WHETHER you are a team member wanting to move into your first team leader role or a team leader who is eager to move to the next level, there are certain steps you can take to not only increase your chances of success but to also reduce the amount of time it takes to achieve your goal.

It can be a jungle out there, with many people competing for limited positions. You need every advantage you can to help you get ahead.

If promotion is on your mind, I encourage you to follow a simple, four-step formula that will help you to stand out from the crowd and make you Ripe for that promotion.


Reflect on how you can improve

Stepping up to the next level is going to require a lot of learning, which also means the potential to make mistakes. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes as long as you learn from them.

This is where the skill of reflection is essential. I recommend you start keeping a journal to record your actions and reflect on how you can improve for the future.

You can also record your successes as well as your failures. Whatever you write down can be used as evidence when the time comes for you to be interviewed for a new position.

Most people don’t bother to do this and tend to forget many of the things they have done, missing out on the chance to demonstrate their experience when it counts.


Invite feedback

If you want to grow into the next-level role, you need to get comfortable with receiving feedback and not just the positive kind. If you get into the habit of asking for feedback on a regular basis, you will find that people start to see you as more open and are likely to share more with you, including promotion opportunities.

It could be as simple as asking people to describe one thing you did well and one area where you could improve for next time. You need to avoid being defensive when faced with less than positive feedback. You must genuinely want to hear what people have to say so that you can use it to reflect and improve.


Put forward ideas

If your goal is to be a leader rather than just a manager, you are going to need to start challenging the status quo. Leading is about setting a direction and inspiring people to follow you to that end goal while managing is about maintaining a steady course.

Come up with ideas on how to make things happen. An idea kept to yourself has far less chance of being germinated into a workable solution that gets adopted. Put forward your ideas to the right people, at the right time and in the right way so they can see you have the capacity to lead your team into unfamiliar territory. They won’t all be successful but keep in mind the words of Linus Pauling: “To get good ideas you need lots of ideas.”


Engage with other leaders

Leading is all about people skills so you need to demonstrate that you can form relationships with others. Become interested in what other leaders at all levels are doing by engaging them in conversation. It could be over coffee, after a meeting or via e-mail.

The important thing is to show you are able to reach out to others and interact with them in a professional manner. When you do, people start to see you in a different light. This makes it easier for decision makers to see you as a potential leader because you are already associating yourself with the people who will become your peers.

If you are serious about being promoted, I challenge you to implement the Ripe formula starting today. I am confident that if you follow these four steps you will find that your chances of being promoted are much greater. Decision makers will be compelled to give you the role because they know that if they don’t, someone else will snap you up!

Article by Karen Schmidt, an award-winning speaker, workshop leader and facilitator with Training Edge International. She helps frontline managers grow into frontline leaders using her workplace gardening philosophy. For more information, e-mail karen.schmidt@trainingedgeasia.com or visit www.trainingedgeasia.com