows.

Where would you interrupt?

Is it time to smash the alarm clock?

  • What patterns do you keep repeating?
  • What routines do you wish you could change?
  • Where is your team stuck?
  • What processes and rituals no longer serve your vision?
  • What if you interrupted the patterns?

The first step to getting unstuck is recognizing the patterns.

Of course, if you chose February 2 as your day of romance that sounds good too.

A worthy tradition.