Speak to a large number of professionals about their career goals and career advancement and promotion will be top of their list. For some it’s about reward and recognition. For others it’s about learning, growth or having new challenges.
Whatever your reason, if you’re hungry for a promotion, here are 10 simple ways you can increase your chances of getting that promotion – fast.
1) Pick the right company
Picking an employer that has a solid track record of training and development, succession planning and promotion is a fundamental, if not the fundamental, step. If you are serious about career advancement, take advantage of the interview to find out more about their approach, policies and values regarding employee development.
If you are currently working for an employer or boss where training and promotion is not part of their corporate values – perhaps it’s time to look for another job.
2) Think ‘big-picture’
Generally there are two types of people in the corporate world: those that like detail and processes (the HOW), and those that like to think ‘big picture’ (the WHERE). People who naturally focus on the ‘big picture’ tend to get promoted faster. Demonstrating a clear understanding of the company’s vision, strategy, goals and objectives and how your role fits into all of these is a surefire way to be noticed by senior management. This isn’t to say the detail should be ignored. But if you have a natural tendency to get stuck on the detail, big-picture thinking is something you will want to develop.
Watch, listen and learn everything you can about the different departments: what they do, their individual goals, how they work and interact with the other departments. Developing a holistic view of the company, and not just focusing on your job, will set you up for a solid future in a leadership position.
3) Check your attitude
Having the right attitude is imperative if you want to be seen as potential leadership material. Even Richard Branson highlighted the importance of attitude when he said: “You don’t train attitudes, you have to hire them.”
If you go into a company thinking “What can the company do for me?” instead of “What can I do for the company?” – your career is doomed from the start. If you are viewed as being selfish with only your own interests at heart, you will not be up for promotion any time soon. Go the extra mile, work outside the boundaries of your job description (with the permission of your boss), get involved in other projects and focus on being a team player. You’ll get the thumbs up from all sides and feel good about yourself. It’s a win-win situation.
4) Don’t just meet your targets and KPIs. Beat them
This is a no-brainer. If you want to get a promotion, you have to be worthy of a promotion. Meaning you have to perform. Probably performing better than your peers – else they will get the promotion not you. Learn how to work smart – maximum results with maximum efficiency. If you’re having to work until 8pm every night to produce the same results others can achieve by 5pm, you’re either not working smart or what you’re doing doesn’t come naturally – meaning you could be in the wrong job.
5) Invest in personal development
Employees with high self-awareness get promoted faster. They know their strengths and areas for development – and recognise that until they develop those areas, they could act as a barrier to a promotion. There are a number of free online resources that can help you assess your areas of strengths and improvement. Once you have identified your development areas – invest in seeking the help of a career coach to help you take them to the next level and increase your promotion prospects.
Of course, personal development could also mean investing in furthering your education, attending paid conferences and networking opportunities, taking up an activity to get fit / healthy or taking up a new language. Anything where you are learning something new or building further on what you already have will be great for not just your chances of promotion, but also your well-being.
6) Be respectful and helpful at all times
Your title is just a title. It does not make you more or less of a human being than the next person. Be respectful of everyone. Offer help where you can (and if you can’t help, offer an alternative solution or suggestion). Build relationships with everyone – from the doorman to the Managing Director. Not only will you be seen as a team player, you will simultaneously create a more fun and supportive working environment for yourself and others.
7) Find someone to model or a mentor
Proximity is power. Who you spend time with is who you become. If you want to be successful, you need to hang around with successful people. People who have higher standards than yours.
If you used the interview opportunity correctly, you should have already picked a boss that will be a good mentor for you. However, if you end up with a distinctly average boss, or the boss you picked leaves, then look out for other inspirational and successful people in the company. The ones that truly support, motivate and encourage the growth and development of everyone in the company. Watch how they interact with others. How they treat people. How they motivate their teams. How they deal with conflict. How they problem-solve. Then model them. Really want to succeed? Take it a step further and ask them to mentor you.
8) Be fearless
Most of the time, it is not our abilities that hinder our success but our fear. Fear of failure. The fact is there is no such thing as failure – only feedback. If you do something, and it doesn’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. All it means is that something didn’t work and a change of strategy is required. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn what worked, what didn’t work and what you could do differently next time.
9) Forget the problem – find the solution
Banging on your boss’s door every time you have a problem will only give them a massive headache. They will be having a hard enough time tackling problems of their own, let alone yours. Ease their pain by doing your best to provide them with suggested solutions to the problems – not just the problems. Even if your solutions aren’t perfect, your boss will appreciate your efforts.
10) Ask for it!
This is the key. If you’re waiting for someone to notice your hard work and simply hand that promotion to you, you’re going to be waiting a long time. If you want a promotion – ask for it. Make yourself and your achievements visible and use that as evidence when you ask for your promotion. If your boss says you’re not ready, ask to be put on a career development plan and show you take your career seriously.
What advice or tips would you give someone looking for a promotion? What have you learnt from your own career advancement experiences, both positive and negative, that might help someone else? Feel free to comment below.
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About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.