, Ever been passed up for an opportunity? This might be why…

Ever been passed up for an opportunity? This might be why…

January 26th, 2016 Posted by Leadership Tools, Performance Coaching

Some of us have breezed through our careers without ever missing an opportunity for advancement but for the rest us being passed up for a promotion can be a pretty tough experience. Sometimes the reason might be an obvious one but at other times it might be a little murky…

Allow me to ask you a question, have you ever had a certain feeling about someone, you’d never call their character into question because they are as honest as the next person but there’s something that you just can’t quite put your finger on? Listening to a podcast by Tony Mayo it occurred to me that the sense of trust or distrust we feel can be sliced in different ways. Here are the different types of trust we have for others, in the context of the workplace anyway:

Sincerity – We believe that what the person is saying is aligned with what they are thinking. This is the most common meaning of trust people refer to.

Capability – Have you ever had an employee who is really keen to take on a complex project to prove themselves, they were hungry for opportunity and they honestly believed they could do it but you felt a little unsure? You didn’t give them this task because you didn’t trust they could do it…that’s a lack of trust in their capability.

Capacity – What about the team member who says yes to everything? They’re always keen to please and they’ll take on every task that comes their way. They genuinely believe they can deliver but just before the deadline they come to you with their head down explaining that they just couldn’t get to it…they had too much on.

Care – Some of your team will have a deep sense of quality for what they do, a deep sense of care. Others, less so. What’s good enough is good enough, they’ll argue and a large percentage of the time they’re right – why go for the 100% when 80% with improvements later will get the job done and keeps everything moving forward? Sometimes however that element of care is vital. Imagine the sense of care in the accountant who just can’t go home for the night until they balance that last few cents in the accounts…that’s an internal motivation for delivering high quality, that’s a deep care for quality work.

Consistency – The last type of trust is consistency. Have you ever experienced someone who on one day is on fire and is knocking the ball out of the park and the next their performance is down around their ankles? If making steady progress is important for your progress then you may need to know your team can consistently deliver without surprises!

If you’re a team leader and you’ve experienced any of the above in your team here’s the great news! Rather than group all of these behaviours in the one basket of ‘I can’t trust them’ recognise that this creates a great coaching opportunity for you to grow your team. Start working with them so that they recognise they might lack certain skills (capability) and put in place a plan to shore up that gap. Find out what they’re doing when they’re knocking that ball out of the park (consistency) and encourage more of that. You get the picture, I’m sure.

My last point might be a little harder to swallow…sometimes it’s easier to look outside of ourselves and see these characteristics in others than it is to see them in ourselves. Take a moment to have a good hard look at yourself and how you operate. Do you take on too much and end up dropping the ball? What about your level of care, could it be improved a little? Become your own coach or simply reach out to someone who does what you want to do and find out how they do it – find a mentor (or a coach!) – and look forward to the opportunity for your next promotion.


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