13.2 Career Growth: Behaviors and Change

Learning Objective

  1. Describe how you can be promoted in your current or future organization.

Since this chapter is all about professional growth, it makes sense to discuss planning strategies used by people who want to further their careers. Each of these involves and requires emotional intelligence skills discussed in Chapter 2 "Achieve Personal Success" and throughout the book. Having emotional intelligence skills, as you may recall, is even more important than having a high IQ.Goleman, D. (n.d.). Emotional intelligence. New York Times, accessed May 23, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/g/goleman-working.html Knowing ourselves and the ability to manage ourselves is the core of this section in the form of a discussion on what kinds of human relations behaviors are necessary to achieve career success.

How to get promoted must be one of the questions managers are asked the most. Often earning a promotion or movement into a higher level is dependent on not only one’s skills and abilities but also certain behaviors. According to Long Yun Siang of Career Success for Newbies,Siang, L. Y. (2006). How to get promoted. Career Success for Newbies, accessed March 13, 2012, http://www.career-success-for-newbies.com/how-to-get-promoted.html there are several characteristics people have that can help them earn a promotion, and these areas fall into one of three categories: plan, attitude, and action. They are as follows:

  1. Perform self-analysis. Where are you and why are you there? Is there a key strength that has gotten you to where you are now? What skills can you continue to leverage to get that promotion? Likewise, are there weaknesses you must handle before moving to the next level?
  2. Keep your eye on the goals. Where do you want to be and how do you get there? Remember our chapter on goal setting? Now is the time to apply those ideas! Using SMART objectives (Chapter 2 "Achieve Personal Success"), determine where you want to be in the short, medium, and long term. Then create objectives that will help you meet those goals.
  3. Put pride, passion, and belief in everything you do. People who get promoted have pride in their work; they enjoy what they are doing and have genuine enthusiasm. They work toward their own goals but also the goals of the company and of the department.
  4. Back it up with skills, knowledge, and direction. Do what needs to be done to acquire skills. Take seminars and workshops and attend conferences. Make sure you continually update your skills.
  5. See challenges as opportunities. Avoid complaining and look at things to overcome as ways to improve your skills but also to show others you are capable of solving problems.
  6. Understand your role in helping the organization achieve goals. Be a team player to understand what you must do to help the rest of the department and organization achieve.
  7. Do your best and do more than necessary. Volunteer for more work or projects, and take initiative. Look at how you can solve problems for the manager.
  8. Do work from the next level up. Continue to do your own work, but try to take on assignments that may be “above your pay grade” or above your normal expected workload. This shows you are capable of the position you want.
  9. Understand the importance of networking. Much of the business done today happens through networking.Fox News. (2008, June 3). The importance of networking, accessed May 21, 2012, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,362704,00.html Networking events are where we can meet new clients, friends, and employers. They might include events through your local chamber of commerce, charity functions, and professional organization conferences and events. The ability to stay in touch with people we meet at events has never been easier through the use of technology. Building relationships with others takes time but also is worthwhile. People you meet today may be a future employer or client one year from now. Networking can also help us find mentors and gain new insights into our industry.

Besides understanding the skills, attitudes, and abilities needed for promotion, learning how to handle change is a great way to earn a promotion and obtain career success. We discussed change in Chapter 2 "Achieve Personal Success"; because it’s necessary both from a personal and career perspective, it is good to discuss it here from a career approach. Oftentimes, people get too comfortable in their job, which does not allow them to move upwardly within the organization. We know that change is a continual process, and the more comfortable we can get, the better, especially to experience continued success at work. But why do people avoid change in their careers or jobs and why would they avoid taking on more responsibility to obtain a promotion? Figure 13.2 gives some examples.

Figure 13.2

When considering making a career change, whether it be to move to a different company or to earn a promotion, there are many reasons why people may be afraid of such a change.

It is important to identify the reasons why you may avoid change. When we identify them and our behaviors, we can begin to understand why we behave the way we do, which is a key component to self-knowledge and emotional intelligence skills. Another aspect to career success is knowing basic etiquette, which we will discuss next.

Key Takeaways

  • Part of career success is making sure you know how to increase your power position and having an awareness of your attitude and personality.
  • There are three main aspects to optimizing career success: planning, attitude, and action. Examples include being willing to go above and beyond your job description and having a specific path you know you want to reach. Besides goal setting, having a positive, can-do attitude can help improve chances for promotion.
  • Besides attitude and personality, career promotion means being uncomfortable with possible changes. People resist change because of fear of job security, the unknown, and failure; their individual personality; and bad past experiences with change.


  1. Go to http://images.barnesandnoble.com/pimages/resources/pdf/Change_Quiz.pdf and take the quiz on change. Then answer these questions:

    1. Based on your results, what are some things you could do to improve your resistance to change?
    2. Why do you think the abilities to deal with change and with job promotion are so closely tied?
  2. Discuss each of the personality ways to obtaining a promotion. If you were a manager, how important do you think these are? Which would be the most important to you?