亲爱的SIN：对这个问题感到疑惑的人不止你一个。与从前相比，升职变得更加困难，主要是由于几个原因。首先，明尼阿波利斯市领导力开发与培训公司PDI Ninth House的高级副总裁斯图•克兰德尔解释道：“全球经济衰退是原因之一。公司大幅裁员，许多职位被合并，结果就造成了管理职位‘僧多粥少’的局面。”
了解到这些之后，PDI Ninth House的研究人员开始分析，成功得到升职的因素到底有哪些。研究人员深入研究了公司数据库中37,000份个人能力测评，最终出炉了两份报告——其中一份是关于五个级别的管理职位（从中层团队领导人到CEO）一步步提升所需要具备的经验，另一份报告则调查了在每个级别帮助或妨碍绩效的个性品质。
Dear Annie:A friend of mine sent me your column about getting promoted from the individual "star" level into management, but I already made that jump a few years ago at a different company. In fact, I'm starting to regret having left there because, ever since I signed on with my current employer, my career seems to have stalled out. My performance reviews have been great, my department has had several big successes, and I think I'm ready for the next level. My boss, however, disagrees. His main criticism is that I'm "too detail-oriented."
So I have two questions. First, is there really such a thing as being too detail-oriented, or could that be a smokescreen for something else he doesn't want to tell me? And second, I've been extremely attentive to detail all my life -- which usually has been an advantage -- so do I have to change my personality to get promoted? (Is that even possible?) --Stuck in Neutral
Dear Stuck:No doubt you aren't the only one wondering. Getting promoted is tougher than it used to be, for a couple of reasons. First, "the global recession has been a factor," notes Stu Crandell, a senior vice president at Minneapolis-based leadership development and coaching firm PDI Ninth House. "Organizations let so many people go that lots of positions got consolidated, so there are fewer management jobs to move into."
Even before that, he adds, companies had been running leaner and cutting out layers of management jobs. "So often, instead of an upward move, we're seeing people move sideways in companies, to get broader experience and visibility, or sometimes even taking a step down in rank in order to prepare to move up later," Crandell says. "It's become more of a zigzag path, rather than straight up. This is hard for 'A students' to accept."
Then there's the notoriously lofty failure rate of people promoted into bigger jobs, which according to some studies runs as high as 40%. "Companies are being extremely cautious about moving people from one level to the next higher one," Crandell observes, and no wonder: "We've heard plenty of horror stories about managers who got promoted and then flamed out -- and executives themselves often tell us how much harder it is to adjust to a bigger job than they thought it would be."
With all that in mind, a team of researchers at PDI Ninth House set out to analyze exactly what leads to a successful upward move. Mining information from the firm's database of 37,000 individual executive assessments, the researchers wrote two reports -- one about the specific kinds of experience that prepare people to rise through five levels of management (from midlevel team leader to CEO), and the other examining the personality traits that help or hinder performance at each level.
"Of course, there are some variations from one corporate culture to another," Crandell acknowledges. "But some traits, like high levels of energy and the ability to think strategically, are common to every company as people take on more responsibility. They're constants."
In your case, it seems that extreme attention to detail may indeed be holding you back. As the study, which was titled "Personality and the Leadership Pipeline," puts it, "Leaving the details to direct reports, leaders focus on more integrative and holistic issues." In other words, you may need to learn to let go of the small stuff and focus more on the big picture.
Says Crandell, "If you're too deep in the weeds with the day-to-day minutiae as a senior manager, you'll micromanage the people below you. That's likely to alienate them, and it probably means you're not thinking strategically enough."
Luckily, he adds, "You don't have to change your personality. You just have to alter your behavior at work. Once you leave the office, you can be as controlling and detail-oriented as you want -- but while you're there, you can learn to consciously delegate the details to others, and keep track of their activities without doing everything yourself."