Simplifier in Science, Technology, and Life

Leadership

Growing in an Organization

Man Businessmen Woman

Man Businessmen Woman

Excelling at a job and career requires thinking in terms business and organization in addition to functional competencies like engineering skills. Following is advice focused on organizational aspects for people early in their careers trained in their respective functional areas.

  • Think Big. I have seen people who aimed high from the beginning and did manage their way to it (e.g., becoming a VP in just ten years in a large company).
  • People skills is a must. You should be thinking of people or organizational challenges all the time, or you’ll miss the mindset to rise significantly up.
  • Many people complain about their team leads, managers or senior leaders. This usually happens because these senior are working at a higher level of responsibility and ambiguity than you are. You should rather be thinking what would you have done if you were in their position. Understand the challenges they have, by directly asking if needed. This will not only help develop your relationship with them, but also position you to develop the skills needed faster, without yet being in the position of responsibility that they are in!
  • There is a lot of entropy/disorder in any team/organization, and unfortunately also a lot of people who (unintentionally) increase it. Be the one who reduces the risks and brings order to the chaos, whose judgment can be trusted. Keep in mind for this that the real challenges are often not on technology side (in other words, if you think technology challenges are more critical, you are perhaps missing the big picture).
  • Try to become irreplaceable for the team/company in your project and beyond (by spreading your knowledge, not withholding it). In my experience, this will not come in your way as [5] suggests. Do not however get limited to the tools and technologies specific to the company, or else your market value may suffer within a few years.
  • Never say (or even feel) anything bad about anyone ever, keeping Hanlon’s razor in mind [1]. Illuminate others and clarity instead.
  • Do not let yourself be masked from the political issues around. A good manager would aim to mask you [4], but that can curb your growth since you won’t develop the skills needed to master and survive corporate politics while being masked.
  • There are books available today that teach you corporate politics [2-3], showing how easy it is for anyone to do it, and how difficult it is to counter. Reading these books should be a required reading for anyone aiming to go significantly high. And trust me, it’s better to learn this from books or from other people’s experience than learning this stuff the hard way. (The latter would be painful for one, and second, you may never actually learn.) I have read [2] and felt that I should have read it earlier.
  • Ask questions whenever you do not understand something or if your own thoughts do not align with the decisions being made. Of course, be polite in this (e.g., “I was wondering if option X also has been considered” instead of “why are we not going for option X”). People around would be happy to explain to you while also developing trust in you, and often would take the suggestion if it will actually reduce their mental burden. The sooner the better in asking questions.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor
  2. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0743262549/
  3. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0312332181/
  4. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16488447
  5. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16489904

Cover Photo: Pixabay

{Originally posted on Hacker News [1, 2, 3] (total 9 points, 0 comments)}

{Posted on LinkedIn (69 likes, 7 comments)}

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