How many times have you sat in a conference room listening to your fearless leader drone on about one initiative or another and you wonder who put this bozo in charge? How many times have you walked by the guy who is perched up at his desk gloating over his latest promotion and you think someone put this bozo in charge?
Well, you are not alone. Many people who work in organizations where the hierarchy is very organized can pick out quite a few characters who they think would be better off shoveling hay than leading any sort of team. As onlookers we tend to be rather critical of others flaws and in many cases see us much more suited to the job than they are. After all, we went to a better school, had a better internship, have worked here longer, and are all around a more likable person, right?
But, if you really step back and look at what these bozos are doing and then do a comprehensive audit of yourself, you may find the reasons a bit more clear. So, if you are one of those people who think your position in your company is someone else's fault or that someone else is to blame for the fact that you are not where you wanted to be, then I recommend taking the following steps to getting where you want to be.
1. Assess the big picture. Do you really like your job? The Company? Is your discontent over the fact that you are not where you want to be in the company or that you would really rather not be in the company at all? (If that is the case, you may have a lot more work to do) If you could have any position in the company, what would it be? What qualities do you think a person in that position would need to be successful at the job? What type of person would you have to be to be able to do that job? Figure out exactly what you want and then determine what it would take to achieve it.
2. Tell your managers or supervisors. A lot of times people are afraid to tell their managers or their boss that they have their sights set on greater things within the company. Perhaps you feel intimidated or you think your supervisor doesn't like you so you could be sabotaging your own efforts in the long run. If that is the case, then choose someone else. Assess the company and determine what value you could add. Without sounding like you have all of the answers, present your ideas to a decision maker and tell them what your goals are. Do not sit back and wait for them to notice you. Do something that is worth noticing and make your aspirations clear.
3. Stop worrying about what others are doing. One of the most common complaints I hear from people working in office settings is that "so and so did such and such, and then I couldn't do what I was supposed do" etc. You can never control other people but you can decide not to give them the energy and instead focus on what you are doing. Think about what you want and what you need to do to get there. That does not mean that you step on everyone's toes to get there. It just means that you take responsibility for your own direction and do not let someone else decide for you. As long as there are offices, there will be office politics. You have two choices - you can either focus on your work and stay true to your goal or if you can't do your work and you really hate it, get out of there.
4. Clarify your values. If you are not able to express your most important values through your day to day work, eventually it is going to get to you. What is important to you? What values are so important that you MUST be able to fulfill them at work. Figure out a way to do so if you are not. It can be the difference between misery and job satisfaction.
All of us have worked with people we think have no business being in positions of leadership but it is a waste of out talent and energy to worry about them. If you see something you don't like, think about how you can make it better and then get busy making it better.