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What Stops Me From Growing To The Next Level?

Anna, the internal communicator at Highlight Builders, a well-known infrastructure firm is upset that her manager doesn’t believe she is ready for promotion. After a long discussion with Jiby, her manager. she calls Nitin (her friend) to the company cafeteria and confides in him. Read the conversation below and share your thoughts on the case.

Anna: “I am very disappointed. After spending 4 years in the role as the internal communications associate I am the only one among my batch that joined this company who isn’t promoted in this round. This is very unfair. I have done so many internal communication campaigns and those have been appreciated by stakeholders”.

Nitin: (concerned)”Why do you say so?”

Anna: “I work hard all year long and then this happens. All my peers are now doing much better than I. In fact, some of my college mates are earning twice of what I am getting now”.

Nitin: “In what way are they doing better? And what did Jiby say?”


Anna: “There were 4 of us who joined at the same level in the organization and now I am the only one left behind. Also, they get better salaries than me. This is not the way I expected the organization to treat me. Jiby feels that there are growth areas which I need to address before I can be considered for the next level but the others in my batch never had to do any development before they progressed.”

Nitin: ”Hmm. So Jiby did call out some areas of improvement. This sounds fair to me. Did you think they are accurate?”

Anna: ”Well, yes he did mention these in our regular meetings all year but doesn’t everyone have development areas? He felt that I was only doing ‘as told’, he is expecting that I bring fresh perspectives to the role and needed me to add value to others beyond the team. I agree there are specific areas which need attention and I am thinking about them. Everyone can get better but why stop me from moving to the next level?”

Nitin: “Ok, so you believe you can do better in the areas Jiby has pointed out – but have you done what was needed?”

Anna: “Well, I did think about it. It is hard work and I haven’t done much honestly. In bits and pieces I have done some of the stuff he expects.”

Nitin: “So, is Jiby aware of your progress? Have you informed your stakeholders?”

Anna: “Partially. He knows and has been pushing me often to make progress. But, you know how it is. There is so much to do as part of your day job. How do you find time for development and growth areas?”

Nitin: “Doesn’t not investing in your development get in the way of improving your day job? Were you also not aware that you had these areas of improvement?”

Anna: “It does in a way but we always get by. Jiby has been regularly giving me feedback. But, why doesn’t he see the effort that went into the different internal communication campaigns I ran successfully this year. Also, the fact that I manage the intranet and assorted leadership visits which occurred smoothly.”

Nitin: “Isn’t that what you are supposed to do anyway?”

Anna: “Now, you don’t begin talking like my boss! He keeps saying the same thing – you are doing what is expected. How can you demonstrate that you are going over and beyond”.

Nitin: ”As a friend, I can understand your frustration. It may not seem fair at the first instance. Do you want to mull over it and consider what is preventing you from growing? We can talk again next week. Finish your coffee – it must be cold now!”

As someone listening in to this conversation how would you interpret the issue that Anna faces and what do you recommend that she does in this situation?

Keen to hear your views.

One thought on “What Stops Me From Growing To The Next Level?

  1. A sheer executor and an ideator are two categories of employee we usually come across. While I personally feel that a sheer executor cannot walk the road of internal communication too far; an ideator on the other hand may not necessarily be a good executor. Thus, it is critical for an IC professional to have the bandwidth for both ideation as well as successful execution. In this case it appears Anna lacked ideation, new and innovate ideas by nature. To me, personally, the manager’s decision comes out to be fair considering he had been holding discussions at regular intervals. Anna on the other hand needs to realise that performance evaluation is done on the grounds of innovation, fresh ideas, ability to foresee situations, ability to manage situations along with ability to ensure scare free execution of the plan on paper and not on the basis of efforts put into doing a job.

    However, in such cases the morale of the employee goes down tremendiously resulting in non productivity. I feel a manager in such cases can play a very important role by guiding the employee and ensuring one learns from his or her peers to grow in the organisation. One can always learn on the job and gain skills in order to meet the organisational expectations.

    PS: I’ll be happy to know your views on my observation. A feedback from domain experts like you could help me gather a different perspective to this case study.

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