Wanting to get ahead in your career but at a loss for what to do next?
It’s not easy figuring out how to get elevated to that next step up. Skills Group HR Manager, Anna McNicholl, put together these five strategies to help you get noticed at work and lock in that big promotion:
1. Don’t wait for your managers to notice you and what you do.
By this I mean you can’t always expect to be ‘talent spotted’ so you’ve got to work on what you can do to be seen as promotable.
In New Zealand we tend to have a culture where if you’re too much of a self-promoter this can be seen as a negative, so in my view there’s a real balance.
You can get noticed by doing smalls things like putting your hand up for a project or just offering to help someone with what they are working on.
Being more confident and speaking up in meetings and having something interesting to say is also useful for getting noticed.
2. Get to know people at work and get yourself out there too.
Then there’s good old networking. Even just the word can spark fear in some of us!
If you only focus on work talk with your colleagues, then you won’t really get to know people and be lucky enough to find out their special insights. Make the effort to connect with people you admire at work, find out what they have learnt and what makes them tick.
Go to events where you could meet like-minded people or people who are completely different to you. Take the brave move and step out of your comfort zone. Do it even if you think it’s not your thing – you might be surprised how this can actually increase your confidence. New people and their ideas, whether you agree with them or not, are great for growth.
3. Work on developing your self-awareness.
Learning about who we are and how we can more successfully interact with others is probably the most valuable learning you can ever do. And this is life long learning. Don’t put yourself in a box and say ‘this is who I am’ otherwise you can get stuck and not realise what you are capable of over time.
If you’ve had any feedback in the past, then really look at this and talk with someone you trust to get to the bottom of what this may mean for you.
It’s easy to ‘blame’ feedback you don’t like on someone else, but maybe there’s something there for us to work on.
Figure out what your own personal values are. It’s surprising how often people don’t know. Let’s say for example one of your top 5 is ‘integrity’. Think about what this means to you in others and check that you are doing what you believe others should be doing.
Check in with your friends, family, manager and trusted colleagues on what your blind spots might be. Be prepared to take this on the chin and think about which of your current behaviours may be holding you back from promotion.
There’s free on-line assessments you can check out, or some kind of personal training or development may be useful.
4. Leadership isn’t just about your title.
This isn’t new but we can often forget this simple fact.
Even if you don’t want a promotion that includes having direct reports, being promotable is a lot about showing leadership qualities.
Start with the basics; are you reliable, do you show up and get the work done, do you have a reputation for doing what you say you will do?
Have a real honest look at yourself – if you haven’t got those basics right then work on these to start with.
Every business has different ways they describe their leadership qualities or competencies. If you’re not sure what they are – ask and then find a way to develop these qualities in yourself. Again, use free resources online or ask to attend a course to gain some tips and techniques that will support your growth.
Read books! Kindle has many books on Leadership that you can read. Try out many ideas to see if they work for you.
I think one of the most important things about being seen as promotable is to be authentic. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. It’s good to model your heroes’ behaviours and ways they do things, but being you and using your own style will work better in the long run.
5. Invest in developing your own confidence.
All of these suggestions take confidence and sometimes a bucket load of courage. If you’re not confident, but behind the scenes you’re amazing, then you’ll need to work on gaining some confidence or this could hold you back.
There’s plenty of free material online to help you, and you can talk to your manager about sending you on a course or training to work on any gaps or challenges.
Ask for feedback from your managers and trusted colleagues. We often don’t know if we are perceived as confident (in the right way) or not, and they can help you identify your blind spots.
Written by Anna McNicholl, Group HR Manager at The Skills Group