Careers are tough to maintain, there is quite a lot at play in order to have a sturdy growth path. It’s important for employees to be in a position where they understand the objectives and aspirations of the company, to be in sync with the progression of the organization. The most common mistake people make is they tend to focus too much on their core profession and try to do everything by the book, it is at that point that failure to grow starts to manifest. Employees forget that companies have other priorities outside of their core business, natural leaders tend to realize this early in their career, and they apply themselves and offer the much-needed extra support. They are willing to help beyond your job spec. Sometimes all your boss needs is for you to assist with the small tedious tasks, such as filing and writing minutes of meetings. But most often employees want to prove that they can offer sophisticated professional opinions or they try to outsmart their boss, that’s clear career suicide. It is all about the bottom line, so if you pick up that there are gaps in the system, try and close them, don’t wait to be told. That’s how future leaders are recognized. The fact is that companies do not have the capital to attain each and every type of resource they need, especially small emerging businesses, they depend mostly on individuals who can go the extra mile.
My view is that leaders are promoted for their work ethic before their degrees. We live in a country where the current government inherited an economy that had systematically disadvantaged the majority of the population and labour laws that excluded their advancement, so our government has put in place various laws (e.g. Employment Equity Act) to safeguard employment of personnel in organizations, which means that qualifications have somehow become the bare minimum requirement for recruiting. Entry to the job market is more structured now than before, but once you are hired, the dynamics of progression change altogether. Your personality, character, mannerisms, dress code and the rest, start to play a role in how your peers and seniors see you. It becomes more about how people feel about your abilities to do more, and how far you are willing to push to get things done.
Personal development, in the form of training, is also a key aspect of career growth, but that too must be done right. You need to align yourself and study courses that are in line with the objectives of the organization and your department. Use the current leadership in your organization as a benchmark to evaluate which skills are required at each level of management, take their qualifications as a guideline for your personal development. You also need to understand the vision of the organization in order to fit into the puzzle. You need a mix of soft skills training to be more efficient with the day to day run of the mill and the formal courses that can help you to contribute to the more strategic decisions. Having a mentor can also help you a great deal in developing your management skills, how to deal with issues of delegation, disciplinary or people skills in general.
All I am saying is, align yourself for the success you want to achieve.
Writer: Kabelo Motsugi