When I first started my career, the thought of moving up to a higher level wasn’t something I was thinking about. This was due to the fact I was more concerned about mastering the work related to the role I was in. As the years progressed, I became more aware of the career advancement of others. However, at that time, it was a mystery to me about how they moved ahead in their career.
The fact I didn’t have someone mentoring me during the first decade of my career is what I would attribute to being one of the greatest missed opportunities. Although, at that time, I wasn’t aware that having a mentor was an option. If I had realized this, the approach I took towards managing my career would have been significantly different. For one thing, I would have stayed on track to pursue a career which involved having more creativity infused into my daily role.
The expression that we have a 20/20 perception from our rear-view mirror may not be entirely accurate. My reason for suggesting this, is that we often forget or edit out some of the details that contributed to the outcome of the experience. Both good and bad ones.
When it comes to managing your career from a fully intentional approach to doing so, one of the first factors I noted above is that you should seek out counsel from someone to help you to do so. Your arrangement does not have to be overly official, but it should be with an individual who has successfully navigated the type of forward progress you are seeking.
There are numerous ways to get ahead in your career, and no one perfect way of doing so. That’s the good news. The downside is that you should consider whether moving ahead and up to the loftier roles in your career are really where you aspire to be?
Many of the leaders I have worked with have often noted that some of their best years of their career were when they were either individual contributors on a team. The teams they preferred working on were ones that were fully integrated, interdependent and focused on a single goal of achievement.
Now let’s get back to addressing whether you are interested in managing your career to higher levels, and how to go about doing so. The first step we covered already, but is worth repeating. Do you truly aspire to climb up to the highest levels of management? The second matter, also worth repeating, is to address ensuring you have a mentor or someone to guide you in the process of moving up in your role.
The third critical factor to consider is whether you have set yourself up in a role that will allow you to progress. Some roles have clearly delineated paths to the top, and yet the top level for the role may not take you to where you want to end up.
Here are some suggestions for how to go about managing your way up the career ladder.
- Consider whether a lateral move may in fact provide you with additional experience you will need to progress to the next level.
- Is your boss aware of your interest in moving up?
- Do you have the type of boss who will support helping you to move up in your career? Not all bosses are “pro” you.
- In addition to your mentor, seek out others either inside your company, or within your industry who have successfully navigated their way up to a role you desire.
- Once you find someone besides your mentor to help you with your upward career movement, ask them to help you map out both the timeline and steps to take to accomplish this. In other words, have a written plan in place.
- Applying a well through strategy to your upward mobility career plan will also be crucial to your success formula.
- Often timing plays a large role in when opportunities avail themselves, and sometimes your experience may not match where you need to be to make a move.
- There is an “art” to moving up in an organization. One of the most critical portions of the artistry of doing this is to hone your influencing skills. Consider how much experience you have with influencing others, and think about the outcomes of your influence.
- Besides having your boss support you, have you put together your other “support champions”? These people will play a role in helping to drop both verbal and written endorsements for you as you are plotting your forward progression.
- Your “support champions” should be a blend of people at different levels, as having a balanced group of people supporting you will serve you better than only being supported from top level executives. However, some people choose strictly to only manage-up to others in higher roles.
- Managing across is also a technique to manage-up, as you will need and want to be supported by the colleagues who will eventually be reporting to you. Don’t underestimate the value of this.
Patience is a hard trait to master, and it will take a combination of patience, timing, support and a solid plan which needs to be executed well to get you to the level you ultimately desire to be at. Good luck with the process.
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