That said, I still remember “the rules” my High School math teacher told me about “Corporate Life”:
1. Be able to do your Boss’s job
2. Make sure you have someone that can do your job
3. Dress/act the part of your boss
1. Is important because the best way to prove you can do the role is to actually do it. If you can “step in” while your boss is elsewhere, it proves your ability.
2. Conversely, if you don’t have anyone that can take over your role, you are “stuck” especially if your role is critical
3. As mentioned in the article, your boss/their management needs to feel like you will be able to represent them appropriately. If they have any doubts, there is no way you will get the opportunity to prove you can.
In fairness, I was not impressed with my manager. My role was new and he did fuck all to promote it, set objectives, give guidence or make sure there was something meaningful I could deliver. Other manager didn't know what my role was, and circumvented me often using their old relationships. When the restructure came I was easy pickings.
His original advice was simply to wear what your boss’ wears, but I modified it slightly to get to his intent. You need to show that you can “represent” your manager as well as he/she would. So it isn’t about pretending to have authority you don’t, it is about handling yourself in a way at least as good as them. Examples: don’t wear a t-shirt and jeans to work if they alway wear a coat. Also, watch how they respond to questions. How do they communicate to those around them?
Not exactly true. If you can't find a replacement internally (or when there is a conversation about your promotion) then do an external hire
Usually someone promoted someone into a role to fill a specific need. If you need x months before you can cut over, that decreases your ability to fill any but the longest term needs.
If however you can leave almost at a “drop of a hat” because you have someone that can fill your spot, then the moment the org has a need you can fill, BAM you fill the need. Much lower friction.
A promotion is not a reward for doing a good job in your current role. For a company, promoting people is an optimization technique. Good employees are hard to find and if you already have one and he or she shows the potential to do even more valuable work, you promote them.
It's as simple as that.
Or rules about what the wood a managers desk furniture should be made of and how many square yards of carpet "he" was allowed - note the use of the male pronoun.
These are examples from a company I used to work for in the UK.
When he started telling the story, I assumed he was pulling my leg. Once he got about three levels in and had clear details on all the differences, I realized (sadly) that he wasn't kidding.
How would a level 1 person "knock it out the park and look like they will succeed doing higher level work" if not by either doing level 2 work or succeeding in some other area that is technically above his paygrade?
Let Level 2 tasks consist of doing "aleph", "zeta" but also sometimes a little "foo".
Some L1 employee killing it in terms of time-taken-to-complete bars and bashes, as well as being solid at foo...
Is not the same as
Some L1 employee is [okay to above average] at their regular job responsibilities (foo, bar and bash) and every now and then handles aleph and zeta without trouble (and sometimes excels at it).
>Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.
This working beyond your level long term is a trap you should avoid your just being taken advantage of.
Only temporarily. They'll probably find a job somewhere else, and now you've lost a great employee, need to find someone else that good and train them up again.
Basically a rehash of the other comment you got, but I found it funny you kind of answered your own question :)
Presumably because they asked you why they haven't gotten a promotion.
On the other hand, if they point out occasions where they stepped out of their comfort zone and succeeded, there might be a promotion on the horizon already and I would discuss with them what's still missing for it to happen.
Most prefer to hide behind a corporate saying.
Is that true though? I feel like I've worked with some outstanding people over the years how hard can they be to find?
. Line managers rarely make the leap, if anything they jump laterally or go into 'new opportunities'.
. Actually escaping the gig and advancing, and I'd say that being a manager manager is a far more desirable line of work, seems to be more tied to selling yourself and to being associated with high visibility/profitable/successful projects which often has little to do with your own personal skills.
The article sounds quite plausible though.
Sounds like that could just be because the latter case indicates the company/org is growing quickly and making room for people to grow.
I do agree that the skills of a senior manager are materially different than just "be a better manager". Failing at any of the things listed in the article can prevent your progress, but doing them all well doesn't guarantee you advancement either.
The rare few higher managers that achieved their positions also through domain knowledge and competence were a delight to work for and with. The others not so much.
It’s possible that there is no good answer I guess. Managers might just be the bogeyman bringing bad news but it’s the business (and execs) that ultimately make these choices.
Pushing your team to do shit on time by force may work, but it's a risky and generally unsustainable strategy. And the immediate repercussions of doing so are largely opaque higher than you as the immediate manager (and potentially your boss). Strategic failure or missed deadlines can generally get the visibility you need to ensure you get the consideration or resources going forward to prevent it from becoming a norm. But that also has political costs and considerations, so you have to have a firm grasp of your position in the org, your positioning and messaging on the issue, and how well you capitalize on the follow up before the window for change/resources closes.
Business executives may not understand what you or your team do, but their decision making process is largely similar to a systems engineering problem. When joining the company as a manager, you have to rapidly understand the general structure of the legacy system that is your new company, where your team fits into that architecture, the integration points and dependencies your team and reporting structure has with the wider company (which is as much personal and political as it is technical), and approach the maintenance, oversight, and positioning of your team as appropriate.
It's a very active process, and without the benefit of source code, documentation, or logging you may have when getting up to speed on a technical system. A passive manager just acts as a message bus passing through demands from the business until the service that is their team becomes overloaded and things only get better if the upstream demand decreases. An active manager attempts to influence the overall system in such a way where those spikes are rare enough to be manageable, trigger the appropriate alerts (from an organization perspective), such that the upstream demands and downstream capacity to service those demands are in alignment.
Compensation seems similar, as well.
The line manager and lead developers are not unlike non-commissioned officers. They are supposed to be able to talk to the grunts, and even though they don't do the "shit", getting shit done is not abstract for them. They know how to do it in a more concrete way. If they didn't, nobody below them would respect them. (Though I have heard tales of new NCOs being sweated by their reports because they clearly did not know anything in a concrete way. They were either going to learn or they were going to be forced out.)
For everyone else there's a lot of up-or-out. If you've been a middle manager for 20 years there must be something wrong with you.
In my experience, the Army was the same. If you saw a 18 year E-6 he/she probably had a problem staying out of trouble or were just incompetent.
Edit(context): Active duty in a combat MOS.
Its not obvious but the laundry files occasionally has a few mentions that might pass unnoticed by a non brit.
I have worked at an ex civil service place and there was a direct mapping between grade and the equivalent rank in the forces.
"Stuck" is in the mindset of the individual.
Edit for clarification: I mean that a person is "stuck" when they feel/think they are stuck.