WORKERS who are positive, get along with others and stay on top of their game position themselves best for a promotion.
Being good at their job is no longer enough, as often the more senior the role, the less likely they are performing the technical tasks for which they were first hired.
A US survey by Harris Poll finds a negative or pessimistic attitude, regularly being late for work or leaving early, using vulgar language and taking too many sick days are the top five reasons that hurt a worker’s chance at promotion.
Achieving one, however, is not as simple as working overtime or ignoring personal calls during working hours.
LinkedIn Influencer Alex Malley says good employers are always looking for opportunities to promote people, so employees should not wait until a role is vacant to show they are the best person for the job.
“I want people who are striving to achieve goals, to making it happen, being constructive in their workplace, not feeling the glass is half empty but half full,” he says.
“I want them to show initiative.”
Malley, who is chief executive of CPA Australia as well as a TV host and author, says the more workers move up the ladder, the less likely they are to be doing the things they are good at.
Instead, they need to have a sense of what is the right way to act in the moment and managing people, more than technical ability.
He says those who are not too focused internally – both on themselves and the organisation – and can see the business environment they work in with a wider view, can get themselves noticed.
Those that work for respect, rather than a title, office space or bigger pay cheque, will also get the attention of their employer.
People who are good with other people – not necessarily being a people-person, but able to handle office politics without being sucked into petty disputes, for example – also show promotion potential.
It is a handy skill to hold despite the increasing use of technology in the workplace, Malley says.
“Wherever technology goes, people are still important – having influence on outcomes, through building good relationships and being able to show me they are able to come up with an outcome,” he says.
“Reacting to difficult situations is all about leadership.”
He says workers need to stay contemporary and while older generations may need to work on their digital communication skills, younger workers still need to be able to write.
Malley says workers can start on their next promotion as soon as they begin a new job, and although they may not receive the promotion immediately, can bring outside perspectives to the table.
“If you learn early in your career to soak it up, to learn to respect people you don’t like, I can ensure people that promotional pathways will expand very quickly,” he says.
TIPS FOR GETTING AHEAD
FORGET about “me” – workers who want to get ahead need to think about “we”.
Janine Garner, author and founder of women’s business network LBD Group, says workers who are team players are more likely to be successful in today’s workforce.
“There’s no doubt that there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to workplace behaviour, particularly if you are looking to get promoted,” she says.
“To forge a successful path, it’s all about engaging with others and understanding that there truly is no ‘I’ team.”
Here are her top tips to be first in line for a promotion.
1. SHARE CREDIT WHEN CREDIT IS DUE
“The temptation to take all the glory for your team’s success can be overwhelming when you have led a project,” she says.
“Understanding that everybody needs to be given accolades, no matter how insignificant their part in the eventual win may seem to have been is critical.”
2. BE BRAVE TO BE WEAK
Share your weaknesses.
“Too often in the workplace, we see admitting a lack of knowledge or understanding
as admitting to failure,” she says. “It is actually a form of strength because it shows our peers and our subordinates that we are willing to seek help and show vulnerability. This engenders trust and encourages others in return to admit the same issues.”
3. APPRECIATE INTELLECTUAL CURRENCY
“Not everything is about the bottom line,” Garner says.
“Focusing inward and seeing only your own KPIs and bonus targets means that you miss out on banking others’ knowledge.
“Skills are an increasingly valuable currency.
“Suggest to a teammate that you swap a skill for a skill – teach each other something you previously had no knowledge of.”
4. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
Part of teamwork is the ability to change situations that are not acceptable, she says.
“If you think that an idea could be bettered or that your workplace has unacceptable conditions for members of your team, then don’t just sit there, start the change,” Garner says.
“Collaboration rather than isolation can be uncomfortable in the short term but the long-term rewards benefit the team.”
5. DON’T FEAR NETWORKING
“You may see it as a dirty word but if you network effectively it can provide a truly collaborative workspace,” she says.
“Professional networks are essential to give support, encouragement and knowledge along the upwards progression path.
“Embrace like-minded thinkers who understand what you want to achieve and whom you want to support in-kind.”
Melody Torbet, 23, went from school, where she studied tourism and food and hospitality, to work as a guest services attendant.
After almost two years she became a front office supervisor, then duty manager last November, then last week was appointed assistant front office manager.
“It was good to see people before me (move ahead), to see where I started out, where I aspired to and see the steps that they took in order to get there,” she says.
Torbet aspires for a more senior management role, which human resources director Basia Mula says is achievable because of its promotion-from-within policy.
“Training people in technical skills is quite easy, but attitude, behaviour … they are the reason (guests) come back to the hotel,” she says.
“(Promotion) is available to anyone that shows the right level of dedication, desire.”