You’re the kind of person who has their eyes on the summit. You long for more responsibility, influence, and more fulfillment in your career.
But your leader isn’t going to just hand you a promotion for taking up space at a desk. You’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to prove you’re ready for the next step by knocking it out of the park in your current position. How do you do that? How do you demonstrate you’re worthy of moving up?
Know your role
Be crystal clear of your responsibilities. You need to know exactly what’s expected from you. Hopefully, you’ve been given a job description with details. Whether you have that document or not, ask your leader one simple question: What does it look like for me to win in this role? Then, go do it!
Be a good listener, and ask for feedback. You don’t have to wait for an annual evaluation to find out how you’re doing. Asking for your leader’s opinion regularly will develop rapport, and give you valuable information for improving your performance.
When it comes to receiving feedback, shut your mouth and listen. You may have to eat a few slices of humble pie, but nobody’s perfect. Plus, it’s the only way to get better!
Accept your role
Accepting your role is all about developing your attitude. Do you bring a creative spark to everything you do? Do you maintain a positive outlook? There’s no next if you don’t crush the now, so develop an attitude of gratitude attitude and adopt some important habits.
First, hone your craft. Be the best you can be, no matter what you do. You should know your craft backward and forward, and find opportunities to practice it every day. Also, take initiative and look for problems that can be solved. If you see something, say something!
Finally, be collaborative. Make connections with your teammates and with professional in your area. Don’t hesitate to reach out across departments and disciplines. This will help lay a foundation for developing relationships with people who will help you grow.
Maximize your role
Self-discovery is a key component of maximizing your role. You must know who you are and what you’re capable of. To earn a promotion, you must go above and beyond your current responsibilities.
Along those lines, improving your skill set is a lifelong endeavor. Develop daily habits that will enable you to grow. Start thinking strategically about the big picture of your team or department, and make ideas go from good to great.
And don’t forget to value your teammates. Do what you can to help them win. Practically speaking, this means being present in your organization. Don’t eat lunch in the break room alone every day. Go to lunch, grab coffee, and get to know your coworkers. When you look out for the best interests of your teammates, you’re advancing the good of the entire organization. As you support and encourage other players, doors of opportunity will open.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to set specific goals for yourself. Write out your goals clearly, and put them on a timeline so you know when and how to execute them. Talk to your leader about your desire to grow and earn more responsibility, too. Ask what qualities, certifications, or additional skills you should have in order to reach your destination.
Develop your character
Focus on becoming a person with integrity who deserves more responsibility. Be honorable, and treat people the way you want to be treated. Respect their ideas and needs. Reliability is a key trait, also. Being reliable is about building trust over a consistent period of time.
People should smile when they cross paths with you at the coffee station or walking down the hall, so be likeable. No one’s in a great mood all the time, and this isn’t an expectation for perfection. Still, you must do you best to bring joy to others.
Finally, be coachable. When a new opportunity, piece of technology, or policy is put on your plate, soak it up like a sponge. And don’t get defensive if your leader notices an area that needs improvement. Choose humility, and embrace the opportunity to learn.
I firmly believe that if you follow these four steps, a promotion will find you!