How To Get Past A Stall In Your Business Career
In your working life, there’s not much worse than feeling like a hamster on a wheel, doing the same things every day and not getting anywhere. It’s miserable to have been at a job for too long without a promotion, or worse, to know or suspect that there’s no realistic promotion to be had. But no one but yourself is going to get you out of that rut. With a new year on the horizon, it’s time to reassess your situation and do something about it.
Maybe you have been wrong about opportunities for advancement where you are, or maybe you’ve got to get out there and find new options, but taking these steps will give you the resources you need and the confidence to use them in your quest:
Enhance Your Education
Even though you’re working full-time, you can take advantage of the excellent online MBA programs you can find that will broaden your scope of knowledge and give you new tools for effective communication, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving.
In addition, having an MBA on your resume puts you into the competition for promotions and opportunities that have been there but that you haven’t qualified for. Consider the effort an investment in yourself and your future.
Record Your Accomplishments
Keep track of all your successes at your current job. Project results, sales figures, etc., whatever metrics apply to the work you do. This isn’t meant as an exercise in boosting your self-esteem, though it can’t hurt.
The main thing you’re building, though, is a record of the value you’ve brought to your employer, whether you’re ultimately going to present it to him or her or to the hiring manager at another company. You may have been a diligent worker, but results are what people look for when they’re looking to promote or to hire.
Make Sure People Know What You Can Do
Don’t keep your best qualities hidden under your hat. Fair or otherwise, in a competitive business environment, you’ve got to toot your own horn once in a while. For some people, talking about their own abilities and successes doesn’t come naturally, and they’re afraid of crossing the line into noxious bragging.
But it’s really all just in the way you present it. Say it with confidence and include the person you’re talking to. Something like “Did you know I was the one who came up with the idea for that project? Let me tell you how we did it… “ Now that’s not bragging, is it? It’s simply sharing information that makes you look good.
Brush up on Your Teamwork
Some people feel more comfortable, or even do better work by themselves. But teams seem to be the thing these days and you’d better be good at working as a member of one. Learn – or relearn – how to listen, how to collaborate, how to share expertise, how to ask for help, how to develop consensus.
If you are not sure how, observe how others manage it. Follow through on your part, and if you can volunteer to do more without stepping on anyone else’s toes, do it.
Turn Your Boss Into a Mentor
At your annual review, or whenever an appropriate occasion arises, let your boss know that you want to move up in the company. Let him or her know that you’ve prepared yourself for more responsibility, and that you’ve given thought to how you can help the organization. (Be ready with examples.)
Ask for advice on how you can make it happen. It’s a fair question because any good boss wants to see employees succeed, and it’s all to the good if your attitude encourages him or her to keep an eye on your progress and guide you along the way.
Stay up on what’s happening in your organization from top to bottom, as well as what current trends are in your industry and in the work that you do. Subscribe to a trade magazine, online or otherwise, and be aware of outside and world events that can impact your field. Knowledge is power.
For more insight into how to earn that promotion, read what five columnists at Inc. have to say on the subject.