Ever wonder how Harry got that corner office or Susan landed the executive suite?

Penn Schoen Berland from Georgetown University wanted to know, so he conducted 303 interviews with senior business executives at U.S. companies with at least a 1,000 employes.

And this is what he found.

How Managers Make Promotion Decisions

The Take-Aways, or Why CEO’s Suck at Doing Your Job

If you want to get a promotion hands down these are the five areas you need to thrive at.

1.  Excelling in your position

2.  Leadership potential

3.  Strong Interpersonal skills

4.  Job related skills

5.  History of strong performance reviews.

None of these seemed like major shockers to me.

I knew job performance and actually producing good work would be a per-requisite to advancement in any job, but I had a fond appreciation for the fact that they need to have healthy interpersonal skills and leadership potential.

That’s where I’m sure the candidates who came in 2nd and 3rd failed.

Lot’s of people are good at their jobs, but not everyone is blessed with the talent to lead or communicate effectively with a team.

And that’s why they continue running their cash registers, cleaning their floors, or making their cold calls.

Ironically, reality TV actually demonstrates this concept PERFECTLY.

Watch one episode of Undercover Boss and I’ll have you convinced.

If you don’t know the concept already it’s fairly straightforward.  A CEO from a well known company like NASCAR, Rally’s, or DirectTV goes “undercover” as a ground floor employee.

They take on the work of an “everyday” employee and observe how they are coached by managers as well as to learn what working for the company is like at the most basic level.

However, I find it fascinating that without fail almost everyone of the CEO’s struggles with the tasks and are even threatened by their very own employees with being fired.

They can’t even manage the most rudimentary work of their business, yet they are leading the company.

It goes back to the value of leadership and interpersonal skills.

Executives and managers don’t have to be superb at all the tasks involved under them, but they HAVE to have LEADERSHIP and INTERPERSONAL SKILLS.

That ability to connect, to inspire, and to make the right decisions is really the heart of what it takes to make it to those top positions.

Oh, and one more thing I found interesting in this infographic.

84% of the surveyed leaders said “favoritism occurs in their organization.”

This is a fact of life and it will probably never go away.  We buy our favorite products, we watch our favorite shows, we play our favorite music… we are going to have favorite employees.

And more often then not it isn’t always the guy who sold the most widgets, or saved the company the most money.

They’re the people we just like.

They make us smile when we are at work.  The office is better because of them.  They add to the company culture in a positive way.

And if you looked closely enough, you would likely see they are strong in interpersonal skills.

Starting to see the pattern?

How to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

The key to remarkable interpersonal skills is knowing how to connect with those around you. Your boss, coworkers, friends, family, you name it.

People are unique individuals and each have preferences when it comes to how you communicate with them. Some like short and sweet, some like details.  Some like facts and figures, others work off of emotions.

The problem is none of us go out and tell the world how exactly we prefer to be worked with. So you chat away at the cubicle annoying the heck out of Bob, while the whole time he’s thinking, “when is this going to end?”

Your emails, presentations, and meetings can all suffer from the same communication mistakes and you wouldn’t even know it.

So if you want to know how to connect with those around you and finally take your interpersonal skills where they need to be for that next promotion I suggest you seriously consider watching the video below and signing up for the People Profiler.

The People Profiler is now open at www.thepeopleprofiler.com

image courtesy of max yustas