You’ve been on the job for a while, and from your current position you don’t see much promise for the future. You like the company you work for, and the work you do, but aren’t feeling confident about your prospects for the career growth and advancement you thought were possible when you first applied for the job. While with this company you’ve seen several other employees get promoted into the kind of positions you’ve been dreaming of, and believe you can handle.
So why are you not moving forward?
You do all that is asked by your supervisors. Your work is completed accurately and on time. You help others with their tasks, and without hesitation demonstrate your initiative by performing functions not asked of you or that weren’t even in your job description. You’re punctual and reliable, rarely take vacation time or sick leave, come in early and stay late. You demonstrate a positive attitude, show your creativity and your perseverance.
Yet your career still isn’t progressing!
While not true in all cases, one possibility might be a lack of assertiveness. Doing all that is asked, and even taking on additional responsibilities is just the beginning. For some managers to notice your potential for upward mobility on the job, it might take your stepping outside your comfort zone. Here are just a few ideas:
- Taking on an unfamiliar task and successfully completing it with positive results.
- Instigating and leading a new project.
- Standing up for an idea that may not be popular but that is well thought out.
- Demonstrating leadership by heading up a committee or team.
- Teaching a coworker how to perform an unfamiliar task.
- Showing your commitment to your employer in new ways.
- Successfully taking on more than is expected without being asked, and without negative impact to your regular workload.
- Taking ownership and corrective action of mistakes, as well as acknowledgment for achievements.
Doing things outside the office that directly or incidentally benefit your employer can also help you get noticed for advancement. Things like:
- Coaching a team (from the company or in the community) helps grow leadership and management skills
- Taking classes to learn new skills or information on topics relevant to your job, or to improve existing abilities.
- Have a skill or hobby that you are capable of teaching to others? Hold a workshop at the office during lunch or after hours.
- Offer to speak at an industry event representing your employer with confidence, authority and conviction.
- Or take a public speaking class to improve your communication skills, and then give a speech.
Look! No one said this would be easy! And it wont happen over night!
Sure, when you challenge yourself to do things you’ve never done before, there is a risk of failure! But thankfully, these challenges and risks are not life threatening, and are all manageable and surmountable!
The truth is that putting yourself on the line, speaking up in defense of a new idea, and challenging the status quo can lead to the kind of recognition that leads to promotion. When the decision makers see your knowledge and skills grow and recognize the benefit your growth brings to the company, your chances of promotion are greatly improved.
Remember that the reward for this kind of risk isn’t just your career growth; it’s the personal growth that goes with it!
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