Multi-Directional Career Management

Posted on May 9, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Up. Down. Laterally.
A career was once defined as a lifelong forty hour per week job during a predefined period of time for which a person was monetarily compensated. In the twenty first century the term career has taken on a whole new identity. Today a career is viewed as the summation of both paid and unpaid benefits such as continuing education, community service, flex time and the creation of powerful networks. As a result of this evolution the historical structure of management hierarchy has drastically changed. In 2009 a successful employee is an empowered employee that has adapted a multi-directional management approach to navigating their career.

The days of a subservient employee being micromanaged by a direct supervisor are long gone in a successful team oriented workplace. Nonetheless, it is still very true that a direct supervisor is a key asset to a thriving career. Empowered employees must understand how to effectively partner with their supervisor by “managing up.” This process starts by knowing and understanding yourself. An employee must identify their optimal working style for maximum success and any differences with their supervisor’s style. Open communication through one-on-one meetings is vital to working through these differences and establishing a common ground. An employee that is trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of their supervisor is an employee positioned for success.

In past decades a manager’s success was only measured by their actions and those that they directly managed. The idea of “managing down” was vital. In the current market many organizations have adopted a matrix atmosphere where leadership by influence is required. Therefore, the success of an employee is now being measured by the success of the teams they lead and the willingness of others to follow them. Possessing servant leadership skills is essential for an employee to manage their team. Managing others with an overall theme of mutual respect for all employees regardless of title or position is the golden rule. A leader must inspire their team to stretch beyond their normal limits to achieve great things while remaining humble and approachable.

The largest portion of the working environment is composed of an employee’s peers. The ability to “manage laterally” and control the perceptions that are projected to those peers is essential. A successful employee must embody an accommodating and knowledgeable persona. It is no longer acceptable to just be one of many in the crowd. They must position themselves as a subject matter expert that creates undeniable value for the organization. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder-so is value. Therefore, a person effectively managing their career must periodically check their blind spots and actively seek feedback. This will allow the successful employee to navigate their career and avoid any detours on the path to ultimate success.

Managing a successful career in all directions is a crucial but often unrecognized part of a fruitful career. Many new opportunities are created by taking the time to build strong partnerships with those above, below, and next to you. Empowered employees must think of themselves as the captain of a ship traversing through turbulent waves. Though conquering the wave can be challenging, you can prepare yourself to effectively “Navigate Your Career”.

Yvette J. Lincoln is President and Chief Executive Officer of High Tide Empowerment, LLC, a Phoenix Moon, LLC family company. High Tide Empowerment is a professional and career development company that provides services to inspire and enable individuals to accomplish their professional and personal goals. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please call 856-665-0850 or visit

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