Álvaro Cárcel, Saltor Talen Executive Search director
In general, special attention is usually paid to personality traits that are considered, almost unanimously, to be positive levers when it comes to advancing in a managerial career.
For example, there is a general consensus that behaviors such as courage, self-confidence, resilience, tolerance for failure, or the ability to make quick (and accurate) decisions are valued positively, and everyone occupying a position of leadership should have.
Undoubtedly, a person willing to assume responsibilities in an organization must identify which of these behaviors are present "as standard", and which must be worked on urgently.
But just as important (or even more so), is identifying those traits that may be hindering, even boycotting, a managerial career.
Here comes into play one of the key agilities that, from our point of view, it is absolutely necessary to enhance to progress professionally, and that is sometimes forgotten, or given a secondary role. I speak of self-knowledge, or self-awareness.
In profiles occupying managerial positions, sometimes due, among other things, to a "poorly managed ego", it is surprising how often we find a flagrant lack of knowledge of their own blind spots. And without this prior awareness, it is impossible for the person to detect the reasons that may be hindering their professional progression.
What are those behaviors that can squander the career of a person with high growth potential?
The list could be extensive, but I would like to focus on those that we most commonly find when accompanying managerial profiles in their professional careers:
1. Too direct communication: In general, assertiveness and the ability to transmit direct messages are considered positive qualities. Many people value and prefer it. However, there are people with a more indirect communication style, who may feel attacked or offended by certain ways of communicating. Achieving a balance, and being able to adapt the messages depending on the interlocutor, can be key to achieving more cohesive teams.
2. Impatience: Again, focusing on results and finding quick solutions is a positive thing. But constantly living with "low beams" and not being able, at times, to slow down and put some distance, can mean losing long-term strategic vision.
3. Inability to prioritize: It seems obvious, but it is one of the most common reasons for failure. Especially in convulsive or changing environments, where projects abound and time is scarce, it is essential to get the priorities right and focus on them. Time is limited and must be invested correctly.
4. Inability to delegate: Linked to the previous point, in an environment where time is scarce and the "to do list" only makes it grow daily, not being able to delegate tasks in the team can generate a snowball that ends being too big.
5. Arrogance: Not recognizing one's own mistakes, and not being able at times to put the interests of the organization above departmental or personal interests, can be a mistake with serious consequences.
6. Lack of “atmospheric vision”: It is absolutely crucial to understand the idiosyncrasies and dynamics of an organization from the beginning. Only from that place is it possible to transform. Each organization, depending on its history, size, sector, geography and many other criteria, has its own personality and unique ways of doing things. Some organizations will be more permeable, others more intransigent. But a person's inability to read the environment in which he works leads to frustration and failure.
7. Lack of vision: A leader is expected to have a clear objective, and also, who knows how to transmit it and motivate his teams. If this does not occur, mistrust and lack of credibility are automatically generated.
8. Inability to build relationships: Not only with team members, but also with other departments, administration staff, external providers, and any other interest group. Ignoring the weight of stakeholder relationships and management is a major miscalculation.
Summer, the time of year par excellence where most people disconnect from the work environment, is a good time to look back, become aware of what is not working, and work on an action plan to make the necessary adjustments.