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3 REASONS YOU CAN'T TAKE SHORTCUTS ON YOUR PATH TO SUCCESS

So, you’ve got a bunch of friends who keep getting promoted and landing awesome new jobs (with accompanying awesome titles) and you’re feeling like your career is falling behind. You just can’t stop asking yourself how you’ll ever catch up. Remember that old story about the tortoise and the hare? Well, as someone who’s always been in a hurry to get to the next level, I’ve come to realize that slow and steady is actually a really great approach. There is simply no substitute for hard-earned experience if you truly want to be successful in your chosen field.

DEPTH GIVES YOU CREDIBILITY

The higher up you get in an organization, the more people will look to you for assurance that you actually know what you’re doing. And here’s the truth: There’s going to be a lot of stuff that you’re asked to weigh in on that you actually don’t know much about and you’re going to feel really unsure of yourself a lot more than you’d like. But if you have real depth in just one specific area—what one of my bosses used to call “your hit pocket skill”—then you’ll have one place in which you know you’re adding value to the team. And that’s where you will turn when you need a confidence boost. This in turn will make you more comfortable to be more vulnerable and open to asking questions in the areas that are foreign to you. Leaders never have all of the answers, and one of the greatest traits of good managers is the willingness to acknowledge what they don’t know and ask for help. So, if you know you’re kicking ass and adding value because of your depth and expertise in one area, then you’re going to be far more likely to ask for help with your weaker bits. And that will make you far more well-rounded and less likely to have big, ugly blind spots that could drive your team into trouble.

DEPTH GIVES YOU CREDIBILITY

Leadership’s so much about your ability to influence others, especially with the pace of change in organizations today, and a major cultural shift away from “command and control” style leadership. Ultimately—even when you have a big title like President or Chief Something—people are not going to really follow you if you can’t inspire and influence them to do so. And it’s not just the folks that report to you—very often the toughest audiences are your peers or other stakeholders you need to get onboard with your team’s plan.

YOU NEED TO HAVE THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS

Leadership’s so much about your ability to influence others, especially with the pace of change in organizations today, and a major cultural shift away from “command and control” style leadership. Ultimately—even when you have a big title like President or Chief Something—people are not going to really follow you if you can’t inspire and influence them to do so. And it’s not just the folks that report to you—very often the toughest audiences are your peers or other stakeholders you need to get onboard with your team’s plan.

Caution