Getting a promotion at work can be challenging enough. But if you can, it’s probably wise to do your very best to set yourself up for success and get out of your own way when climbing the corporate ladder.
As a career coach, I get tons of requests from professionals looking to get to the next level in their careers. And while many of these professionals are very good at what they do, they are often overlooked for promotions for reasons that rarely have anything to do with their actual work product. Here are just a few areas I’ve found most impactful. Feel free to add-on in the comments!
1. Not Approachable. Closed door and mean face are two examples of unapproachable behaviors, but the most common behavior of all is EARPHONES in the workplace. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve walked through offices and observed many associates sitting at their desks with earphones in their ears. Wearing earphones, even though music or podcasts may help you to focus or relax more at work, doesn’t increase your chances of promotion. When you wear earphones, you are signaling to those who around you that you don’t want to be bothered. Approaching you will feel like an interruption if you have to pull one earphone out just to hear what someone has to say. If you desire to be considered a leader, you have to be accessible and approachable. Imagine if every time you went to ask your boss something, you had to stop and wait for them to pull an ear bud out. It’s a deterrent and it directly interferes with you being recognized as a “go-to” person who is engaged and “in-the-know” at work. You can’t possibly hear what’s happening around you or be aware of problems you may have solutions to if you’re ‘plugged in’ or isolated in your workspace.
2. Doing the Minimum. Doing what’s required is expected. It is not something viewed as remarkable or outstanding. You were hired to do a job, and your boss expects you to do it. That’s a given. But what’s not expected is what gets you noticed. People get opportunities and promotions because they do what’s unexpected. They go the extra mile without being prompted. It is the difference between simply collecting a paycheck and putting in the extra effort necessary to help the organization become more productive and profitable. That shows real leadership. It is precisely what makes one stand out in the workplace. Anyone can do the minimum. But just anyone isn’t eligible to get the promotion; Only those who differentiate themselves by thinking and doing outside the ordinary do. So instead of thinking “I don’t get paid enough for that.” Try to think about what you’d like your employees to do if you were the owner.
3. Not speaking up. You may have tons of solutions and great ideas, but no one will ever know if you continue to sit in that dreadful meeting without sharing them. Just because you may not have a leadership title doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to say what you know. The only way people recognize your value is when you open your mouth and share your thoughts. This challenge is especially prominent among introverts. The best environment to show others your ability to lead is when you’re in a room with your co-workers and management. The environment you’re in doesn’t change what you know. It just changes the audience you share it with. Don’t bother getting caught up in whether people agree or not. That’s not important. What matters is that you contribute to the conversation, add your perspective and let your voice be heard. Don’t get intimidated by the suits. You weren’t born yesterday. Get in there, speak up and show them what you’re made of.
If you’re looking to get ahead in the workplace, these tips are sure to get you started.