“Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers
With the Indian economy coming out of the pains of demonetization, lots of companies have resumed hiring, apart from giving the usual increments and promotions to their existing staff. If you have been aiming for a promotion, this may be the right time to make a move. However, do remember that getting a promotion in any organisation isn’t as simple as asking for one. Too many people think that doing a good job with right attitude is all they need to get a promotion, but it’s unlikely to be enough in today’s competitive world. You have to be proactive and work for it.
Here are some tips to up your chances of moving up the corporate ladder:
1. Know your goal
The biggest misconception about promotions is that they naturally occur with time. It is, however, very important to demonstrate your capability and worthiness for a promotion. One has to have clarity on whether you are seeking a promotion on the current job or you are seeking a position elsewhere. Only this will help you take the right action and plan accordingly. “Our professional life is impacted by many factors such as technology, globalization, and flatter organizational structures. The responsibility to create and manage a career path ultimately lies in your hands. Also, a promotion need not always mean moving up the ladder in the same role. It could also mean a lateral movement within your organization, leading to a higher designation,” says Lalitha M Shetty, Director-Human Resources, Omega Healthcare Management Services Pvt Ltd.
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2. Expand your knowledge and skills
‘Up-skilling’ will be the key to success. To get a promotion, it is important you expand your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant and critical to your organization. If you want to get ahead, it is important not only to keep up with current industry news, but also to pay attention to trends outside of your area of specialization. With the advancement of technology and other environmental forces changing rapidly, it is imperative for you to build on their skill set not only to perform your job, but also to stay relevant and marketable. It doesn’t have to be a master’s level qualification, a specific short course may also be useful to enhance your skills and diversify into new areas. Demonstrate commitment to your own professional development. By showing the motivation and willingness to continually learn, you’ll find opportunities to develop your skills and grow in your career. Make sure people within your organization know when you have qualified.
3. Ask for additional responsibilities
A willingness to take up additional responsibilities shows your interest and desire to help your department and organization to succeed. This will increase your value in the organization, as it will help showcase your talents and skillset that are a value add to the organization. “When there are days where your workload is less and you think you can take on additional work, it is good to reach out and offer assistance. This way the management is aware of the fact that you are ready to take on additional work and are capable of handling higher responsibilities as well. ‘Can I help in any way’ is sure to also demonstrate your role as a great team player. Be on the constant look for any additional opportunities and when you can, take on extra tasks,” says Shetty.
4. Have a positive relationship with your boss
A positive relationship with your boss is a valuable asset. Catch up regularly with your manager and have a conversation about your career path and development. Jointly focus on near-term objectives and implement plans to achieve them. Let your boss know that you want to find out how you can be more effective at work. Seek honest feedback from her/him on how you match up to higher levels within your company. You may need to learn to take a more strategic rather than tactical view of your organization. Keep your boss informed all the time. He/she is your first point of contact when it comes to your career progression within the organization. Make sure you document all your achievements and send your boss a summary each month. If you have people who work for you, give your boss an update on their successes as well.
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5. Act like a leader
To be promoted as a leader, one has to “act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion.” Possessing good leadership skills will always be an added advantage. A true leader is one who not only will accept responsibility for himself/herself, but for his/her team as well. He/she needs to be able to demonstrate presence of mind and ability to arise in tough situations and handhold the team through such situations. “Managers appreciate such team members and will be more than happy to promote them. Excellent performance reviews are not sufficient to get you a promotion, but they’re necessary for it. So are good attendance, punctuality, a willingness to go the extra mile when the company needs it, openness to take additional responsibilities, decision making and problem-solving skills,” informs Shetty.
6. Build your network & be popular
We don’t live in an ideal world where promotions are based on merits. Office politics will often play a role in who gets promoted and who doesn’t. People skills are equally important to be promoted to the next level. Use and develop your people skills. Be kind and helpful to your coworkers, supervisors, and all around you. Be sociable and develop relationships with people you work with. Be present at company events and network with people from outside your department. The more you interact with people, the more you realize your strengths and abilities, how you can add value to the organization. An added benefit of networking is that you will learn much more about the company when you network with people in other areas of the organization.
7. Be Professional
No matter how good your performance is and how prompt you are in achieving your deliverables, a good professional behavior at work can at time be the game changer for your promotion. Do not engage in unnecessary office politics and gossip, which could even cost you your job. Adhere to your organization’s corporate values and ethics. “Being a good professional requires a lot of people skills too. Make sure you are sociable, get along with other employees and attend other work functions too. While doing all these, be at your best behavior at all times. Following work etiquette is also an essential part of being professional. This also includes dressing professionally to work. Dress for the job you want and avoid casuals as much as you can,” advises Shetty.
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8. Get a mentor
Promotion requires both personal and professional development. A mentor could help you build on your skills and expertise required to move to the next level. A leader or a senior person who has been in the organization for long would be in a better position to guide you in your career and advise you on how to increase your visibility. Mentors can be your window to learning more about the organization and understanding its business. Finding a mentor will also help identify the right opportunities for you within the organization based on your talent and capabilities, suiting your career aspirations.
9. Create your own opportunities to develop a new position
One needs to have an eye for detail and be on the lookout for relevant opportunities. An opportunity could be in you figuring out a new innovative way to do an existing job, or even identify a new position. Approach the management and discuss the possibility of creating this new position and present yourself to be a potential candidate. These proactive steps help show your initiative, creativity, and value to the firm — and these things can only help you in your request for a promotion.
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10. Be Yourself
The most important of all is to be your true self. Do your work with dedication, enjoy it and be passionate about it. Happiness is key to performing at your best of abilities at work. You don’t need to self-promote yourself to get noticed. “A positive attitude helps in building a positive work culture around you. Stay committed to your work displaying competence, diligence, intelligence, and loyalty. Take pride in the job that you do. Only when you are your true self, will you be able to culturally align yourself within an organization. Your work should be a reflection of your values and such employees who take a personal interest in their work are the ones who are trusted with positions of responsibility,” says Shetty.
Moreover, be genuine and likeable. A happy and smiling employee who radiates positive vibes is always appreciated and admired. Be happy with your current work. Create a brand YOU, that will help secure the next step in your professional journey.