Editors' Choice Article:
Breaking Your Glass Ceiling
Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools
Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowingthat you have much more potential, is there a limit to where "people like you" can go in your organization?If so, you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling." This is the point at which you can clearlysee the next level of promotion – yet, despite your best effort, an invisible barrier seems tostop you from proceeding.Traditionally, the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. It wasvery hard, if not impossible, for them to reach upper management positions. No matter howqualified or experienced, they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers.Today, there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. However, the glassceiling is still very real. And it's not always limited to gender or race.Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many differentreasons. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicatingyour ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions?Whatever the reason, you have a choice. You can accept your situation and be happy withlooking up and not being able to touch what you see… or you can smash the glass withpurpose and determination.If you do, indeed, want to break through that glass, here are some steps to take.
Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization
Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company'supper levels. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision.Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individualswho are outgoing, risk takers, and not afraid to "tell it like it is." However, if you work for aconservative company (such as a publicly-owned utility) chances are that top managementare analytical thinkers, with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions.Ask yourself these questions:
What are the values of your organization?
What behaviors does your company value and reward?
What type of person is promoted?Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. This is the first step towarddiscovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role.
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