What it really takes to get that next promotion

The traits that got you to middle management may not help you scale the corporate heights. Here’s a look at what might get you there.
FORTUNE — Dear Annie: A friend of mine sent me your column about getting promoted from the individual “star” level into management, but I already made that jump a few years ago at a different company. In fact, I’m starting to regret having left there because, ever since I signed on with my current employer, my career seems to have stalled out. My performance reviews have been great, my department has had several big successes, and I think I’m ready for the next level. My boss, however, disagrees. His main criticism is that I’m “too detail-oriented.”

So I have two questions. First, is there really such a thing as being too detail-oriented, or could that be a smokescreen for something else he doesn’t want to tell me? And second, I’ve been extremely attentive to detail all my life — which usually has been an advantage — so do I have to change my personality to get promoted? (Is that even possible?) –Stuck in Neutral

Dear Stuck: No doubt you aren’t the only one wondering. Getting promoted is tougher than it used to be, for a couple of reasons. First, “the global recession has been a factor,” notes Stu Crandell, a senior vice president at Minneapolis-based leadership development and coaching firm PDI Ninth House. “Organizations let so many people go that lots of positions got consolidated, so there are fewer management jobs to move into.”