Before you aim for promotion, focus on not getting fired.
Here’s a question I was asked:
Why were you fired? If you haven’t been what is your secret?
This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy
I’ve never been fired but I did leave a job as a project manager and consultant. I held that job for 12 years – and got promoted four times. Twice in two years, when things were going really well!
The ‘secret’, I think, is to do your job well and build a network of colleagues at all levels who value you.
I thank that is more than ‘just’ delivering your projects to schedule, budget, and spec. You need to win stakeholders’ confidence and trust. People need to see you as a professional at the top-end of your peer group with similar levels of experience.
So, you need to be constantly learning. And that means also reviewing your performance and reflecting on it. Consider finding a coach – formal or informal – to help you.
Who are your allies? And what do the people you work with say about you? The answers to these will tell you a lot about how secure you should feel.
By the way, companies fail or lose market share. And that means they need to make redundancies. They downsize. Losing your job is not always ‘getting fired’. Sometimes your bosses have no choice. It’s not you. It’s the economics.
Avoid making enemies and always act with integrity. If that means stating a contrary view of taking a stand, then do so with courtesy and respect.
If you do it right, you can oppose people without alienating them. And, if you are never disagreeing with anyone, maybe you aren’t thinking hard enough about what’s going on around you.
But, if the person you oppose is both:
– Senior to you, AND
then you may find yourself getting fired for doing the right thing.
It won’t be comfortable. But you can hold your head high. I know people who have had this experience.
Sense which battles are worth fighting because you can win them – or they matter enough. I’ve written about project politics both in an earlier email, and on my website.
A career is a long term game. When you realize you are no longer in the right job, move on. That’s what I did. The projects Deloitte wanted me to deliver – and the way they wanted me to do it – did not suit me. So, I left.
You may find your unconscious starts to create the behavior that will mean someone else will make the decision for you. So, I wish you well with your job. And, if you are on a break or about to take one, enjoy!
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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