The surest way to secure a promotion is to show your boss that you have what it takes to perform the job at the next level.
In the competitive world of corporate politics you can demonstrate you have the heart of a Spartan Intrapreneur by adopting these promotion-worthy habits:
Acknowledge that the work force is responsible for the company’s success…or lack of success. Be sure employees get the credit they deserve for a job well done.
Also make sure they feel the responsibility for ensuring that the company is financially healthy.
Don’t micromanage. Delegate responsibility to trustworthy people working for or with you. Make sure they have the proper training, understand safety measures and know what is expected of them.
Don’t anticipate they will do it exactly as you did. Allow scope for variations as long as they are within safety and efficiency parameters.
Praise for a job well done and make suggestions for how the job might be improved. Listen to suggestions for improving efficiency. Two heads are better than one.
Know work force strengths. Get to know colleagues and workers. Look for employees or co-workers who go above and beyond what is required of them.
Look for examples of worker initiative, motivation, creativity, and ingenuity. Be ready to capitalize on these strengths.
Treat co-workers with respect and trust. You reap what you sow.
Intimidation and threats do not make workers flourish. An atmosphere of fear is just as toxic as one of apathy.
Lead by example. If you are not afraid to pitch in and help and you know the jobs of those in the company then you will gain the respect of the work force.
Be decisive but only after you have researched the situation. No one likes a superior who seems reluctant or afraid to make a decision.
But, they do not trust or respect one who makes a unilateral decision without knowing the facts and considering all the options.
Empower employees to make decisions at their department. Don’t second guess or berate decisions that turned out not to be sound. Use these instances as training opportunities. Listen to rationale for decisions and discuss why things didn’t work out as hoped.
Talk about better solutions for future situations. In order to gain confidence and make good decisions, employees need to know the logical basis for that course of action.
Model mediation skills. Instead of stepping in an enforcing a decision, help employees arrive at a win-win situation. Help them learn to arrive at mutually satisfying decisions without your intervention.
In situations of friction or disagreement, give employees the time and tools to work it out themselves. Tell them you believe in their ability to work and get along. Then leave them alone to reach a compromise.
Model customer relations. Every employee should exude an attitude of:
- The customer is highly valued.
- The customer is listened to and heeded.
- The customer is always right.
No amount of inconvenience is too much trouble to make the customer happy.
Deal with problems quickly and efficiently. Be kind and calm but firm. Get to the point immediately. Handle it once. Try to elicit agreement and cooperation.
Don’t belabor an issue, don’t nag, repeat or recap. Get back to work.
Never miss an opportunity for staff appreciation. Compliment them verbally in private. Recognize their accomplishments in front of staff and customers. Send hand written notes. Have tangible rewards for meritorious employee behavior.
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Employees who are valued feel better than if they’d gotten a raise. Clients who see you value staff feel confidence in the company.
Show client appreciation by doing things for them. Think how much they feel valued with a token of your appreciation.
Learn active listening skills. Workers want to know they are heard and that their voice counts. Listen carefully and patiently. Ask questions to clarify.
Acknowledge what they’ve said. Let them know you understand their concerns. Sometimes hearing them out is all the action that is required. Tell them, “I appreciate your telling me this.”
Avoid social friendships with coworkers. Keep communications on a professional level.
Remember clients and co-workers are people with worries and concerns. Be empathetic and tolerant.
Always thank colleagues for what they do.
Let clients know they are appreciated:
It takes the same amount of time to be pleasant as it does to be curt, or rude. Being nice pays big dividends. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Employees are far more motivated by being given responsibility, appreciated, empowered, and cared for than by money.
Treat co-workers and staff like people—not objects or numbers or cogs in an assembly line.Treat colleagues and employees like good customers. Offer special perks as a way to say thanks or build loyalty.
If you say that you will address a behavior, do it. And let the initiator know that you did so. Workers respect fairness, decisiveness, and efficiency.
Don’t blame a whole department or staff for what one worker did. If one or two is/are habitually tardy, deal with them.
Meet regularly with staff members or departments. Ask for input one on one setting. Employees feel valued, heard, and known by you.
Sitting in the Captain’s Chair can be lonely. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you want to become a leader, don’t wait for the fancy title or the corner office.Begin now. Act, think, dress, and communicate like a leader.
Demonstrate your potential and carve your path to the role you want. Muriel Maignan Wilkins, author of Own the Room: Discover You Signature Voice to Master Leadership Presence says,
[blockquote cite=”Muriel Maignan Wilkins” type=”left, center, right”]It’s never foolish to begin preparing for a transition no matter how many years away it is or where you are in your career.[/blockquote]
“You can demonstrate leadership at any time no matter what your title is,” states Amy Jen Su, coauthor of Own the Room. Here are several ways to start laying the groundwork so you can assume the role of boss down the road. It is very much like gearing up and training for that role as Modern Day Spartan Intrapreneur.
Ace the job you are doing:
Don’t let your aspirations get in the way of acing your present role.
You won’t be seriously considered for a promotion if you aren’t outstanding at you are being paid to do.
Make the boss look good:
Be ready and willing to do whatever the boss needs done. Maignan Wilkins states: “lean more towards yes than no.” If your boss asks, be ready to help.
Demonstrate that you are anxious for leadership opportunities:
Have a “let me take that on” attitude no matter how large or small. Volunteer. Be keen.
Do a good job:
Look for leadership opportunities in community, sports leagues, schools councils, and your neighborhood to practice leadership skills.
