The business world is full of paradox, making it more difficult than ever to navigate successfully. Lessons that we learn early in our career through successful trial and error, can suddenly become destructive in a different context. The key is knowing when to pivot to a new strategy.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of advancement. Early in our career we are rewarded for individual excellence and we differentiated ourselves based on our individual efforts. It is often advantageous to have “sharp elbows” during this stage of our career. But the very success that this approach helps to earn, also sows the seeds for its undoing.
Nothing is more de rigueur to a senior leadership role than the ability to lead a team of people to achieve pre-planned outcomes in the marketplace. To do this consistently and successfully requires a focus on others in your organization, those below you on the organization chart, to be precise. But if you are stuck in old behavior patterns of looking and managing up to demonstrate your own individual talents and skills, then you are surely missing an important inflection point in your career, the opportunity to demonstrate that you are a mature leader.
By focusing on the performance and capability of the individuals on their team, a leader with gravitas earns opportunity to move up, based on the collective excellence of those below.