Even the most empowered employees often feel it is up to management
to tap them on the shoulders and offer them a new position. Because
people think management holds all the strings, frustration leads
the more vocal to complain, while the rest simmer in silent
Possible outcomes include demotivation, negative attitudes, lowered
productivity, passive resistance to change, and premature departure
for greener pastures. The key problem is that people focus on their
own needs, what the organization can do for them, rather than the
other way around. Instead, you need to discover or create new roles
by finding ways to add value. You need to become a leader, not a
pawn on a chessboard.
View yourself as a self-employed business person that provides
services to internal customers; your colleagues are potential
strategic partners. If you want to effectively manage your career,
seek opportunities to show leadership. Then, champion changes that
benefit the business. This ultimately will generate personal career
Learn how to influence upwards in a manner that does not come
across as an attack. Cultivate a strong external focus to learn
more about the needs of end customers and how competitors are
meeting those needs. In short, learn to think like a leader.
Management's role is to foster bottom-up leadership rather than
serve as the gatekeepers for a pool of existing job slots.
Otherwise, people see managers as blockers rather than as enablers.
Manage your career
It is not always possible to decide in advance what you want to do
with the rest of your life. Sometimes it is a matter of
discovering what you like through trial and error,
networking, and career window shopping. It is like house hunting.
You can make a list of the main criteria you want in a new house,
but once you start looking at houses, you might revise your
criteria because you discover features you hadn't thought of in
advance. You shouldn't feel a lack of confidence just because you
feel uncertain about where you are going in your career.