Will I get promoted? It’s a question that often goes through the minds of employees and one that leaders are challenged by frequently. There may be a variety of reasons, but, in my experience, the No. 1 reason people do not get promoted is they lack “team fit”.
It’s a soft term, but it is an essential quality for moving up the food chain in an organization, regardless of its size. We’ve had many examples of individuals here at Marco where they had the product knowledge, drive and ambition, but were passed over for a promotion because they didn’t connect with their team members and had little or no followership.
Sure, intelligence and skills are important and weigh in a decision, but often they are not the deciding factor.
Assessing team fit is my primary motive when I interview prospective employees (or consider someone for a promotion) and I even tell them “I’m not here to ask you trick questions or assess your skills. What I am trying to do is determine if you will fit our team.” We have a casual conversation to help me understand their personality, career goals, and how they would fit our culture.
Here are a few questions I ask to help determine team fit:
Tell me about your circle of influence.
I want this conversation to come easy. So I let the individual decide by suggesting they tell me about their mentors, family, friends, trusted advisors, etc. This often takes us on an interesting path, and I learn a lot about the person’s range of relationships, influences and interests in their lives.
How do you prefer to be managed?
I ask the individual to tell me a little bit about a recent manager or supervisor and what they liked or disliked about their style. This helps me determine if they would thrive in our environment of self-discipline and personal accountability. We expect our team members to get their job done without a supervisor looking over their shoulders. It’s the No. 2 reason employees share why they like working here in our annual employee survey. They must like it, too.
How would others describe you?
Likability is essential and it’s hard to fake. We operate in a service organization where we have to rely on many people to achieve results. This requires strong team and customer relationships. Likability cannot be taught. People either have it or they don’t. They can still be part of an organization, but it certainly diminishes their opportunities for promotion.
Do you have followers?
I have shared my definition of leadership in several previous blogs: A leader is someone who has followers. Look behind you, is anyone following? Do your co-workers consider you a go-to person? Are you invited to participate in company meetings and social events? Do you consider yourself pretty well connected? If the answer to these is yes, odds are you’re in a pretty good position for a promotion.
Not all cultures are the same, so team fit may be different in your organization. But it is important to understand how you fit. If you’re honest with yourself, these tips will help you better understand your chances for a promotion.