THE corporate world is competitive, volatile and unpredictable. The secret to scaling the corporate ladder is to move up one rung at a time so that you can manage each step effectively.
How can young professionals build enduring success and advance their careers to the next level — and keep rising? Here are points to keep in mind:
Bosses ultimately want someone they can trust to do a job for them. If they know the individual is professional, credible and works in the best interests of the organisation, then they will rely on him to take on a managerial position.
Managing is also about inspiring and retaining the leaders of the future, so bosses will want to ensure that their managers are able to groom those below them to provide a pipeline of future management talent.
Just being good in your job does not necessarily mean you will be a good manager.
This requires a different skill set and relies very much on your soft skills. Your boss will assess his future managers on their potential people management and leadership skills as well as their performance in their current role.
You don’t have to shout from the rooftops about all the extra work you have done to get noticed. It is about making yourself indispensable.
Does your boss always rely on you? Does he turn to you frequently for help and suggestions? Are you making him look good? If you are being assigned specific projects, it is probably because your management feels that you are the most capable person for the job.
So focus on proving that your boss has judged your abilities correctly, and adopt a positive attitude at all times. Learn to take credit when it is due as this will help you climb the ladder more quickly.
You need to have regular “career chats” during appraisals and show you are ambitious by asking your boss what you need to achieve to move on to the next level.
Set milestones so that once you have reached them, you are able to point out that you have successfully accomplished what has been tasked to you to clinch that promotion.
You should also work on your soft skills by interacting, grooming and training your colleagues and new recruits as this will help hone your management skills and display your ability to take the next step.
Know your job
You are given a promotion not for the time you have spent in a role but because you deserve it. A management position often comes with serious responsibilities. You will be in charge of other people’s careers and you need to be equipped with the right skills to manage and lead others.
Sometimes it is better to stay at a certain level to gain a thorough understanding of the role rather than look for quick promotions and set yourself up for failure. You should feel challenged, but you do not want a position that overwhelms you.
If your promotion is based strictly on merit, then your peers and subordinates should not be jealous.
As long as you are not advancing your career at the expense of your colleagues, you should be confident and proud of your achievements.
That said, it is always difficult when you and your colleagues have started off as peers but you are now their manager. It is important that you lead by example and make yourself approachable so they will come and discuss issues with you.
You need to be sensitive to their feelings and realise that although there might be some jealousy, you still have to do your job.
An attitude of arrogance or indifference is not going to win you any friends, but you also have to keep in mind that you are not paid to be their friend but rather, to be their team captain and lead them to achieve your organisation’s business objectives.
Learn from your mistakes, as well as from those around you and above you. It is important to recognise that mistakes will be made but as you gain more experience, you will make fewer errors or bad judgement calls over time, which will ultimately make you a better manager.
Observe the people you think are good managers and inspirational leaders and emulate their behaviour.
Constantly share your ideas, thoughts and opinions with your people to motivate them. The golden rule for management is: Be quick to compliment and slow to criticise.
Most importantly, spend time with your direct boss and ask for feedback regularly so that you can identify areas for improvement.