Why your managers goals matter more than your goals

With more than 10 years of experience in the finance recruitment market in Sydney, I have seen and heard a lot. One thing that I hear from time to time is people’s frustration when they miss out on an internal promotion opportunity. I often take the time to understand the individuals’ perspective on why they think they missed out. In that assessment, I am gobsmacked by the number of people that had a blank face when I asked this question of them, “What were the goals that your manager had committed to achieving?” So many people just don’t know. Or they think they know but lack any clarity.

What right do you have to be disappointed in not being promoted when you haven’t taken the time out to determine the correct target?

Let’s get one thing straight. Promotions only happen when a person is ultra-important to their manager or their organization. Promotion may often be wrapped up in the nicely packaged gift boxes that say “we want to recognise and develop our staff”. However, the truth is that your manager or organization will only promote you when you are ultra-important to them or if they are fearful of losing you.

If you ever received a promotion and you didn’t see it coming, that’s a warning sign for you that you may be operating blind. Don’t expect to get a promotion in the same manner again. Let’s just say you may have just gotten lucky this time around.

So what does that have to do with you knowing your managers’ goals? Well, otherwise how can you know what to do to become indispensable to your manager. You must put time and effort into understanding what your managers’ target is. And also understanding the implication if they don’t achieve their targets. If that implication is significant to them then you know that you have struck gold. Once you are clear on your manager goals, you need to over-commit and overwork to ensure that you make your managers’ life easier by helping them achieve that goal. Anything else that you spend your time on is just noise. Granted that these other things are important and need to be done, however, you won’t get promoted by doing these things. Even if you are working till mid-night, or your power-points are really pretty, it’s not where your manager will pay attention.


By working on the things that truly matter to your manager (and your organization) you will also start building the right personal brand internally. You will start becoming known as being valuable and as a person who always delivers. This also gets you better known internally and when those difficult project opportunities come up, guess who gets tapped on the shoulder to work on those projects?

Being “likeable” doesn’t actually mean that you need to be the most liked or most popular person at work. Rather, it’s more about how you well you communicate with others and whether you are operating with a set of values that tend to serve the interests of many rather than just you.

So instead of waiting for your manager to set a meeting with you to discuss your goals, you need to put the time in their diary to discuss their goals instead first. Don’t get me wrong, your goals are important, but they will only be met if your managers’ goals are met first.

If you want to be supported in your career direction, contact your Reo Group Consultant today.