Are you being overlooked for promotions and wondering why? If you are reaching a management role and do not have the best management skills I would advise you to get some coaching and training.
As you are too senior for your current role and lack the management skills for that next role, your career is in a precarious position. Your employer cannot promote you as you do not have the management skills and they need to create new opportunities. As long as your technical skills are needed your position is safe, but for how long, so I advise you to be prepared.
You will reach a stage in your career that you will be too senior or too expensive for your current role but not be good enough for that next role. No matter how good or specialised you are if your company cannot promote you because you have not demonstrated management potential or you do not have those management skills your career will have reached a plateau that could become very boring and demotivating.
The signs will be that you keep missing out on that promotion and you will be wondering why as you have the same amount of skills as the person who got the job. You will be wondering why that person got the job? What do they have that you don’t? The answers are not going to be obvious either. It could be better communications skills, they seem to get more out of their staff, they get better results, they write better reports, they are heard at meetings, they are popular, they are productive, they speak up more, they are high achieve. Some of the reasons are more obvious and it is easier to do something about, but the not so obvious reasons the so called “potential” is harder to ascertain. How do you know you have the potential for being a good manager, how do you become a good manager, do you have the leadership potential are you an inspiring person?
Not everyone is a natural leader or manager but these skills can be developed. You can pick up some management courses, learn how to delegate, how to manage others, how to write better, improve communication and organisation skills. But how you interact with others, how people respond to you, your superiors and subordinates this is more subtle and not as easy to learn in a course. It is those behavioural problems, those ingrained habits, those insecurities that need to be overcome and this can only be done with coaching.
Now you may just think it is simpler or easier to get a new job, it is not really all your fault anyway. It is your employers fault, the environments fault, the culture, the current company situation, the economy, the team, your boss, your subordinates, any of all of these. Yes this could be true, but there is a common denominator to all of these, and this is you. And you can only work on changing yourself, the good thing about this it that it will impact on all the other things. It will not be a wasted exercise as you will take yourself with you wherever you go. A new job will be just a short term fix, if you lack those skills, if you do not overcome those behavioural issues you will be in the same situation again and the more they get ingrained the harder it is to change. You might as well do something about it now, get that training and coaching, develop these skills in familiar territory it is easier.
If this does not motivate you to change, think of this. As you move higher and higher up the career ladder, there are less available positions and more available people, so the competition will become higher. You may be content in staying at this level, you are happy and comfortable, but the people around you may not, they may either want your job, or want someone that can teach them those management skills and if it is not you that will give you a hard time and things could get difficult. So you might as well develop those skills and if your employer is not willing to do it for you, do it yourself, it is your life – your career, you need to take responsibility and look after yourself. You may think it is just a job, but it affects everything you are because it is about YOU, and you take yourself wherever you go. So if you improve those behavioural skills it will impact your personal life as well. Your kids may listen to you more, you will have better relationships with your family and friends, life could be better.
In some circumstances getting coaching could be better if done externally. You will be able to speak more freely with someone that is not from your company. Which will help you to dig deeper and find out what needs to be worked on. Also you are just a client that they need to help, this is their job and your change and development is what motivates them. They will have not other agendas , unlike a person working in the same company their role is to look out for the company as well. You will also be more comfortable to explore your weaknesses and problematic behavior and to work through them to overcome them without worrying about who knows or may find out, so you will not need to hide it or down play them.
Try not to wait to improve your management skills in your new job. It will be difficult enough dealing with settling in the new job and getting up to scratch and proving yourself. It will be more difficult to test these skills and recognize the difference in yourself and others, as you will not know the people as well as you do in your current role. Also overcoming ingrained patterns can be stressful and it would be easier to test it in an environment where it is familiar, that you are performing well in other areas. You will have more time and energy to concentrate in developing these skills and putting them to the test, you will not be in a risky situation as you are already good at your job anyway. If anything you will be able to impress you current employers and get that promotion that has been continuously eluding you.