It is not a surprise that the hallmarks of a successful business do not remain static over time, and so the definition of an effective employee or an effective manager shift over time as well. In many companies, the ranks of today’s upper management look pretty different than they did a generation ago.
Individual personal effectiveness is not the only factor critical to success. Indeed, according to John Beeson in a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, “working with peers, influencing them, and driving change across organization boundaries is a central responsibility of executives today.” As a result, this ability to work with others, regardless of division or level, is critical to successful career development.
Now, not all organizations are the same. However, Beeson reminds us that “over the last fifteen to twenty years, the organizational structures of many companies have changed in fundamental ways, a shift that makes lateral management — the ability to work with peers and co-workers to get things done across boundaries — an imperative requirement for success at the executive level.”
There is now a structural necessity for getting along with a wide variety of coworkers, and even dealing with difficult people, in order to find maximum personal effectiveness and career success. If you feel as though you have stalled out on the career ladder, perhaps it is time to figure out whether an inability to influence others could be holding you back.
If it is true, as Beeson claims, that “leading innovation within today’s organizations demands enlisting and mobilizing others,” including those in other units, then successful career development depends on learning how to work well with, a wide variety of other people.
In order to mobilize others, one must develop stronger leadership skills. But increased leadership skills alone will not lead to an executive promotion. To work well with others, one must first and foremost communicate effectively with a variety of people of all different personality types.
Taking an online personality test could increase personal effectiveness by improving interpersonal communication. Knowing and understanding one’s own communication style, as well as those of colleagues, could help establish the “strong working relationships based on trust” that Beeson emphasizes as an important component of career development today.