Written by: David Rubalcava
What do you mean I didn’t get the job? I’ve been with the company for years, and I deserve a leadership role! Most leaders experience this at some point in their career. The feeling of being passed up on the promotion ladder hurts. It’s often discouraging, demoralizing, and frustrating. Finding out what happened may never materialize with your boss. We are left wondering why the other candidate got the job. That’s why becoming extremely objective about your performance is critical for growth. Understanding what’s holding you back is the foundation for initiating change in your career. Build success based on learning from past failures and applying them to future decisions. If you find yourself exhibiting any of behavior below, you may have closed your own doors. But like all doors, they can be opened if you have the key!
1. Negative Attitude: The only thing you can control in life is your attitude.
Attitude makes a huge difference. Let’s be honest nobody wants to work with someone who continually complains, discourages others, and criticizes everything management does. If this happens while you’re an entry-level employee, this will carry over into leadership roles. Have you ever worked for a leader who constantly complained about their workload and seemed angry all the time? Did they inspire you? Of course not. Being positive is a choice. Most of the time inspirational leaders are dealing with adversity, but they choose to focus on solutions instead of frustrations. Choose your attitude wisely. Everyone is watching. Remember, if this was your business would you be OK with having employees with poor attitudes daily? No way. Lead by example.
2. Lack of Passion: Believing in what you do keeps you energized
Showing a lack of passion, boredom, or just clocking in for a paycheck isn’t going to impress your supervisor. It makes you easily forgettable. If you lost passion for the job, ask yourself why? In many cases, it could be self-motivation, work environment, or training. Candidates who lack passion will have a difficult time inspiring others to be successful. Passion for your self-growth keeps one grounded and focused. Every day you must ask yourself, “was I successful today and what could I have done better?” Passion will become the sole driving force during hard times in your career. No one said you have to be passionate about every aspect of your job but accelerate in areas you do. Passion is contagious. You must work at it daily.
3. Unwilling to do more. “It’s not my job.”: The death blow to any career advancement
Nothing says “I’m not a team player” more than this infamous quote. In the real world, promotions are almost like lateral moves. You must first prove your readiness for it. Taking on more responsibilities, projects, and developing others demonstrates your ability to handle a leadership role. Because guess what future leader, that’s exactly what you would be expected to do in a leadership role. The title and money come later, hence the “lateral move.” Think of it as trying to get a credit card with no credit history. Almost impossible right? The same applies for becoming a leader. You must gain experience and confidence in decision-making at a high level. As you progress and deliver a history of results, your supervisor’s trust in you grows. Many promotions occur because a candidate demonstrated their ability while filling in for their direct supervisor. You must prove you belong in the arena.
4. Poor Will Set: Do whatever it takes.
Do you stay when your leader truly needs you? Are you willing to work long nights or weekends? If not, you will get passed by plain and simple. The powers that be are looking for those who can be “trusted” with the responsibility of making results happen. Having a great work ethic will come into play. So if you are not willing to demonstrate commitment now, no amount of pay increase will buy it later. Do what’s right for the organization even if it cuts into your personal life occasionally. The rewards down the road far outweigh being a few hours late for a dinner date.
5. Mediocre Skill Set: Be great at what you currently do.
Being mediocre at your current role is a surefire way to keep you there. Only the top performer in their departments typically get promoted. When you are confident about your operational knowledge, theoretically you have the experience to develop others to obtain similar results. Challenge yourself to learn as much as possible in your current role and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Does any of the above sound familiar? Let’s be honest it’s easier to be negative, complain, and be uncommitted at the workplace. But the reality is employees never advance within their organization because of it. Many times employees are “waiting” for their opportunity versus actively working toward proving why one deserves the position. If two or more of the behaviors are being exhibited, then something has to change, or you will never achieve your goal to move up. Getting to a leadership role takes effort, patience, and objectivity about one’s performance.
Success is based on removing obstacles, and unfortunately, you may be creating your own. Harness your energy around the areas you struggle. Something amazing happens when we narrow our focus and tell ourselves “I’m going to change.” Be honest with yourself. Ask a peer, supervisor, or friend for feedback if you are unsure which areas you are struggling. Ask your supervisor for feedback periodically and don’t take the feedback personally. Be prepared to learn their perception of your overall performance. Growing is rarely a comfortable feeling. Change your behavior and you will change your career. The key to success is learning from your mistakes, eating some humble pie, shaking if off, and passionately choosing to fix what’s holding you back. You are the key to your success. Believe in yourself and always stay positive in the most difficult times. Now get up and open your own doors!