Does “You better be in the good books of your manager”, “Boss is always right”, “Follow whatever is told to you by your boss blindly”, ” They can make or break your career” and many other such one liners sounds familiar to you? Or even worst, has that been your principle as well? If answer to any of that is yes, then please lets look at the other dimension as well.
Everybody in their career want to move up the ladder and always keen on their vertical growth. The time gap between the two levels is what all we (or should) get to learn and develop the required skills before we level up. In my experience, I have seen 95% of the people focusing on Vertical growth only and they use the available time in trying to impress, sugar coat or at worst becoming Yes Men/Women of their bosses. They move up if their boss encourages such behaviour but if not, such people fail miserably. Today we would talk about those other 5% category.
In this 5% category, you will find people who clearly understand two things:
1. That they have limited time to upgrade their skills to reach to their next level and they start working towards their goal.
2. They understand their boss if he/she would understand and encourage talent or not. If not, they will change the process.
This group is focused on constant upskilling. They look like stagnant but they are growing horizontally by becoming subject matter experts. Their aim is to be future ready. This group is mostly hated by many but deep down are idolized. As the famous quote describe such groups “They hate us in public but they come to us for notes in private”. When anyone from this 5% group reaches the higher positions, she/he is not “like a Leader” but the Leader.
Vertical growth is controlled by many factors like position availability, right skill set match, Manager feedback and lot of other things. On other hand, horizontal growth is independent of all such things. It purely depends upon your will alone. You can upskill yourself every single day and prepare yourself for a better version of you. In horizontal growth, competition is healthy and you will learn everyday.
I myself, try to grow horizontally everyday (No, I am not talking about my waist) in my career and with great leaders around me throughout my little corporate career of 17 years, I have learned that:
* You learn more while you share your knowledge as you gain more perspectives. – Always try to share your knowledge.
* Discourage the undue flattery by you and for you. – Ground yourself in a team where skills are held up then drama
* Spend some time on future technology like robotics, people currency and service models. – Crawl if you have to but don’t be stagnant
* Spend more time with the people who have a different vision than yours and always encourage their criticism – If you surround yourself with 3 innovators, you will be the 4th automatically
* If you are positive that you made an incorrect career move, do not hesitate to rectify at the right time. Even if it comes with some risk. – Accepting your mistake is the first step in the remediation plan
* Being out and out assertive is the only way to avoid mediocre career. Leave diplomacy for Politicians. – Be bold not Italic (You know what I mean)
* Its very important to relax, hence develop a hobby which will squeeze the stress out of you
Every day offers you a new opportunity to learn something new. Your role models change at every level and who knows somebody for some corner is looking up to you as their role model. Give your best everyday without seeking attention.