Daily Archives: June 11, 2008

Are You Promotable? Social Skills vs. Intellect

The days of being promoted at a company just because you’ve paid your dues are gone. People are being promoted for many different reasons – and not all of them are for a job well done. In Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog about social skills in the workplace, Tiziana Casciaro, a professor at Harvard Business School, said “people would rather work with someone who is likeable and incompetent than with someone who is skilled and obnoxious.”

Now, I’m not saying that people who absolutely do no work but have an insanely bright personality will get promoted ahead of those who actually add value to their department or company. But, it has to be said that your people skills are usually a major factor in whether or not you receive a promotion or continue climbing the corporate ladder.

According to experts, individuals are considered “promotable” when they are included in meetings where their co-workers are not included, told inside information that others are not aware of, given important tasks, asked for input on major decisions, and given increased responsibilities. If you find yourself meeting all these requirements, then you’re promotable according to their guidelines.

But, there is a big difference between being promotable and actually getting promoted. If you meet all of the above requirements and still haven’t received a higher position, there could be many different reasons that are keeping you from moving into your own office. If your company is growing and people are moving up around you, you might want to check your attitude. Also, ask yourself these questions and see if your behaviors are keeping you from getting that well-deserved promotion.

• Do you get along with your co-workers?
• Do you like your boss? How well do you get along?
• Have you ever undermined your boss’s authority?
• Are you clearly recognized for your contributions from your boss’s peers?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then you might have just answered your own question as to why you haven’t received that promotion yet. You may lack the social skills needed to move you to the next level. Employees who are disliked rarely receive promotions due to the fear that other employees will quit. So, even if you have the intellect to successfully run a team, but you’re short on the social skills you need to work with other people, then most likely you won’t be seeing that promotion any time soon.

But there’s good news! There are ways you can improve your social skills. As Penelope Trunk asserts in her blog, “if you just decide you want to do better, you probably will.” In other words, care about how others perceive you and work on re-establishing those relationships at work. The first step in receiving that promotion is repositioning yourself in the office as someone who gets along with others.