If you're thinking this is the year you're going to land that promotion, now is the time to start positioning yourself for success. Stepping into a leadership role is as much about talent as it is about creating a new way of thinking about yourself, leadership, and your career goals.
Today you have to be mindful and intentional about the direction you want to take in your career. What’s your goal for your professional advancement? Is it a promotion to a director, vice-president, or are you eyeing a spot in the C-Suite? Regardless of where you'd like to land, you want to put yourself in the best position to be chosen to fill that coveted role.
When my clients come to me feeling stuck, stagnant, or at a crossroads in their careers, thinking they want to make a shift, through our work together, these women have positioned themselves for significant promotions in the very organizations they thought they wanted to leave.
It's a matter of taking control of your career and building the roadmap for your success.
1. Get Clear on Why You Want to Step Into Leadership - Are you ready to be a leader, or do you want to title and pay? Is this aligned with your long-range goals for what you want in your career? What type of leader do you want to be? Who and what do you want to lead: a team or a function? Clarity of what you want and where you're going will help to ensure you end up in the right place. Don't take on a role that's not aligned with your strengths and talents or exposes you to new skills and opportunities that will take you where you want to go in your career.
2. Create a Compelling Brand Presence - If you want to be a leader, you have to be seen as a leader. Even though you may only show up in Zoom meetings, you want to show up like the one in charge. Now may be the time to revamp your wardrobe, improve your interpersonal communication, deal with any imposter syndrome, and start identifying yourself as a leader. Your current image could be sabotaging your brand and ultimately your income, as well as your behavior and style of communication, so get some feedback to determine whether or not your brand is on the right track.
3. Get and Stay Visible - Keep your head down, work hard, and do a good job doesn't work anymore. Now is not the time to sit back hoping someone's going to 'tap you on the shoulder" and invite you to promote. You're going to have to strategically situate yourself on projects, committees or take on other duties that will raise your visibility and showcase your talent. It's important to stand out, particularly if you're working remotely. Studies show that people who work remotely are 13% more productive than when in the office; statistically, they've been less likely to get promoted. In the past, this has been due to faulty assumptions about the ability to lead remotely. The pandemic has done a lot to shift that perception, but not entirely. If you want to wear your bunny slippers while advancing your career, you have to raise your visibility and demonstrate your reliability
4. Learn Industry Trends - Let go of the status quo and the "this is always how we do things" attitude. Stay up-to-date on industry trends and get in tune with the mission and vision of your organization, particularly if that mission has changed as a result of the pandemic. It’s not about throwing everything out and starting over, but rather considering what changes or updates need to be developed and instituted to ensure the organization's success.
5. Build Relationships - Be strategic about building key relationships and connecting with people who can support you in your career. As they say, your net worth is often found in your network, so look at networking both within and outside of your organization as an investment in your future. It’s also important to let people know that you’re interested in being promoted. People can’t help or support you if they don’t know you’re interested.
6. Track Your Accomplishments - Too often, I hear smart, intelligent women undervalue what they bring to the table. Women tend to wait for others to promote their achievements instead of doing it for themselves. While the art of self-promotion may feel like you’re bragging, it’s really just about sharing relevant information about your talents, strengths, and skills. Write press releases, post on social media, and send an email to key players in your organization when you’ve done something to contribute to their bottom line. If you make it a habit to take the last few minutes of the day to jot down your achievements, you won’t forget all you’ve done, and you’ll bolster for confidence.
7. Pay Attention to Who Gets Promoted - Throughout my years of organizational consulting and leadership development, I’ve heard CEOs, directors, and VPs express what they want in their leaders. It ranges from loyalty to being outspoken or a risk-taker to motivate and inspire a team and have a strong track record of achievement. You must be familiar with your organization's promotion patterns or at least with your team or department. Once you learn the signals for promotion, you can then go back to the initial point and map against the type of leader YOU want to be. If it feels like a match, you know you’re in the right place and can implement a strategy that will get you on the fast track to your next promotion.
Need to get yourself ready for your next promotion? Let’s connect.