Climbing the corporate ladder in today’s competitive business world may seem to be a very daunting and impossible task. However, with some hard work and determination, you can move up the corporate ladder with confidence and integrity.
We all have that “you are here” mark on our professional journey. Where we choose to go from that point is up to us. Follow the tips below and you will be working your way toward your dream job in no time.
- Take Time To Understand Your Boss
To be successful in your current position, you should really get to know your boss. It is important to know what he or she expects of you and to keep him or her updated on the progress of your projects or tasks regularly. Be sure to reach out to your boss before being asked about your progress; it shows initiative and responsibility on your part to volunteer information instead of having your boss hunt you down to give an update.
Be an approachable and likable person. No one wants to ask questions or work with an employee who seems to always be in a bad mood or who doesn’t want to be at work. Be genuine and gain the respect of fellow employees and your boss; this trait will get you far in your quest to move up.
Schedule regular meetings with your boss, if possible. Having a scheduled time to discuss the progress of projects and tasks with your boss which will provide you with some quality one-on-one time. This shows that you have initiative and that you desire to do well in your position.
- Know Your Company and Submit Proposals When Necessary
Bosses and supervisors love employees who take initiative and solve problems! If you are looking to impress your superiors, take some time to really assess the needs of your company from an employee’s perspective. Bosses have a lot on their plates on a daily basis, so they may not pick up on certain needs of their staff. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care; they are just busy. They rely on their staff to speak up when something is amiss. However, be sure that your proposal is intelligent and warranted before bringing it to your boss’s attention.
Before submitting a proposal to your superior, be sure that it is a legitimate problem. Your proposal should be well thought out and thoroughly researched before being presented. Your proposal should be presented as a way to make the company profit, not cost the company money; management isn’t looking to spend more money than necessary and they certainly aren’t going to waste company money on unsupported proposals. Remember to be detailed and confident in your proposal and be prepared for questions! It is very important to be proactive and not reactive.
- Keep An Updated Folder Of Your Accomplishments
Keeping a record of your accomplishments is crucial if you desire to move up the corporate ladder. It isn’t viewed as bragging, as long as you go about sharing your victories in the correct way. It’s important for your management to see your accomplishments and external feedback so that they are aware of your hard work and results. When you receive kudos from clients or positive feedback from other supervisors and co-workers, save it or print it out and save a copy. Portfolios can be a powerful tool when interviewing for leadership positions later in your career. Tangible evidence of your potential, intelligence and work ethic can help prove that you are just the person for the job!
- Be A Team Player and Be On Your Best Behavior
Being a team player and supporting your co-workers can make you a desirable and indispensable employee. It is important to know the difference between offering a genuine compliment to your boss or co-worker and being a “brown noser.” The key to a great compliment is to keep it short, to the point and centered around work; you should praise someone’s achievement of a task, not his or her physical appearance.
Acting as the office know-it-all is not the way to earn praise or brownie points with your management or co-workers. Having lots of ideas is a great quality, but you need to share them at appropriate times. You need to be able to share the lime light with your co-workers when working on projects and be sure to give credit where it is due. You will earn more respect from your co-workers and management by taking the high road and giving recognition where it is due, than taking all the credit.
One of the most crucial qualities that management desires in an up and coming employee is the ability to avoid “locker room talk.” No manager wants the drama associated with employees that cannot stay above the office gossip. If you want to advance in your career, maintain a professional attitude at all times; both on and off the clock. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Know How To Manage Your Time
Management loves employees that know how to manage their time and work to the maximum efficiency. This skill saves the company time and money, two of the most important statistics in the business world. Use your time wisely! Hanging around the water cooler or break room chatting when you have a huge project with a tight deadline will not win you points with your boss. It is fine to be friendly with your co-workers, but you need to also work hard. Save the gossip for lunch breaks or after work when you are not on the clock!
Developing a daily or weekly routine will help you to utilize your time to the maximum so that you are sure to meet all of your deadlines and prove to your manager that you can handle responsibility. It is important to know your routine and be able to decide when you can and cannot take on more work. It is awesome to be able to volunteer for more projects, but avoid overbooking yourself. You’ll end up disappointing your boss if you aren’t able to deliver a solid final project because you took on too much work. This kind of mistake is easy to make if you don’t have an established routine or are distracted by office shenanigans. Time management is one of the most important skills to master if you are looking to move up the corporate ladder.
- Step Up and Go Far
It is a known fact that “go-getters” are the most likely employees to advance in their career. These are the employees that clock in early at work, are dependable, and complete projects by their deadline or earlier without sacrificing quality. They “go the extra mile” each day, and believe me, that kind of work and dedication doesn’t go unnoticed by management.
