It may have been Brutus’ style, but these days you don’t need to stab your superior to death in order to make your move up the corporate ladder. Ways to get promoted are vast and varied, but at their core, they all share the same components – if you want to get promoted at work, you need to be persistent, practical, and professional. Working your butt off doesn’t hurt either.
Firstly, have a think. You may consider your bosses’ job to be a walk in the park, but could you fill their role better? I mean, obviously, your mum thinks so, but could you – really? Secondly, drop any sense of entitlement. If a promotion at work looms for you, you need to earn it.
Next, get a good understanding of the company structure and the nitty-gritty of your superior’s job description. Chances are there’s an awful lot more they’re involved in than you can see in the day-to-day, and you need a grasp of the intrinsic, as well as the tangible. Think being part of senior management is all bossing people about and schmoozing clients? It’s not.
Sing your own praises.
Who’s going to toot your horn if you won’t? And no, that isn’t a euphemism. If you’ve had great personal results, note them down. If you played a key role in the successful delivery of a company project, make sure you keep records of the part you played. When it comes time for your annual review, you’ll be armed with an arsenal of real, factual ammunition with which to nail that promotion. You may be great, but simply saying so just doesn’t cut it.
Work on your network.
Developing key relationships internally and externally is a crucial part of getting that promotion at work. You’re not going to be best mates with everyone at the office. It’s best you realize that, deal with it, and get on with the job at hand. Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters worked together for years, and I don’t think anyone imagined they were hanging out together after hours, scoffing tacos and watching Game of Thrones.
That said, so much in a work environment comes down to the strength of your network. Get back to basics and walk over and speak to someone rather than putting a query or request down in an email. It’s true that everyone is busy outside of the workplace, but try not to miss the annual office party or team building days. It strengthens your internal network, builds team spirit, and gives you the chance to interact with peers and management alike in a whole different environment.
Don’t bring the drama, mama.
Workplace drama is a major time suck and such a focus stealer. Office conflict is an occasional, if inevitable, part of people working together in a close environment, but if you’re always first to fan the flames and making a mountain out of a molehill it will be noticed.
Courage under fire.
The way you deal with issues as they crop up in your day-to-day environment is key. Do you throw your toys out of the cot? Deflect blame? Stamp your feet and expect someone else to deal with it? Or do you take a deep breath, come in prepared and get set to work at solutions to claw your way out of the mire? How you work when things are going badly is just as, if not more important as how you operate when things are running smoothly. Someone who’s proactive and assertive is going to be looked on far more favorably when it comes to promotion than the person who whines about problems.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
But, as a CEO I asked recently pointed out, you need to question your questions before you question. Confused? Asking for clarification and advice on a task can project confidence and help you get it right the first time. Asking about something you already know the answer to or have been told is just a waste of everyone’s time.
Your attitude matters.
Engagement or disengagement from your work environment is apparent from everything – the way you dress for work, the way you interact with co-workers, and even the way you sit at your desk. If you work with a scowl on and sporting a pair of headphones, people may assume you’re not thrilled to be there and don’t want to be approached. Attitude does count for a lot, but your entire approach to work can’t just be sunshine and rainbows. If you’re not delivering results, a good attitude is far less relevant.
Go big or go home.
Don’t hold back with your big ideas, but make sure the time is right to bring them up. If your boss is putting together a major client tender and you burst in to pitch something completely irrelevant, that’s certainly not ideal. Of course, management wants to hear any good ideas, especially something that’s come off your own back which could help the company run better.
See the big picture.
It can quickly become apparent who has the best interests of the company at heart. That doesn’t have to be at odds with prioritising yourself and your career. The person who says ‘that’s not in my job description’ too many times will end up staying exactly where they are, within the confines of their job description.
Finally, don’t be afraid to have that ‘what happens after you’re gone?’ conversation. They’re not dying. Any good boss should have a succession plan for themselves and a clear idea of contenders. It’s not a taboo subject, and the confidence to have big goals is part of the vision of any successful leader.
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