Many people assume an ideal career progression involves increasing specialisation, steadily rising salary and benefits, and a move into a management position. In today’s volatile and ambiguous workplace, this is no longer a formula for job satisfaction or high performance. Understanding some of the myths about what a successful career looks like can help you make more informed choices.
Myth 1 – The Only Way is Up
It is a common belief that most employees aspire to achieve promotion, and that a management job is a sign of success. Not true, bust the majority of organisations are structured so that the only way to reward people in the longer term is to promote them.
Every individual is driven by a unique set of values and intake skills that can have a real impact at work, if they were recognised and aligned with the organisation’s needs. Recognising your key drivers at work and looking for opportunities to utile them gives you more control over your career direction and will raise your value and profile.
Myth 2 – Plateauing is a sign of failure
A career plateau is when you have no further opportunities for advancement. Organisations are much flatter than they used to be and most of us have found there are fewer rungs in the career ladder. Growing your career doesn’t have to mean getting the next promotion. Some organisations create the conditions that allow individual careers to plateau and then struggle with the resulting drop in performance.
The people who enjoy long term success are often the ones who recognise that real influence comes not from a job title, but from the credibility and trust they have built with others in the organisation. They build on their natural talents and find opportunities to develop these strengths by contributing in new and different ways that go beyond traditional job titles and structures.
Myth 3 The Oganisation Only Values Managers
Organisations often make the mistake of rewarding their high performers with a management role – it’s what is traditionally expected on both sides. Does working at a more senior level mean you contribute more? Not necessarily. There is however an expectation that you will contribute more because salary and level says you should be In many cases however, a promotion to a management role leads to a drop in performance.
Does moving into management from a specialist area mean you will be more satisfied and contribute more Again not necessarily. The key to job satisfaction is aligning your personal values and strengths with the priorities of your organisation to create a win-win for you both.
Adjust Your Sights, Change Your Thinking
What organisations value is a leadership mindset – someone who can inspire, develop and get things done through others. A new generation of employees are coming through. They seek purpose and collaboration. They are social and tech savvy. They don’t want management, they want leadership.