With the holiday season upon us, we begin to reflect upon the ebbs and flows of the past year; our success stories and areas where we can still improve. This is a time when we begin to reevaluate our career aspirations and choices and make new decisions. One thing is for sure: we must all come to accept that the old ways are not as effective anymore if we are to advance in our careers. As such, now is the time to think carefully about what it will take for you to get promoted at work in 2013.
I have written frequently about how to get discovered in your work and the importance of building momentum back into your career. My message is one about being courageous enough to stand out in the crowd – amongst your peers and colleagues. As you head into 2013, think about how you can begin to sell change, manage your personal brand and create enough of a distinction that you become everyone’s “go to person.”
This is not about self-promotion, but rather how you can be more bold, present new ideas, create a followership, and earn the right to be sponsored at work. Getting promoted is harder than it’s ever been. In the past, you just had to perform your job description well, follow the status quo, generate results and show support for the organization’s social responsibility initiatives. Today, you must also be respected enough to earn a voice at the table – by successfully managing crisis and change, innovating with an entrepreneurial attitude, and diplomatically navigating the political environment at your workplace.
In other words, the ground-rules for getting promoted have evolved and are not as predictable and methodical as they were in the past. In fact, every company seems to have their own formula and succession plan for getting ahead. However, there are five ways you can get promoted consistently and organically no matter where you work.
1. Demonstrate a Strong Capacity for Growth
You must be able to show the ability to evolve your thinking and the capacity to expand your skill sets. The old ways of being good at something and never expanding your abilities are over. You must work twice as hard to illustrate your capacity for growth – and this will require you to invest in yourself and your know-how more than ever before.
Identify the 3 – 4 areas in your work that will enable you to grow in your company and contribute in more meaningful and purposeful ways — and then make the effort to invest in those areas. This may mean taking an extension course, online training, rebuilding your network, etc. The capacity for growth requires you to have a thirst for knowledge and the ability to learn new things. You must passionately pursue a desire to assume and handle greater responsibilities. If not, you will become irrelevant quickly.
Stretch yourself and test your limits. Most people don’t know their capacity for growth – and this will give you a competitive advantage.
2. Possess an Attractive Attitude
We have heard it said many times that attitude is everything. Well…it does count for a lot. In today’s workplace, you not only have to possess a great attitude – but one that is attractive and likable. People at work must want to work with you – if they like your attitude, your aptitude has a better chance to be discovered. Your behavior, the choices you make, your relatability and your overall character are being measured at all times. Your ability to “fit into” the corporate culture and enable it depends on relational skills that attract others to want to engage with you. Leaders can detect those who make others want to do better and who attract a crowd of supporters.
Likeability is an incredibly valuable trait when you consider how many people are so miserable in their work. As such, be helpful, show humility, be optimistic and show your empathy towards others. Take the time to show interest in others. Help others to be successful.
Remember, if people don’t like you – they will not trust you.
3. Have the Courage to Think Big and Take Risks
You must have the audacity to be bold. This requires you to think, act and innovate in ways that come most naturally do you. It means that you need to trust your gut and allow your passionate pursuit of purpose to take flight. It’s your time to showcase the years of hard work that have given you the permission to be bold in this moment. Put your capabilities to the test. Seize the opportunity.
How often does your gut tell you to take action during times of adversity – but you don’t. Instead, you wait for those around you to take the calculated risks that you were hesitant to take yourself? Sound familiar.
In 2013, you must trust yourself enough to take action. Don’t wait. The courageous ones may not always win, but more often than not, they will be respected.
4. Earn the Trust of Others
When your boss says, “I am not worried about your performance” – this is a sign of trust. During a time when people have trouble trusting others let alone themselves, building followership because you are trustworthy is a powerful asset – and essential for getting promoted.
Being trusted by others is not earned just because you are likeable. You must know how to build rapport, be a strong communicator, present the right credentials, be a master at conflict resolution, and be diplomatic with people. These are the keys to building trust in your workplace as I discuss in detail in my article – Effective Managers Earn Trust Quickly By Doing 5 Things Well.
5. Be Loyal At All Costs
Being loyal to your company and the brand you serve is paramount to your success. As those who have done it successfully will tell you, “I drink the company Kool-Aid because I like the taste.” In other words, your personal values must align with those of your organization in order for you to be unconditionally loyal. You know this to be true when, for example, your loyalty is tested by the temptation of internal gossip, or when the executive recruiter calls you about the job your competitor wants to offer you.
Loyalty is a powerful trait that measures one’s character in an instant.
For example, I will never forget the job offers I received from competitors during my tenure at Sunkist. While these other companies offered to pay me more money, they could never replace my responsibilities at the time, future opportunities, and the camaraderie and trust I had built with my colleagues and the executive team. As difficult as the temptations were, my loyalty to Sunkist paid off and led to multiple promotions.
Getting promoted requires a lot more than just what your job description demands. As you begin to map-out your career goals for 2013, I strongly urge you to integrate these five principles into your plan. Hold yourself accountable. Be responsible. Allow your integrity to flourish. Enjoy your promotion!
Forbes.com, by Glenn Llopis