The real reason you’re not getting promoted

You have all the right technical skills and are really good at your job. But somehow you never seem to get selected for management positions. Most likely, that’s because you’re not making the right impression.

Managers need a range of very specific social skills in addition to their technical abilities. So if you want to get ahead, you need to think about how to improve the way you interact with your colleagues, so that everyone can see your management potential.

Start by socialising regularly with the people who work with you, and make a point of being just as polite to the juniors as you are to the bosses. It’ll greatly enhance your credibility if you treat them with courtesy, and show your appreciation for anything they do for you.

Treat your bosses differently in one respect though. They need to be kept informed, so unobtrusively make sure they always know what you’re doing, and are aware of results, milestones, and potential future issues.

Get to meetings early, and network with the other participants as they arrive. Be genuinely interested in everyone you talk to, encourage them to open up about themselves, and include just enough information about yourself so that they get to know you as a person.

Keep notes on people’s birthdays, spouses and children’s names. It’s enormously impressive when you seem to remember them effortlessly.

Send congratulations for promotions, weddings and so on, and condolences when needed. People remember kindnesses like that forever.

These days, emails and messages seem to dominate our working lives, but use face to face conversations, phone calls and video chat whenever possible to personalise your interactions.

Use very clear language in written communications, and build the relationship by making sure the recipient knows that you think that they matter.

Use simple but personal salutations at beginning and end, clear subject lines, and don’t forward messages with dozens of previous recipients.

Be courteous and always apologise if you need to interrupt a conversation, a meeting, or someone who’s concentrating.

Follow your organisation’s dress code, but add an additional 5 percent. That way you’ll both fit in and yet stand out from the crowd. Learn to give really genuine smiles and to make good eye contact. Develop good posture, and a relaxed and confident manner.

Build good rapport by listening closely to all your colleagues, and show by your gestures and facial expressions that you’re receptive to their ideas. Show people your values by the questions you ask rather than the statement you make.

Everyone finds it difficult to have something to say when they bump into someone important to their career. So always have a ‘20 second presentation’ prepared just in case!

In fact, consciously prepare for every conversation you have at work. That way you’ll maximise its effectiveness, whether you’re seeking information or cooperation.

And before long, you’ll notice that senior people are taking an interest in you, and you’ll start getting promoted.