The corner office seems a million miles away. You’re not even sure if your boss knows your name. Fear not! These guidelines will get you that promotion.
- Staying in the same position year after year can be demoralising and disappointing.
- Climbing the corporate ladder is easier than you think.
- By following a few simple guidelines, a promotion is within your reach.
- Since the majority of your time is spent at work, it’s vital that you’re in the position you want.
Have you recently been promoted? Congratulations! If not, have you found yourself sitting at your desk wondering when you’ll be taking that next step up the corporate ladder? Have you been working yourself to the bone only to find you’re at the back of the promotion line? If this sounds familiar, fear not! There is plenty you can do to help you get front and centre the next time the opportunity presents itself.
When asked what’s the best way to get promoted most of us talk about being more passionate, more confident, more in-tune with our environment. While these are good points, they’re also a bit pie in sky. You need specific actions. Actual steps you can take towards the corner office. A list of do’s and don’ts if you will. Here they are, seven guidelines to follow to get promoted at work.
1. Don’t be afraid to tell the boss that they’re wrong
This may sound scary. Even contradictory to the usual, ‘get in the boss’s good books,’ but remember you were hired for a reason. Take courage! Your point of view matters. You have something to say. Now, we’re not advocating that you disagree with everything your boss says, but if you notice that something is going wrong or that there is a better more productive way to compete a task, be sure to speak up. Respectfully disagreeing with your boss and offering a more viable alternative is a sure way to get you one step closer to having your name on the door. Keep in mind however that respect is key and don’t disagree if you are not armed with a solution.
2. Cut the drama lama
Whether you hate the person sitting next to you or you think the coffee is bad, keep it to yourself. Remember, your job is to make your boss’s life easier, not more complicated. It is estimated that managing one person can take up to 12% of your time. Hence, you need to be lightening your boss’s load, not adding to it, to earn your keep. Unless there is a very real issue – read: a concern for your safety or an inability to do your work – don’t mention it. This will only make you look petty in the eyes of your employer, you’ll be viewed as someone who gets lost in the minor details as opposed to someone who can lead a team. And, whatever you do, stay way from office politics. Don’t get caught up in it. Always be Switzerland. No smidgen of lunchroom gossip is juicy enough to risk your career. Good managers know when to keep their mouths shut, prove that you can do just that.
3. Remember the basics
This might sound obvious, but when desperately trying to come up with solutions or a new strategy, it can be easy to lose sight of the basics. In whatever you do, make sure that you’re always reliable, professional and cooperative. Dress the part, even on casual day. If you don’t know something, ask. You will earn more respect by asking questions than by doing it wrong. Keep a sunny disposition, we’re not saying show your pearly whites and glorious smile to everyone who passes your desk, but you want to be known as someone who makes the best of every situation. Don’t whine or moan, especially over the little things. Play nicely, don’t blame others for your mistakes and give credit where it’s due. And, finally, don’t be a clock-watcher. You know the type. The person who quietly starts to logout at 16h55. Don’t be this person. While we’re not suggestion 24-hour shifts, work until the work is done. Get in early if you must and stay that extra couple of hours if need be – it will get you noticed and, if nothing else, you’ll avoid traffic!
4. Plan your day
Before you start each day make a list of what you need to get done, what is a priority and what can wait until tomorrow. Schedule time to do specific tasks and, where possible, block this time out in your calendar. Often, we get so bogged down with emails, meetings and strategizing that it’s difficult to get any actual work done. It’s true, the basic tasks need to be completed, but they shouldn’t dominate your day. This is known as reactive work and, according to a Harvard Business School Study, it should be allocated a maximum of 40% of your time. Career coach, Anna Cosic, illustrates the importance of this when saying, “Don’t let the daily mundane tasks consume your day. While you may get a lot done and be very busy you’ll have little to show for it at the end. You’ll find that you haven’t done anything that stands out or impresses your superiors.”
5. Be social
As painful as they may be. Even though you’d rather stick a fork in your eye for Pete’s sake attend the office party. Go to the networking events and the afterwork drinks. Participate in the team building even if it means abseiling down the side of the mountain or figuring out how to escape a locked room, whatever it involves, take part. This will help you keep abreast of the office news. Let’s face it, you may be Switzerland, but it doesn’t hurt to know that Bob from Sales is moving on to greater things thus leaving his position wide-open. It will also show your employer that you’re a team player, a go-getter, someone who put themselves out there and is not afraid of a challenge. Don’t be like Ian from Purchasing who never attends the office party. Rest assured, when it comes to deciding who’s going to the conference in Hawaii, it won’t be Ian. Side note: attending the office party does not include taking advantage of the bar tab resulting in you serenading your boss at the end of the evening.
6. Take notes
There are few things more painful than having to constantly repeat yourself. Don’t make your boss do this. You should only need to be given directions once and if you don’t understand something now is the time to clarify it. Do not rely on your memory. We’ve all been there, you’re asked to do something only to bump into Betty from accounts on the return journey to your desk and suddenly your head if filled with tales of Betty’s grandchildren as opposed to the career enhancing task you’ve just been assigned. Being armed with a pen and a notepad makes you look prepared, engaged and ready for battle, all good things when trying to reach the top. On the subject of notes, be sure to keep a list of your achievements. Note down your successes and keep track of your wins. You never know when you’ll be questioned on how things are going, you don’t want to forget the good stuff.
7. Know your job and do it
They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Trust me, when Jack is sitting in his corner office or booking his next holiday dull is the last thing he is feeling. You need to know your job and do it. Become an expert in your field. Keep up to date with industry news and new developments. Attend those talks and listen to the podcast, you’ll be grateful that you did when the opportunity presents itself to share your knowledge. Prove to your boss that you do more than just tick the boxes, you go the extra mile. It will work in your favour when it really counts.
Often, you spend more time with your colleagues than your family. You know your boss better than you know yourself. The majority of your week is spent at work and because of this it is imperative that you are in, or at least working towards, the position you want. Follow these guidelines, the ladder is not as high as you imagine.
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