Today I would like to start looking at how developing yourself as a leader of people can be both beneficial AND address some of the career issues that tend to come for most of us from time to time.
You are all familiar with the term “mid-life crisis”, sometimes used interchangeably with “mid-career crisis”.
So what is actually happening when these feelings of uncertainty and doubt arise? How can a career that has usually progressed so well for many years, suddenly feel like a disaster waiting to happen?
During the first half of our working life, change is a constant, we are learning new things, moving upwards regularly or into new areas, and anything seems possible.
So where does it all go wrong?
Well ask yourself, how many CEOs does a company have? That’s right, just one.
Our progression up the management ladder is usually within our area of expertise. Within the function that we have learned so much about.
The career path for a Sales Director will be up from the ranks of sales people, sales management. For a Finance Director, from starting as an accountant, For the Production Director, from being on the shop floor.
In other words, we tend to progress based on our specialized skills within a particular functional area.
And as we move upwards, the number of available slots become less. So the opportunities to progress become fewer and less frequent. Very often we find ourselves at a plateau, where the next level up is not likely to become vacant for some years.
Suddenly we wake up with a view of doing for the next 20 years of our working life, exactly what we have been doing for the past three years.
A very scary thought. Sometimes it looks like a prison sentence stretching out into the future until we retire. Where will the mental stimulus come from, what is there new to learn?
Now stop and think: where does a CEO learn to be a CEO? There is no functional speciality there. The CEO has to take a very different view of the organization. A completely strategic cross functional perspective.
Can we all become CEO? No, and we can all find a way to develop into more interesting opportunities as Leaders of People, without being tied to a functional speciality.
Look out for the article on how to do that.
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