“The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.” ~ Peter Drucker
Most of your leaders work hard. They are probably good at what they do. But if they’re not getting ahead in your organization, what is going wrong? Why is one person successful, while another faces the frustration of being overlooked for advancement or promotion again and again?
In my corporate training program “Career Advancement: Release Untapped Potential of Your Underutilized Leaders,” I explain how to remove roadblocks to success and unearth the hidden treasure of your unrecognized talent.
As a speaker and trainer, companies hire me to unlock the hidden potential of their existing employees. Many people put in long hours, deliver excellent work and achieve results for the company, but don’t get rewarded with career advancement opportunities. They are missing one or more of the key components to success. This disproportionately affects women, minorities and introverts in organizations, for a variety of complex reasons. Companies and employees alike can get ahead by recognizing this gap and leveraging traditionally overlooked groups. If you want to know how to tap into the potential of your hidden leaders, read on to learn about my PVI model of career advancement.
What is the general view of the potential leader? How are their efforts, capabilities and business knowledge perceived? Are they seen as strong, competent candidates with a lot to bring to the table? Often, underutilized employees suffer from perception problems because they are not the first to speak up, stand out and become known for their impact and value.
Whether such people come from a culture or upbringing that encourages deference or silent agreement, or they simply prefer to operate out of the spotlight, those tendencies may have negatively influenced how others see them.
What you can do? Help to change the general perception so that it accurately reflects these people's contributions to the organization. Make sure others know of their accomplishments, make sure they take credit (individually or as part of a group) for successes and mention them as competent individuals who should be consulted on new initiatives. Make sure that everyone knows the value they bring to the table.
In order to get widespread support to advance to higher levels of leadership, employees need visibility. When discussing promotions, those around the table need to have seen potential leaders in action -- ideally, handling high-profile initiatives, solving critical issues and displaying their excellent people skills.
Think about the different reasons women, minorities and introverts in your organization might not have been offered those opportunities. Often, it’s assumed they wouldn’t want a high-visibility chance to shine: “Oh, she’s too quiet and passive to lead others,” “He wouldn’t want the stress of all eyes on him,” or “They don’t want a position where they’d have to get tough with our vendors.”
What you can do? Make sure that all the potential leaders in your company get the same consideration for occasions where they could raise their visibility. Don’t make assumptions about what they would or wouldn’t want in terms of opportunity -- ask. When opportunities are presented, make sure your hidden leaders know the value of taking on a challenge and how it could be their path to advancement and success.
Many of your best and most collaborative leaders are the ones who are constantly working to improve situations for the company and for other employees, regardless of their level of authority. If you have team members who are “low key” and don’t fit the traditional self-promoting model, it’s easy for their efforts to go unnoticed.
What you can do? Highlight the good work they do in enacting change, leading the charge for better work or more efficiency, or supporting their teammates. You can help them gain the influence they need to take good ideas further, to make bigger changes or achieve larger results. Find ways to give them the connections to people who can help them achieve success.
Do you have hidden leaders? Help them become extraordinary by leveraging my PVI model to put them on the path to success. Don’t miss out on valuable members of your organization just because they don’t fit the traditional vision of a leader who is willing to be loud, out front and self-promoting.
Not all of us are naturally inclined to self-endorse or develop the relationships necessary to succeed without help. With your assistance, your valuable hidden talent can get on the path to career advancement and add value to the company by promoting from within. Everybody wins when you foster perception, visibility and influence in all your leaders.
Joel Garfinkle provides corporate training, webinars and keynotes. He is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the US and is the author of seven books, including "Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level." In 2019, he conducted multiple one-day corporate trainings on his PVI-Model for an international company looking to improve diversity and gender representation in its C-level ranks. He was able to provide the key strategies to help identify and advance the strong women leaders from within their existing ranks. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and learn from Garfinkle’s two-minute video clips at his YouTube channel.