Leadership opportunities may be long term like a two-year municipal government office or as short-term as chairing a meeting or committee.
Says Maignan Wilkins, “These activities send the signal that you aspire to leadership potential.”
Look for the “white space” situations:
Projects, initiatives, or problems no one else is willing to take on—or even know they exist are called “white space”.
“Every organization has needs that nobody is paying attention to, or people are actively ignoring,” Maignan Wilkins says.
Look for situations that could be improved—for example—in customer relations. Meet an unmet need. Streamline a process. Discover a way to save the company money.
Temper ambition with social awareness:
No one likes or trusts a climber or a blow hard. There’s a fine line between being ambitious being full of yourself.
“Don’t try to exert authority when you don’t have it,” advises Maignan Watkins. Instead he suggests you practice “steward leadership” Focus on team goals and accomplishments not on yourself.
Jen Su advises that you show “humble confidence” appropriate modesty in the part you played but confidence that this activity will be good for your career.
Be cautiously ambitious:
Be aware that unbridled ambition sometimes makes your superiors cautious. Instead of focusing on yourself, in your discussion with your boss, look at what your idea can do for the company.
Jen Su suggests you lay out your accomplishments for the past year and then ask something like, “As we look further out, where do you see me continuing to make a contribution?”
Watkins warns that these conversations shouldn’t come off as being all about you. Keep your ambitions quiet and prove your potential to the company instead.
Learn from the masters:
Seek relationships with people who can teach you something about the position you are eying. Watch how they act, communicate, interact with employees, and dress. Find a way to rub elbows with that person or people.
Volunteer for a committee they’re spearheading. Offer to help with one of their pet projects. Join the same social groups. Take up a sport they participate in.
Identify behaviors that you can emulate.Don’t become a clone.That is fake and flaky.
Learn from people you do not want to follow. Why do they seem stuck in dead-end positions? Are they socially or politically inept? Is it a personality thing?
Do they relate poorly to authority figures? Do they fail to make relate well to co-workers? Do they miss connections between departments?
“It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.” Promotions are seldom made by only your immediate superior. Others will have input. You need to get known in a good way. People who matter need to become aware of the work you’re doing.
Maignan Wilkins says, “If you find yourself walking down the hall with the most senior person at your company, be prepared to answer the question,‘So what are you up to?’”
Every interaction can be important—even a meeting at the cafeteria or in the elevator.See every situation as an opportunity to demonstrate what you bring to the company and how enthusiastic you are about the job you do.
You need to get noticed, to stand out. The decision makers need to see you as an asset and a valuable team player.
Dress for success:
Your physical appearance doesn’t necessarily affect how well you do your job. However, it does show a sense of professionalism.
A fashion consultant suggests, “Dress for the job above the one you presently have. Don’t be ostentatious but do be well groomed.
Be punctual and prepared:
Employers notice punctuality—and chronic tardiness. Avoid strolling in late. Arrive early and get set up before your work day begins. This sends a message to others that you deem your work to be important.
Ask questions and make suggestions:
Companies value employees who know their jobs and do them well. Asking intuitive questions and clarifying information you’ve been given it a good way to become known by your superiors.
Your well-worded questions show you know your job.
There are no stupid questions. By asking questions you will understand your responsibilities better.You will also demonstrate your goal to do your best with the time spent at work.
Make constructive suggestions:
Don’t be afraid to make well thought out suggestions to improve processes or procedures at work.
Your boss will be impressed by your resourcefulness and commitment.
Offer improvements for your work environment. Avoid being critical or aggressive.Approach it from the point of making a good company even more efficient.
Go the extra mile:
Many shy away from doing any more than is expected of them. However, doing more than is required is a good way to get noticed for that promotion. You might do some work from home and/or stay a little later and come in to work a little earlier.
You might volunteer to take on an extra side project. The trick is to set yourself apart from the rest by your keen, enthusiastic attitude.You’ll demonstrate by your actions that your superiors can rely on you.
Brighten up the corner where you work:
A cheery, bright attitude is an asset for you, your colleagues, your superiors and the customers.
One valued client requested to deal with a specific employee because she was so sunny and pleasant. “It just makes my day when I spend time with her,” he commented.
Being optimistic and smiling can take you a long way in life. It can also make a big difference to the tone of your workplace.
Others respond in a cheerier manner. Be yourself, but be your best self! Be someone you’d enjoy being around.
Avoid workplace water cooler gossip, staff room sniping and in-fighting among employees. Show your co-workers you are too mature for such behavior.
Be attuned to feedback from your boss and co-workers. Listen carefully to directions and take meticulous notes.
Repeat back the instructions you were given to make sure you understood and ask for clarification when necessary.
If the feedback is negative, make note of what you need to change.
Do not argue or get angry. Take criticism as constructive.
Apologize and present a plan for how you are going to fix an area that needs improvement.
There is nothing wrong with letting your boss know that your goals include upward mobility when the time is right.The topic of your future may come up in your conversations or you may raise it by asking his/her advice.
Your employer may see you in a different light after you express a desire for future advancement within the company, and inquire about any future positions.
Communicating this mission places you in your boss’ mind when promotions arise.
When you are looking at your mission to advance within the company practicing these behaviors will get you noticed.
Have the heart of a Modern Day Spartan Intrapreneur. Believe in yourself. Be confident in your abilities.Show yourself to be a dedicated,hardworking employee who is eager to go the extra mile.
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