Managing Your Next Promotion
As a manager you need to be spending your time on four things - managing your superiors, managing your subordinates, and managing your peers (the fourth thing is the punch line at the end of this post).
We frequently hear the notion that you are only as strong as your team. There's another dimension that we don't hear much about - that it is, managing your peers.
I believe how you manage your peers is more important than how you manage your subordinates. Your peers can have more impact on career progress than subordinates. Think about it. Your boss makes the promotion decision. The boss's decision is based on many factors - performance, values, leadership, potential, and the actions of your peers. Your peers have access to your boss, more so than your subordinates. The candidates for promotion are your peers and they can take you down in several ways - they work harder or smarter than you do, they achieve more than you do, or they may be more political than you. This later attribute is a killer - playing office politics.
The game of office politics comes in many forms - hanging out with the boss after hours, volunteering for the jobs no one else wants, and sometimes flat out sabotage. It is the latter event that often hurts the most - watch out for the backstabbers - they can be oh so subtle. It happens right before your eyes, without you even noticing it.
Now how should you handle your peers? Spend time with them. Work with them. Build a spirit of cooperation. I see it too many times - we tend to focus solely on our own fiefdom. Think across the enterprise. Eliminate the stovepipes. Collaborate. Your boss wants collaboration. If you learn to work with your peers, your boss will notice and appreciate the outcome.
And one other thing - collaborate outside the enterprise. This one action may be the discriminator - your peers often are so busy focused on the internals that they overlook the externals. It happens all the time. There are far more great ideas outside the company than inside. Seek out these external ideas. Cultivate them and figure out how to bring them into the company. When you collaborate both across the enterprise and outside the enterprise, you will succeed and more than likely get that next promotion.
The Sacramento Executive