How to get to the next level of leadership


How to get to the next level of leadership

Hitting the glass ceiling, being over-looked for promotion or perhaps you are just head down and working hard and looking forward to promotion……. but getting nowhere?

Getting to that next level may not be all about performance, hard effort and working long hours.

According to Harvey J Coleman from his book Empowering Yourself, how well you do your job may have very little to do with how successful you are in your professional career.  Coleman suggests that how well you do your prescribed work will account for only about 10% of your overall success.

Coleman suggests that career success is based on the 3 key elements of Performance, Image and Exposure (PIE):

Performance:  Basically, this is what you are paid to do. Just turning up and doing your job is the bear minimum expected of you. For those of you that are just in it for the pay-check, this is what you need to do.

For those that have been looking for promotion then the next level is to deliver what you need plus. In other words, exceed customer expectations.

However, Coleman suggests that this is only 10% of the equation and yet this is often where most employees concentrate their efforts when they are looking to impress.

Over 90% of a decision is based on a person’s image and exposure.

Image: this is what other people think of you.  Your personal brand. This is far tougher to change than people think and does not just happen overnight. This concept is further endorsed in Miller Heiman’s book, Successful Large Account Management, where they talk about the “Buy-Sell Hierarchy. Within this theme the authors write how perception is what other make of you and that despite all your efforts if the other party’s perception of you does not change then they will only ever perceive you as they feel fit.

Within your organisation and amongst your peers are you seen as a dynamic go getter?  Or as a person who sees the glass as half empty? How can you evidence an image that fits the culture and environment in which you are targeting success?

Exposure:  Who knows about you and what you do?  Does your boss know what you do?  Does their boss know you and what you do?  Do others inside and outside your organization know anything about you?

Have you considered an action plan that can place you as a thought leader or expert in your subject matter? How is this evidenced?

One interesting opinion on exposure is provided by Wall Street veteran Carla Harris in the following video
Carla Harris: Why you need a sponsor

Coleman suggests that working with our peers, our manager and our sponsor is crucial to helping us gain exposure to a wider audience.

In my series of articles around Executive presence published earlier this year, I used the examples set out by Scot Eblin from his book The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success to consider what an individual might need to develop and attributes they may need to let go of as they move into leadership.

The three articles consider personal presence here , team presence here and organisational presence here

I was interested to read further thoughts on this topic from Harrison Monarth, author of Executive Presence–The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO.

Taken from his work he defines executive presence as having 5 core elements:

These all evidence a concept of image, perception and exposure as being highly important and with the performance being a given.

I wonder what might be holding you back if you have been stuck at the same level despite your hard efforts on performance.

For a free evaluation please contact me at


About Tim Anderson
Tim has over thirty years’ experience within the sales environment as a sales person, a sales manager, a sales director and as a mentor and coach. He has run sales teams as a sales director within the IT sector as a direct re seller, a VAR and as an MSP. He has developed and exited from two IT businesses and supported three training and development organisations to grow their businesses by supporting their commercial offering. He has taken these teams through change initiatives . Tim continues to develop himself as a coach and has successfully taken his coaching into executive and leadership coaching. He has combined coaching with management and leadership development and regularly supports senior managers to take their next step upward in their careers. He is a qualified coach and a Chartered Manager and also holds a degree in professional consulting.
One Comment
  1. Yashvardhan Shukla 02/10/2019 at 12:37 pm Reply

    Well summarized Tim, very insightful. Thanks for the coaching and guidance over last couple of months I find that very objective and enabling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *