Advice for receiving a promotion is as prevalent as it is vague with the majority of tips boiling down to pep talks and abstract and unhelpful suggestions such as “be more confident.” But there is real, actionable advice to be heeded straight from the top of the food chain. And even if you aren’t looking for a boost up the corporate ladder, these tips can help you remain a valued employee. Chew on the following bits of wisdom from a collection of bosses from fields as diverse as marketing, tech, executive recruiting, and financial planning and find out just what you need to do to move up the totem pole.
1. Employers want to hire smart people, and an excellent way to show off your intellect and bring attention to potential missteps is to challenge your boss’ thinking when you know he or she is wrong. The idea here is not to be argumentative or seek to undermine authority, but to craft well-developed points to address shortcomings in your boss’ way of thinking. Bring the fact and figures that show just how your point is more correct or valid.
2. At the end of the day, all the screw ups, both small and large, wind up at the feet of your boss. So, keeping the boss informed of recurring and large-scale problems is a great way to give him or her time to work on a solution and to ensure that you are on top of the problem and have your own plan to fix it.
3. Navigating office politics is a slippery slope at the best of times, but we all have to work with a diverse set of personalities facing real-world problems that affect everyone around you. It is inevitable that problems are going to crop up and you are going to deal with feelings of resentment. But, unless there is a real problem, it is important to keep the drama out of your boss’ face. The less gossip and complaints you lob through your boss’ door, the more worthy you will show yourself to be for a bump up the ladder.
4. No one enjoys repeating themselves and most bosses have the expectation that they will not have to give directions more than once. For clarity’s sake, keep notes on all of your tasks and record everything you need to remember. And while you are writing down your notes take a few moments to think of any questions you may have about your work and bring them up right then.
5. One prerequisite of receiving a promotion is having your boss recognize your achievements. But that doesn’t mean being arrogant and condescending. Confidence is a great characteristic to have, but shoving your accomplishments down your boss’ throat won’t get you anywhere. It is best to just let your work speak for itself, but if you are concerned that you aren’t being noticed set up a meeting to give an overview of what you are working on and solicit feedback on ways to improve your strategy.