By Steve Leslie
In today’s fast-paced business world, professional development is about pushing your professional growth to the point of uncomfortableness. Creating growing pains as you push your mental capacity, and sometimes even your physical ability is the ultimate catalyst of growth.
Often, success is dependent on your personal growth and your ability to create your own development program. Too often, young leaders become frustrated at not advancing in the job at the rate and speed that keeps them challenged. However, if you want that next big job, you have to do more than just ask for it.
Ultimately, it is up to you to conduct yourself in a way that shows you are ready to take on the challenges of a new job position if it should open up. By demonstrating those abilities and work ethic to the right people, you can move up the career ladder more quickly. Here are six things you should do to position yourself for the next steps in your career.
1.Do a Great Job and Expand Your Strategic Thinking
I know this goes without saying, but your performance in your current role has a lot to do with how others will view you for that next promotion. Specifically, your ability to execute and think strategically. Demonstrate your ability to see the big picture while achieving targets. Ensure you understand your objectives, and you are getting feedback on your progress. Be open to new challenges and new projects. This is often a great sign that the organization has faith in you and sees the significant runway in your potential.
2. Be A Team Player
Employers tend not to like the workers who have an “I” mentality over a “we” mentality. Future leaders need to bring people together and create intellectual leverage through high emotional intelligence skills. To position yourself for a promotion, you should be the one who volunteers yourself before being asked because it shows you will put in the extra effort. Meanwhile, your ability to get along with others and work together as a team builds invaluable skills and helps you and others to innovate at a higher level.
3. Ask for Feedback and Communicate
First, you should figure out what you want from your future career. Is there a specific position you want, or do you want to create your own role? Do you want more managerial responsibility? Once you decide what you want, ask for a specific meeting with your boss to talk about career development. Tell your boss what your long-term career goals are and ask for advice on how to best reach them. Keeping your plans to yourself helps no one. By communicating your goals, your boss can help prepare you for new roles in the future.
As you speak with your manager, don’t be shy about telling her that you are eager to take on any unique opportunities that allow you to grow professionally. If you are willing to move or ready to take on a new project, communicate this as well. If leadership knows this, they will keep it in mind in their people planning sessions as well as considering you for that next promotion.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to solicit advice and feedback from your manager. Figure out what your strengths and weakness are and then work that information to your advantage. Your boss will appreciate that you are taking the feedback and constructively growing as an employee.
4. Be Authentic and Execute
Researchers at Oregon State University’s College of Business found that brown nosing might improve your relationship with management, but it can also lead to detrimental behavior and decreased relationships with colleagues. Because of the increased time you might spend getting on your bosses’ good side, you might end up slacking off at your job. When you spend too much energy kissing up to your boss, you tend to lose your authenticity and it harms your productivity.
5. Don’t Play Politics
This tip goes hand in hand with don’t be a suck-up, but it should be a strategy that you use very carefully. However, backbiting, currying favor, misstating other’s positions, and making accusations based on faulty information is not the type of office politics you should engage in at the workplace. Almost every office has some form of politics in play, and it is nearly impossible to avoid them.
Instead, you should practice workplace diplomacy. This type of strategy can help you to navigate tricky situations at work and stay true to your morals and values. To position yourself for the next big job, you should establish yourself as a team player and try to support your coworkers.
6. Be Patient And Have Fun
The cycles of business can sometimes have intense peaks and valleys. However, your ability to demonstrate that you can survive and thrive during tough times shows everyone you have the resilience and fortitude to handle more responsibilities. After all, it is often said that when things are going well, you don’t learn as much, but when things are going poorly, sometimes you learned more than you ever anticipated. When the times are good, have fun, enjoy it, and remember that the next bump, or learning experience, is just down the road.
Until that day comes, enjoy the ride! Focus on the long-term and build strong, productive relationships with your colleagues. Remember, your career is a marathon, not a sprint. By asking for feedback, being a team player, and thinking strategically, you can position yourself well for future success.