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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

5 Ways to Get Promoted

More and more often, I keep hearing stories of high potential leaders leaving organizations they have helped build because, and I quote: "I didn't see a way forward for myself." So, I started thinking, if there are high potentials who are moving on from strong organizations for perceived greener pastures because they "can't see" a way forward, then those lower in the organizational talent pool must be positively blind to what they need to do to pave a way forward and upward.

So, today, I wanted to run down at least a few fundamental ways you can help yourself stand out in a positive way when talent bench strength is being evaluated in your company.

You are already in the shadows of the company, but you can still stand out

Even though you may be in the lower rungs of the org chart, people are watching, and you are in ultimate control of what they see in you. Let me help you right away, no person ever gets up the company chart by tearing other people down. You must stay supportive and positive of those who are in front of you in line. You might even have to adopt the same objectives as your superiors. Find ways to help them accomplish their objectives. Find ways your strengths can support and prop up their weaknesses. You need their votes and endorsements to get to your next spot. Advancement comes slowly for complainers and disrupters.

Find things that need to be fixed your superior will appreciate

When you see things that could be corrected, refrain from passing judgment on them. Don't blurt out, "well, this is screwed up" or "this sucks." Bring it to the attention of your superior and offer ideas to improve it and fix it. Don't grumble if they give it to you to fix. It might be a test to check out your attitude and skills. Pass the test. Even if it's not a test, behave as if it is! Be a troubleshooter and problem solver in the little things and you will find yourself advancing to bigger issues and problems to fix due to the confidence that will grow in you and your abilities.

Make it about contributing, not getting promoted

Let the opportunity of being noticed and promoted be something that comes to you, not something you chase down, rope and tie up. It will come to you because of your attitude, your skills, and because you want the team and organization to be better. If your soon to be built history shows you take these things on with the right outlook and behavior, promotion will come to you at your current company, or at one which does appreciate your results.

Relationships, relationships, relationships

Not personal, but professional relationships are built on attitude, skillsets and results. The most important thing in your professional career is you and the second most important thing is your relationships. Relationship skills will count for even more as you advance up the hierarchy. Make sure you solve drama; you are not creating it. There is hardly ever a neutral position to take, you must take one side or the other. Always be on the side of the organization or leave. You are either bought in or you are not. You are either practicing the mission and values or you are not. There is no Switzerland, you must pick a side. This is relationship investment. It is a very powerful thing for your leader to know you are behind them and you will not waver.

Get there early and if warranted, stay late

Nothing replaces this in building company and relational intangible equity. Everything you do and don't do sends a signal. There is no more positive, powerful signal than showing up early and staying late with warranted and needed positive results. Nothing is a more powerful signal that you are fully invested and that this place means something special to you. These kinds of investments show up when consideration is being given around choosing people for more accountability, benefits and rewards.

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