Dreaming of getting a promotion in the near future? It might be time to position yourself for what you want.
“Staying silent, flying under the radar and purely working hard and doing a good job simply will not work,” leadership consultant, Jane Benston says. “Gone are the days that you can wait to be ‘tapped on the shoulder’,” she says.
But what if this has worked for you in the past? “I hear this all the time from smart, successful women,” Jane says. “They tell me that their career success up to this point has come to them purely through hard work and good luck,” she says.
“But to get the more senior leadership roles, a new way of thinking is required. You need to be more strategic, more intentional and position yourself to be considered for the best opportunities.” According to the expert, the first question you need to ask yourself is:
'Do I know where I want my career to head?'
“If you don’t have the answer to this question… it’s pretty difficult to position yourself for that promotion,” Jane says.
The consultant has coached many women at a career crossroads – many of whom had experienced success along the way, but found themselves in a place where they knew they wanted something different. The problem was that many of them lacked clarity and direction of what that looked like.
“Through determining where they wanted to head and learning how to position themselves effectively, these women have snapped up new and exciting opportunities – often much more quickly than they thought would be possible,” Jane says.
So how ready are you for promotion and what are you doing now to position yourself for that next step? Jane has some suggestions.
Get career clarity
“Without clarity of where you are going, it is very likely you will end up some place you would rather not be,” Jane says. Not sure about the specifics? The expert recommends starting with what you do know for certain.
For example, do you want to lead a big team or just a few highly skilled people? What type of products or service is of most interest to you? What new skills or experience do you ideally want to be exposed to in the next position?
Do great work
This might seem obvious, but Jane stresses it still needs to be said. “You will only get promoted if you do great work,” she says. “Why on earth would anyone trust you to manage a bigger role if you aren’t managing this one well… all of the time?”
Stay on the radar
Doing good work is essential, but Jane stresses it is equally as important to be seen, heard and recognised for it. So, instead of flying under the radar, “speak up in meetings and let your opinion be heard,” Jane says.
Or, if the opportunity presents itself, get involved in the high profile projects where you can showcase your skills to a broader group of people. Whatever you do, “make sure you let others know of your accomplishments – in an authentic, non-sales-y way,” Jane says.
Build positive relationships
As Jane explains, relationships are key when it comes to stepping into the next phase of your career.
“Taking time out to meet up with key people either within your organisation or externally is a critical step towards positioning for your next promotion,” she says.
“Ask yourself, who do you know who could assist you to secure your next position? Do they know what your career ambitions actually are?”
Balance short-term and long-term thinking
“Too often I see smart, successful women getting caught up in the day-to-day and forgetting to flex their long-term strategic muscle,” Jane says. Feel like you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture? The expert recommends you refer back to your workplace’s top priorities and longer-term goals, and make sure you are seen to be contributing to the achievement of them.
Develop your executive presence
“To be considered for an executive position, you must be seen as an executive,” Jane says. “This means way you show up around the office, in meetings, in the tearoom matters,” she says.
“This might mean giving your wardrobe an overhaul, dropping the desire to gossip and learning how to work smarter, not harder, so you appear calm and in control of your workload.”
Be intentional and stay focused
It’s one thing to dream of getting a promotion, but another to get strategic and focused on what you want. “So create a plan,” suggests Jane.
“Get clear on what actions you will take and changes you will implement to fast track your way to positioning yourself for promotion,” she says.