Q&A: Stuck in Middle Management
I am 42 year old HR manager working for Telecom company in India. Last 3-4 years I am stuck in middle management level, and unable to reach top management. I went through 360 degree feedback of myself- my strengths are coming up with ideas and implementing them. I have won awards too. My weakness is lack of visibility, doing too much of back-end work. I tried to improve visibility by keeping CEO, CFOs informed about what I am doing, but when it comes to promotion, it always goes to older guys, because they “look” more mature.
Congratulations on the strengths you’ve demonstrated – and the fact that they have been recognized through a number of awards.
I suspect the issue you’re struggling with may have less to do with your physical appearance of youth, than with people’s perceptions of the strengths you have to offer. Ironically, often what makes you successful at one stage in your career is not what people are looking for in individuals who move to the next level. So, by communicating your successes more broadly, you may be reinforcing people’s perceptions that you are well-suited to your current role.
In general, we go through three types of responsibilities as we move up the hierarchy: from a focus on content – that is, on the nature of the work itself, to process – managing and coordinating various elements of a project, to context – creating environments in which others can succeed. If you are perceived as someone who is excellent in doing the work itself and/or in managing projects, you are setting yourself up for awards – and for remaining in the same role for many years. To move into top management, you need to impress people that you have the skills associated with context – that is, with helping others succeed. Talk about how you’re creating engagement within your team, how you’re mentoring others, ideas you have to make the overall workplace more productive, and so.
Best wishes for success!
Filed under: Career Strategies | Published: 02/29/12
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