Factors that Contribute to Career Success of Managers

Career success of managers in financial institutions in South Africa is under the spotlight. A recent study highlighted that managers feel there are three key areas that affect their career success. These are: lack of motivation, lack of self-insight and strong interpersonal relationships. The group interviewed were in senior and middle management positions. This post will cover the three areas raised and how coaching can help address these effectively.

Lack of motivation

Lack of motivation at middle management seems to be a common trend in various countries. When working in large institutions there are some stark realities to face. Not everyone can make it to the top. You also need to think carefully about what defines career success for you. Does career success mean that you want a position at executive level? Do you want the pressures that go with such a senior role? Are you all right to have no time for family and other interests?

If you lack motivation over an extended period of time it is a sign to take stock. Have you lost your inner power to certain people or situations? Did something happen to trigger this reaction? Are you doing work that you no longer feel passionate about?

Often a lack of motivation develops when we realise that our career success is being compromised. However, a lack of motivation could indicate that it is time to move on to something different.

More people these days are opting for lower incomes but an opportunity to start their own business. They finding corporate life stifling, too pressured or draining with little time to enjoy life.

Lack of self-insight

Most large institutions have strong human resource and development functions. However, the interventions are largely aimed at the development of knowledge and skills. Some offer personal mastery workshops. An area that seems to be lacking is providing managers with psychological knowledge. This can include aspects such as self-esteem, power dynamics, coping styles, etc.

Perhaps this is where coaching is fulfilling an essential role. For one thing, I have seen how sharing more information on the human psyche benefits clients. This makes them realise they can grow and change. Coaching helps you gain a better understanding of yourself.   It is a wonderful vehicle for self-exploration in a psychologically safe environment.

A lack of self-insight seriously impedes career success. Sooner or later in the corporate environment you will receive feedback on your performance and how other people perceive you. Furthermore, you will be tested in many different ways e.g. your integrity, adaptability, ability to get on with all kinds of people, problems solving, managing stress, etc.

Therefore it is imperative for your career success to understand why you respond to situations in certain ways. Coaching can help you find more constructive ways to handle challenges so that these do not hinder your progress.

Interpersonal relationships

Your career success is largely dependent on your interpersonal relationships. If you have good relationships with people at all levels, your chances of progressing faster are better. As much as we would like to think progress is dependent mainly on work results, this is not always so.

Charlene knows how to play the political game. She has always managed her relationships with her seniors and key role players very carefully. In contrast though, she treats her subordinates very poorly. But, her seniors never get to hear about this. Needless to say she reached executive level. Do her colleagues and subordinates trust her? No. However, that does seem to matter as she created a very good impression up the line.

The higher up you progress the higher the expectations to conform to others’ expectations.  As a result you need to play the political games unless you are in a strong expertise role. If you are not a political player, then make peace with the fact that you may not progress as far as you would like. In the end you need to live with yourself. Are you willing to sacrifice your soul or values to progress?

If you feel you are not progressing in your career consider coaching. It is an ideal way to take stock of your life, explore what you want and implement a different plan of action. So many clients comment that they wish that had started coaching earlier in their life.

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Posted in Management, Personal development.