This survey by the Association of Asian Americans in Investment Management reports (via The New York Times DealBook column) the nature of discrimination and bias faced by Asian Americans:
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are often stereotyped as lacking leadership skills. At investment firms, they “fill middle management ranks, but their percentages plummet in senior management and C-suites.” Respondents said they were often tapped as technical experts and benefited from the perception that they are good workers. But their advancement stalled as they sought more senior roles that emphasize networking and communication skills.
Most professionals fail to realize that the competencies that made them successful in their early corporate roles are not necessarily the attributes that will allow them to outshine in roles higher up on the ladder. These desirable qualities would include forming coalitions, managing relationships and alliances, determining where and when to shift one’s focus, and learning to appreciate different perspectives.
Work out what you need to get to the top and fight the perceptions
- Evaluate where your development priorities should be. Find out how you can acquire the necessary skills and competencies. Go get them. Become more visible to management and situate yourself for a promotion.
- Network wisely. Understanding who must be won over to your point of view is vital for training for your promotion. Spend time cultivating meaningful relationships.
- Ask for honest feedback—not just from your boss but also from well-respected peers, customers, mentors, and others. Confront problems quickly lest they metastasize.
Idea for Impact: In today’s world, your skills and promotability are your responsibility.