It can be a struggle to get ahead as a young woman in the corporate workplace. Your boss has told you on numerous occasions that you’re doing a great job, but there never seems to be an opportunity for advancement. It’s almost as if you turn invisible each time a leadership position becomes available.
Sounding all too familiar? It may be time to re-evaluate your strategy. Whether your goal is to be a Supervisor, Manager, or Team Leader, here are a few tips and tricks to help you stand out to your employers and to lock down your dream leadership position.
Reach Beyond Your Job Description
If you do your job impeccably but still get passed over for a promotion, you need to show your superiors that you are capable of thinking outside the box. Instead of zeroing in on how your role contributes to the company, ask yourself how you can benefit the business apart from doing what you’re paid to do.
Cross-training in another department is a fantastic place to start. Learning the ropes on another desk can often help you do your own job better. It helps you understand how different departments interact with each other and contribute to the common goal. (i.e. growing the bottom line.) It also demonstrates to your boss that you’re engaged and capable of growth. That alone can quickly separate you from the crowd the next time your employer needs to promote internally.
Another perk is that the more thoroughly you understand all the moving parts within your company, the more invaluable you become as an employee!
Don’t be afraid to speak up and take hold of the reins. Come to staff meetings prepared and contribute where you can. Introduce new ideas and commit to implementing them.
These ideas don’t need to be directly related to the work you do, they could be extracurricular endeavors that contribute to workplace morale. For example, you could volunteer to start an employee newsletter, or organise a fundraiser for charity.
These types of projects are great because they often require the help of your colleagues. If you can bring together a team of people and complete a project, you’re showcasing your leadership skills by being a team-player and inspiring others to get things done.
Be Vocal About Your Goals
Unfortunately, it’s usually not enough to work your tail off and just hope to get noticed. Be open with your superiors about what your objectives are. Ask about what skills you need to develop in order to grow within the company. If you never speak up about what you want, your employer may assume you’re content in your current role, and may not think of you as someone with potential for advancement.
Getting your boss in your corner can go a long way because you’re flagging yourself as “promotion material” while inviting them to work with you to achieve your goals. Depending on the company, they may even invest in you by paying for relevant training courses if they know you’re serious about learning. Just remember to take their advice and accept any constructive criticism with grace!
If your company does an annual review, that is the perfect time to start the dialogue about your goals. However, if review time is still a long way off, request a one-on-one with your manager to get the ball rolling sooner.
It could be that the biggest barrier between you and your promotion is yourself. Beware of thoughts filled with self-doubt and questions that begin with, “What if?” (What if I make mistakes? What if I don’t meet expectations?).
It’s natural to be nervous about pursuing a role with more responsibility, but there is an endless list of excuses you could be using to hold yourself back. Learn to trust yourself.
Following the previous steps can help to grow your confidence and prepare you for what to expect once you do move into a managerial position.
Above all, stay motivated by focusing on your accomplishments and how far you’ve come. Realise that by wanting to grow and be the best you can be, you’re already displaying the key traits of someone destined for leadership.