Being good at your job and hoping promotions and accolades will come your way doesn’t really work in the real world. It takes initiative to showcase your talent.
No one will hand you your desired career path on a silver platter. You have to step up to the plate and make it happen.
That’s what I learned from my boss and mentor in the departure lounge at Warsaw Airport as we waited to board a flight to Paris for a Regional Meeting to discuss our country budget,
“The Higher Ups at Head Office are not mind readers. If you really want something you are going to have to ask for it. In Life, you need to go after what you want.”
To put in context, I was discussing how my efforts, achievements and my ‘save the day’ interventions in regional matters were not being recognized. My boss did promote my career, but I had to take responsibility. He was right, of course.
The rest of the flight time was spent being prepped to meet the Higher Ups. I presented my business case, I got what I wanted.
In this part post, I’m sharing key lessons that I learned that day and in the years that followed.
You know your worth, but are you effectively communicating it to others?
You work hard. You know you’re good at what you do and yet your career is at status quo with no sign of that desired promotion and pay increment on the horizon. As my boss put it, senior management may not be aware of your talents and abilities that make you a valuable asset.
The first step is to take inventory of your talents, abilities and how they are contributing to the organization. Are you helping to improve the bottom line numbers, keeping costs down, creating efficient processes? Think about it. There are many tangible and intangible factors that help create your worth.
The second step is to be comfortable communicating this worth to others. Remember, as you climb the corporate ladder, the number of positions decreases while the number of equally talented and ambitious professionals increases. You have to stand out above the competition; prove that you are the obvious choice for the next promotion. Identify the right people whom you need to keep informed about your achievements and keep in touch.
Learn more about communicating with others from my furry friend Miss Coco: The Effective Communicating Canine
Learn to promote yourself
This tip is usually the hard one for my clients. We are conditioned from childhood to be self-deprecating and humble. We resist taking the required actions to help promote our careers if it conflicts with our conditioning.
Promoting oneself does not mean that you bring out the Pompoms. What it means is understand that your work, your accomplishments and achievements will not speak on their own. You need to share them with people of influence. You need to find opportunities to raise your executive presence and expand your sphere of influence.
Self-awareness is a great tool to combating resistance. When you feel resistance to taking action, stop in your tracks and try to understand the ‘why’ behind it. Is the resistance valid?
Do what needs to be done without being told to
Ask for increased responsibilities and do more than what is asked for. If you know that the task delegated to you requires more steps, do it.
Let your reporting boss know what additional steps you are taking on your own initiative. Apart from standing out and raising your visibility, you also improve the possibility for more interesting future projects, developing your skill sets and consolidating learning.
In short, – be proactive, take initiative.
These are just some of the areas that I work on with my clients who want to get their stagnant careers back on track. Sometimes, we need a little push or guidance. If that is you, let’s connect and see what wonders we can create together.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a rut with your career? How did you climb out of it? What did you do to step up to the plate?
PS. Want to raise your Executive Presence at work and get recognition for your efforts? Learn how to do it with elegance and professionalism in my book Get Noticed!: 15 Insider Tips guaranteed to improve your Executive Presence
Written by Vatsala Shukla
Photo Credit: Ambitions by Frits Ahlefeldt
Share with others!