Not Getting a Promotion? Develop Your Personal Leadership Statement.

"I want to be a leader (or a manager). I've been working at this company for ages and just can't get a promotion I deserve. I know I have what it takes to manage teams and make this company money." These are the types of statements I hear and read frequently from the prospective clients. The frustration can take over and cloud your judgment, preventing you from finding the most effective way to get to the next step.

Depending on the individual's career history, I ask: "What is your personal leadership statement?" In other words, I want to understand a person's leadership vision, beliefs, goals, and approaches? What truly makes them stand out from the crowd filled with so much talent who has proven that leadership doesn't have to be formal.

Start building or improving your leadership skills before you get a title you believe that you deserve.

An informal leader can mobilize forces into action by using their personal and professional skills to motivate and influence others to work towards a common goal. I would argue that the leadership journey starts with the informal abilities and extensive learning of different styles and leadership models. This knowledge and action will become evident and your world will see you as a leader.

The important point that you can't miss is building the world of people who can help and notice your efforts. The world filled with inspirational people, who can teach you and support you. The promotion will come your way, if you are clear (internally and externally) that you are the agent of change who can communicate the vision and deliver tangible results.

How to build your personal leadership statement?

What potentially can work for many individuals who are passionate about the idea of becoming a manager or a leader is to start with the basic knowledge of leadership principles or models. This applies to individual contributors, entrepreneurs, or even some of the current managers who are looking to get promoted to more senior roles. Read books on leadership, learn what experienced leaders are recommending, take classes, ask your employer if there is a leadership training program you can join at work, etc. Take charge of your own learning and don't stop. It is a lifelong commitment, but you have to start somewhere.

Take an inventory of your achievements and successes. What is your story to date? I've recently written an article about building your success story. You can check it out here. Then, take a leadership orientation assessment to learn about your preferences and philosophies that you are inclined to employ. What are your strengths and what else can you add to your knowledge?

Note: There are many free and fee-based resources you can find online. If you are working with a coach or a mentor, they will most likely recommend at least one of the assessments that suits your specific situation best.

Next, develop your personal statement. Start with answering the below questions and see where they lead you in your self-discovery.

1. What is the purpose of leadership?

2. What is your leadership vision?

3. What goals are you striving or aspiring to accomplish when leading people?

4. What leadership styles and models mostly resonate with you?

5. Do you know when to apply each style best?

6. What do you believe the most successful leadership approach is in any given situation?

7. How will you influence people if given this important opportunity?


Here is an excerpt from my personal leadership statement.

In the last two decades of my career, I took on formal and informal leadership roles and helped the companies set and communicate vision and build cohesive and committed teams who were inspired to meet the most challenging goals.

As my leadership orientations are primarily symbolic and political, I believe that providing vision and inspiration by telling stories and connecting to people through relatable experiences is essential to get individuals motivated to achieve what they might think is tough or impossible (Bolman & Deal, 1988). I also believe that as a leader, I advocate for the right goals and am willing to address conflicting priorities and situations to meet the objectives.