Want to be one of these employees? Be the first to raise your hand for projects and extra tasks, but be sure that you can complete them competently. Demonstrate that you are a hard worker and are ambitious with quality work and you will earn respect from your peers and management.
Attending leadership trainings, conferences in your industry, collaborating on projects and stepping outside your comfort zone are all things that look great in your portfolio or on a resume. These activities can be a strategic move in getting noticed and considered for promotions.
- Flexibility Is Key
Versatility is an invaluable quality to have in today’s business world. Being able to switch gears and go any direction at any time is a quality that is truly appreciated by your boss! When management knows that you can be counted on to multi-task when needed, more opportunities are likely to come your way. Most industries are fast-paced and ever changing today; flexibility and versatility are qualities that every employee needs to possess in order to be successful.
- Be A Model Employee
How you carry yourself both in and out of the office can directly affect your chances of being promoted as you progress throughout your career. You should always dress professionally, even above the dress code, in order to maintain your integrity and boost confidence. If you dress the part, you will always be the part.
Be honest and genuine in all you do. Share accomplishments and successes with your peers and be sure to give them credit for all their hard work on projects. Don’t be a glory hog; this tends to create hostility and mistrust among colleagues. You also need to be able to take responsibility for failures and not point fingers at others when errors are made; stepping up and admitting when you are wrong is an admirable quality. Management respects you more when you can admit you made an error instead of when you try to cover up mistakes or attempt to “throw others under the bus.”
Always do the right thing! Own your problems and errors, develop a “stick-with-it” attitude and dress for success; this sets an example for other employees. Be a role model and others will follow your lead.
- Be A Leader That You Would Follow
Being a leader is encouraging others to follow you, especially when they do not have to do so. Today’s leaders need to have the ability to unite their employees in common goals, strategies and plans for the good of the company.
In order to be a successful leader you need to be able to absorb and analyze information, reason, solve complex problems and make critical decisions. These kinds of skills make up the intelligence that a person must possess in order to lead others and make informed decisions regarding the company. A leader who is not able to utilize data to make solid investment choices, solve the tough problems that arise or make important decisions under pressure will end up doing excessive harm to a company, possibly leading to its demise.
Be honest; it is a trait that is valued by all employers. Always tell clients, co-workers and management the genuine truth; not just what you believe they want or expect to hear. Be open and genuine, no matter the consequences. Own up to your mistakes and be frank; don’t sugar coat the bad news. Offer ways to fix the mistake and work through the issue with the client. Management appreciates an employee who can admit when they have made an error and comes to the drawing board with solutions to the issues at hand. Remember, ethics and morals have a direct correlation to one another.
Make good choices and do not fall into the trap of being a “yes man.” Stand firm for your beliefs and always do what is right. Management will respect you more for thinking on your own and sharing constructive ideas than if you simply nod your head and smile. Your boss wants an inventive and fresh perspective, not just a canned response.
- Keep Your Eyes Open and Your Mind Sharp
If you are looking to move up in your company, keep your eyes open to everything happening around you. Take notice of the daily routines and examples set by those employees that go the extra mile. Establish a solid routine, offer to help other co-workers with tasks, take on additional projects, be early to work, refill the copier paper without being asked, and do your part to keep the office clean. Be personable, be flexible and smile!
Also take notice of those employees who walk a thin line around the office. Notice the things they do that cause negative consequences and learn from their mistakes. Do not get wrapped up in their office or personal drama, rather take notice of the areas where improvement is needed and strive to achieve a better rapport with colleagues and management. You can learn a lot by watching employees that are on their way out the door.
Pay attention. Learn all you can about your company; its history, their main clientele, the top products/services, and any other information pertinent to the success of your company. Listen intently during meetings, trainings, and conferences in order to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Don’t be afraid to take notes and review them often when working on projects and tasks. Always think before speaking; you can’t take back what is said once it’s out there for everyone to hear.
Questions are an important part of the problem solving process and they are absolutely necessary in the day to day working environment. They help us obtain correct answers to problems and help determine and assess whether we are completing a task correctly. However, be sure to think through your question before asking it and always record the answer for future reference. Supervisors reward and appreciate staff that exert all efforts before asking a question, especially when it is a question that has been answered before (and possibly many times).
There is no set path that every person takes to reach the top; each person’s path is unique and filled with challenges, failures and triumphs. Following the ten tips above will help guide you along your own leadership path. No one reaches the top overnight. It takes hard work, determination, education and the correct skill set to make a great leader. Keep calm, make good choices and be patient. Climb the ladder one rung at a time and enjoy the climb. The planets may not align right away, but everyone has to start somewhere and sometime, so why not here and now?