Think you deserve better at work? 6 strategic moves to help you get ahead
Do you feel like you’re not getting the opportunities to demonstrate what you’re capable of at work? Or, you don’t have the freedom to pursue the assignments that most fascinate you? That you’re working hard at your job, but not getting due credit from your boss and colleagues?
Many of us believe that we deserve a lot more from our workplace than we’re getting today. In a recent survey by Monster India, majority of respondents - 78.52% feel they ought to be in a better position at work. A mere 10.96% are happy where they are. And while few things in life are more powerful than a positive push, simply harbouring the belief that you can do better isn’t enough. To get ahead at work, you need to #GoOutAndBe. Use these easy yet effective tips to get ahead at work:
1. Be pleasant
It's simple logic - people give opportunities to people they like. So ask yourself, do others enjoy being around you? Take a good hard look at your personality. Do you come across as confident and honest? Are you appreciative and attentive towards others? Embrace these traits, and you’ll find you will be treated better, seen as more successful and confident, and your ascent at work may be quicker.
2. Speak up
How many times have you sat in a meeting with an interesting idea in your head, only to hear another colleague speak up, be applauded and land the project? Going forward, establish your presence by contributing to discussions. Don’t pause and don’t second-guess yourself.
Joel Garfinkle, executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level, recommends jumping in within the first 10 minutes of the meeting. “The sooner you contribute, the less time you have to generate self-doubt. When you delay saying anything, it gets harder to break into the discussion,” he says in this Fortune article.
3. Take credit for your work
Ever shared an idea with a co-worker, only to hear him pitch it during a meeting? Or stood aside while a team member - or boss - accepts all the praise for a project you spent hours working on as well?
While we all want to believe that our work speaks for itself, it’s important to take credit where credit is due. In a Harvard Business Review article, Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics, says, “In the real world, it matters who gets credit. That all goes into the bank account of how much value you bring to the organisation and plays into promotion decisions, raises, and assignments.”
So the next time someone tries to undercut you, don't let it slide. Talk to the person about why they felt justified taking all the credit for the project or idea. Simultaneously, use any opportunity to demonstrate your involvement with the project, like joining in on an email discussion about it to prove your knowledge. Consider asking a third person to speak about your involvement in a meeting when the project comes up in conversation.
Find yourself stuck in a corner doing a small project that nobody has heard of? You’ll have a hard time getting noticed, much less getting ahead.
When the opportunity arises, put your hand up for the difficult and high profile projects. You need to be seen as someone who can get things done (well!) if you want to be selected for promotions, bonuses and other accolades.
5. Showcase your expertise
Build your personal brand online – through a blog or social media – by showcasing your expertise on some work-related subject. You could write about problems you have come across in your line of work and offer your solutions or, in case that’s against your company policy, share your perspective on the challenges companies and employers are dealing with within your niche, and share suggestions for ways to do things differently.
The exposure will improve your value to your current employer, which in turn can help you get ahead when opportunities arise.
What’s the point of working hard if nobody knows about you? Being a “self-marketer” at work is important. The more people who know you, your strengths and abilities, and your ambitions, the more likely your name will be come up when opportunities arise. A good relationship with a manager or someone senior in your department can do the trick for you. Studies show that a mentor higher up in the company influences four out of five internal promotions. Remember networking is key.
Also, look outside the scope of your regular job to increase your visibility. For instance, offer to speak at industry or career-related events. This will help you build your personal brand as well as provide more visibility to your company.
Remember, gaining a promotion requires more than simply doing the job well. You need to #GoOutAndBe.