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Getting Promoted Can Be a Challenge

A number of years ago, I heard of a manager at a large global company who fell under this stereotype. The day following his promotion, he stood in front of his extended team of 45 employees and said, "My current role is just a pit stop on my way to corporate. So, you people do your job, stay off my radar screen, and we'll get along just fine. " Over the next 18 months, he acted exactly that way. Results mattered -- relationships did not. While these leaders do receive promotions, a recent study that my colleagues and I conducted shows that jerks are promoted in spite of, rather than because of, their poor interpersonal skills. According to the online poll, which analyzed 1,650 promotions, 92% said having poor interpersonal skills hinders advancement in their organization.

Why do so many people believe that it's the self-promoters who do best in the workplace?The key to success in business is to produce results while maintaining relationships. Self-promoters produce results, a main benchmark for promotion, at the cost of relationships. When a manager is faced with the decision to advance a self-promoter or an employee who values relationships over results, the manager will most likely choose the employee who produces strong results.

However, our research reveals that the combination of strong interpersonal skills and strong results are by far the best predictor of whether an employee will be respected as a leader after a promotion. Leaders who lack interpersonal skills are not respected by their employees, and a disrespected leader wields little true influence in the workplace. Thus, employees who place high value on both results and relationships are most likely to excel and exert influence in their company.

If after your assessment you discover you need to change, follow these four steps for navigating crucial conversations -- high-stakes, politically risky or emotionally volatile situations -- in a way that generates results and improves relationships.

  • Change your emotions. In stressful moments, separate people from the problem. Try to see others as reasonable, rational and decent human beings -- even if your opinions clash. Jerks don't bother with this principle -- they make harsh judgments of others and act out those judgments through mistreatment.
  • Help others feel safe. Effective leaders find a way to be both 100% honest and 100% respectful. They do both by starting high-stakes conversations by assuring the other person of their positive intentions and their respect. When others feel respected and trust your motives, they let their guard down and begin to listen -- even if the topic is unpleasant.
  • Present just the facts. Respected leaders describe problems in factual terms -- stripping out the negative labels and punitive conclusions. Without the facts, judgmental statements are far from motivating and create animosity and resistance.
  • Invite dialogue. Effective leaders create dialogue, whilethose who are not settle for monologue. After confidently sharing your views, invite others to do so as well. If you are open to hearing others' points of view, they'll be more open to yours.

IT Jobs Down

Janco Associates took a look at the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that the total employment of IT professionals fell 0.66% in the third quarter of 2010 compared to a year earlier.

Seasonally Adjusted Employment (in thousands)
September 2009 September 2010 % Change
Telecommunications 967 914 -5.43%
Data processing, hosting and related services 250 244 -2.52%
Other information services 134 142 5.51%
Computer systems design and related services 1,426 1,459 2.33%
Total 2,777 2,758 -0.66%
Source: Janco Associates Inc.
Lunch Crunch

U.S. workers fall below the worldwide average when it comes to taking a full lunch break; just 30% said they do so, compared with 40% worldwide. Nearly as many U.S. workers (29%) said they eat at their desks so they can keep working. The biggest fans of taking a full lunch break are in France (58%), and in Italy and India (48% each). But the nation where workers are least likely to take a full lunch is Spain, where 15% said they don't break for lunch at all.

IT Median Salaries January 2010 versus January 2011

Median IT Salaries

Benefit Trends 2009 - 2016

Fringe Benefits

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