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Are you ready for a promotion?
Aravind Raman |
April 21, 2006
You want to ascend the corporate ladder and be part of the senior management.
At present, though, having spent a significant number of years at the junior management level, you may be in a position to graduate to the middle-management slot.
Are you ready to take this step? It would entail higher responsibilities, including people management.
Ask yourself these five questions to find out if you are ready for the plunge.
i. Are you listening more?
As you climb the management ladder, it is important for you to give more appropriate and convincing inputs. For this, you will have to improve your listening skills.
The days when you interrupted before a person finished his/ her say are definitely over. You will also need to drop the habit of guessing what a person is going to say beforehand and responding based on that.
Listen, wait for the other person to complete the conversation and then provide an appropriate response after weighing all the pros and cons.
ii. Are you a good communicator?
Apart from good listening, you need to communicate your views well.
When you communicate, take the dynamics of the organisation into consideration. For example, an American organisation would typically be more receptive to radical ideas involving risks compared to a European organisation where low risk taking and a consensus-based approach are the norm.
You also need to remember that each organisation has its own culture based on the management style of the promoters and the executive management; employees need to operate within this ambit. While communicating, you need to take all these factors into consideration.
Do not use hyperbole or show off your vocabulary skills such that you send people scurrying off to find a dictionary.
Use simple language but get your views across convincingly. If you have problems with fluency, you need to work on it.
Even though you may head a team, avoid excessive use of the pronoun 'I' when you are presenting on their behalf.
iii. Do you tend to stereotype people?
Stereotyping clouds judgement. For example, if I had a couple of unpleasant experiences with some persons originating from a particular region, I would tend to have a mental stereotype that all persons from that region behave in the same manner.
In reality, you have to go with the facts instead of being influenced by stereotypes and prejudices. These are definite stumbling blocks for unbiased decision making and prevent you from interacting with people freely.
Consciously work on your prejudices and neutralise their effect while taking decisions or communicating with people. This is the only way you can act fairly. Just manage with the facts.
iv. Are you comfortable leading a team?
Leading a team does not mean taking credit for the team's success. As a good leader, you should motivate your team to have a common vision and achieve its goals. You need to give inputs in terms of planning and execution and arrange for timely resources.
You need to give frank feedback to your team members intermittently, or as and when required, to make the journey towards the goal smooth.
You need to address their genuine issues within your organisation's framework.
Reward good performance and give ideas that will help improve bad performance.
v. Do you go the extra mile?
Your commitment to work is a definite morale booster for your team.
This does not mean you should become a workaholic, but you should be in a position to take on added responsibilities, make tough decisions and take calculated risks.
Last but not the least, work harder and smarter; the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Aravind Raman works for an automotive major as a Technical Manager and has 12 years of professional experience. These are his personal views.
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