Think you should get promoted because you work hard? Think again. Instead of working your butt off, follow this strategy.
In our quest for financial freedom, we often work hard seeing a promotion as a direct payoff for our sweat equity.
But if you really want to see your efforts pay off, you must be more strategic. Many employees tend to ignore the big picture that influences whether or not they get a promotion.
Truth is, the CEO and leadership team of your company have a vision they want to see come to life. By tapping into your boss’s vision for success, you can position yourself as a key contributor to the mission of the company, advancing you to the next level of responsibility and income.
Step 1: Find out what’s bugging your boss
If you want to know and understand executive-level thinking, talk to a few execs. One recent study, cited by Quint , found that in four out of five promotions, those who had been promoted had developed a mentoring relationship with their bosses.
Initiate small talk about work and family. Engage in general chit-chat. Make a regular habit of asking your boss if she needs help with anything. Pinpoint trouble areas and look for solutions. Be sure to stay positive and solution-oriented in your daily communications.
Communicate that you’re fully invested in the success of the company with your words and your behavior. Volunteer for additional work. Being the first to sign up for extra projects will relieve pressure from your team and your boss.
Raise your hand and take ownership over what you may think to be even the most menial of tasks. Taking care of the needs of your company will help establish you as the “go-to” person when your leadership team has a need.
Step 2: Improve upon existing processes and challenge norms
You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Instead of badmouthing your boss and your company by complaining, position yourself as a rising leader within your department. Focus on finding a solution. Look for ways to fill in the gaps in your company. Listen to what others are saying and try to determine what connections can be made.
Instead of whining to your boss about system failures, prescribe a remedy to the problem. (Click here to tweet this quote.) Research competitors and similarly structured businesses in different industries to come up with possible solutions.
A form may need to be developed. A meeting may need to be held. New software may be needed to address that problem. Follow the existing process, fill in gaps and suggest improvements.
When you improve on processes, be sure to include your superior officers in your decision making process. Involving executives can encourage them to continue their support and endorsement over time.
Step 3: Stay positive
Another way to position yourself for a promotion and to get on the winning team is to maintain a positive demeanor. Let your daily interactions with your boss be pleasant and productive.
Research shows that a positive, cheerful person is more likely to be paid more and promoted faster. It may be easy to keep a good attitude when all is well, but when the chips are down, a person’s true character usually shows.
When you’re facing criticism or are dealing with a high-stress project that’s coming apart at the seams, allow yourself time to process your anger, fear, anxiety and other emotions. Cool down before responding to avoid coming off as defensive.
Look on the brighter side of the situation. Stay focused on what lessons you can learn from the project’s failure. Find ways you can rise above the situation and concentrate on a solution, instead of the problem.
Don’t get caught up in negative talk like gossiping and complaining. Maintain a positive demeanor about work and life in general. Set a standard for yourself that your co-workers and bosses can respect.
Step 4: Show leadership
Leadership doesn’t begin with a title. Leadership starts right where you are. Focus on how you can become an architect of change in your job now.
Learn what skills you will need to achieve higher performance at your next level of promotion. Sometimes this may mean looking beyond your job title and assessing the needs of the company to determine your next move.
By accepting greater responsibility, you gain an opportunity to display your array of talents as well as prove your value to the company. Show the executives you care about the company and are willing to do what it takes to push the business along.
As you develop your stance as a mover and shaker in the company, you’ll start to see your name rising in executive conversations and pretty soon, your promotion will fall right into place.
Nora Jacques is a Freelance Blogger and Content Strategist with a desire to see people optimize their inner strengths and resources, with unique strategies and principles centered on productivity, family values and faith. Connect with Nora on Twitter or on her blog.