What your boss will never tell you

May 21 2014 by Cindy Wahler Print This Article

So you've been promoted. Congratulations, you have been rewarded for being an outstanding individual contributor. Now what?

You have been given a mandate and must execute according to plan. You are benchmarked against key metrics. On top of it you have a brand new team, many of whom you have recently inherited.

Obviously you'll need to achieve your deliverables and learn to cultivate great partnerships. But isn't there something more you're expected to bring to the table? What is that secret ingredient?

Here's a clue. If you can devise a creative way to look outside your own terms of reference and business platform and generate ideas that will profit the larger enterprise, you will be seen as demonstrating 'thought leadership'. And that's a commodity that is likely to do you no end of good.

So why doesn't your boss just tell you this? Wouldn't it save you a lot of hardship and potentially help you to get on the fast track? I actually think they shouldn't. If your manager gives you the blueprint then it means that you have taken their lead and not your own.

A real test of your business acumen is your ability to step back and look at the bigger picture. At this point you have three choices. One is to whine and complain about your workload, volume, never ending demands and complexity of your job. Another is not to complain but instead to keep your head down and be a pure grinder.

The third option is to take ownership and lead an initiative that will position the organization for greater success. And on this note, when I speak to senior leaders they generally lament, "I wish I could, but I am so busy" or "That requires the luxury of time and we don't have that" or "I can barely keep my head above water."

But aren't these just excuses? Because I believe that if you are passionate, it isn't a question of time at all. Innovation can be incremental. You are not expected to revolutionize. If you think of any social group, from the school yard, to recreational clubs where you hold membership and even your own social circle, there are always leaders who emerge. I don't mean the noisy ones who have ideas that spew like whales, but those who actually go beyond the talk to execute and deliver on their great notions.

There are many people who believe that they work hard who see their peers advance and think that it's just not fair. But the reality is that getting ahead takes more than heavy lifting.

So you tell me, do great organizations do it on brawn alone? What can you be better at that helps drive business? And yes, in an environment of cost savings and zero increase in spend, being able to do this becomes even more important.

So if you blame your employer for not being rewarded for working hard, you should think again. Getting a first class seat requires first class thinking.

About The Author

Cindy Wahler
Cindy Wahler

A Psychologist and expert in human behaviour, Dr. Cindy Wahler has extensive and broad based experience in positioning organizations for success, within both the private and public sectors.