Improve Your Chances of Career Progression By Elevating Your Currency

Improve Your Chances of Career Progression By Elevating Your Currency

Most employees work hard, show up each and every day with good intent and admirable integrity.

They are dedicated, loyal, and often receive comments such as “takes one for the team”, “tenacious”, “perseveres despite challenging roadblocks”, “huge capacity” and many more similar accolades.

Despite modelling great values and aligning with corporate culture, some of the best employees never get promoted. Why is that?

These comments although complimentary, do not necessarily translate into career progression. Sometimes there may be additional behaviors that override some of these positive attributes. Here are a few telltale signs that might be getting in the way of your career advancement.

1.  The declaration “I want to be a Vice President”

Many employees inform their managers that their goal is to be an executive. This career aspiration often does not accompany a rationale or business case for why that leader wants to be an executive. And when this happens, the hiring executive interprets this is as a desire for title and status.

What’s missing is an explanation on how you intend to add greater value. What is your offering? What makes you executive ready? How is your proposed value equated with an executive level contribution?

2.  Solving for Today

It is your mandate to solve for short to medium term goals. However, I often hear from senior leaders that employees are responsive to immediate demands and rarely step back and ask themselves the bigger questions.

In other words, are you able to improve or change things that enhance the future or have wider applicability? If you are solely responding to the here and now, then you are at risk for developing a brand that is more reflective of a reactive problem solver than demonstrating an ability to be strategic in your solutioning. Consider instead how you can offer solutions that have broader implications for the organisation.

3.  Pessimistic or Woe Is Me

It’s true, life is not fair. When you complain about your lot in life not only do you deplete energy from the room, you also run the risk of attracting a groundswell of negativity. You are not seen as part of the solution.

 Your role should be to propose constructive ideas on how to remove or mitigate obstacles and generate creative solutions. Great leaders are looked upon to be resourceful problem solvers, not detractors.

4.  Don’t Be A Pushover

Being exceptionally nice and accommodating without ever setting boundaries puts you at risk for not declaring what you believe in, being over extended and not having the ability to negotiate on behalf of your stakeholders.

The end result is that your manager might rightly assume that you will have significant challenges navigating a more complex mandate. Equally important, you might have difficulty standing up to strong or strident personalities.

At the senior level, you are required to stand tall for your ideas. The art of saying no and negotiating for what you need or what is best for the enterprise is paramount.

In summary, if you truly want to get ahead and reach the executive ranks the right approach is both simple and complex. There is a fundamental framework that you must adopt.

It might help if you approached your job with the mindset of an entrepreneur, running your own business. This means that attitudinally and behaviorally you are invested in enhancing productivity, increasing employee morale, building stakeholder relationships, and devising ways to innovate and be creative.

This approach applies to your business partners, whether internal or external. Your ultimate goal is to elevate your currency. When you enhance your currency, decision makers view you as a leader who can play a pivotal role in shaping and driving the future of the organisation. It’s then that you have truly levelled up.

Cindy Wahler, Ph.D., C.Psych. is a leadership consultant specializing in executive coaching and talent management.

She can be contacted at [email protected]

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