Everyone starts their career hoping they will climb the corporate ladder and one day reach the top. Until you have actually done it, you can only begin to imagine what it might take to get there. How much time, effort and hard work does it actually require? The truth is, every journey is different and it will most certainly turn out to be different to what you initially expected.
After speaking to some of our consultants around the globe, as well as some candidates from the industry, we have done our best to provide some perspective on this.
We hope this insight will be useful and provide you with some realistic expectations of what you could encounter on your journey.
1. You have less time as you move higher up
The reward for getting promoted is more work, more pressure and less room for error. As your responsibilities increase, your time becomes more precious. Of course you may have people working for you who can share some of the workload, but their work is a reflection of your management in some ways which can result in managers not delegating properly. Your time will also be spent on managing people’s careers and not just the work itself. Unfortunately, the more senior you become the more you have to consider other people’s development, especially if you want to retain the brightest stars.
Day to day, moving up the ladder often results in more meetings, longer to-do lists and longer days. But, it’s not all bad. You also get a host of positives like a higher salary, greater benefits, a sense of accomplishment, and more influence. Making the most of your progress requires a better emphasis on time management. The more disciplined and organised you can be the easier it will be to manage your growing list of responsibilities.
2. Your words hold more weight
Getting promoted often requires you speaking up, adding your opinion, and having others recognise the value in them. However, as you move higher so your words start to hold more weight. When you become more senior those around you listen to what you have to say with more attention. This can be great when you say the right things but it can also be bad when you say the wrong things.
Ensuring you strike the right balance as you become more senior requires a disciplined approach to what you say and when you say it. Listening and choosing the right time to speak up is a skill that will ensure your growth to the top continues.
You don’t have to completely censor yourself, just be more aware of what you say and how you say it.
3. Your career path can become less clear
It’s funny how your career comes full circle the closer you get to the top of the ladder. You obtain so many different skills along the way that you may ask yourself, “What’s my next career move?” Your “next step” becomes less obvious.
This is where you’ll start to wonder:
- Am I content at this point?
- Can I compete for other jobs?
- Will I have to wait for my manager to retire for a role to open?
- Do I even want my manager’s job?
The best way to address these questions is to answer them honestly. If you continue to perform a pulse check as to where you want to go with your career, you won’t feel stuck. You’ll define your own path.
You’re never really going to have all the answers. But, keeping these 3 points in mind as you grow will help keep you aware of what you need to do (and not do) to ensure that you tackle the challenge with skill and success.
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