Megan was a Business Analyst Manager for a large beverage brand. She had been working at the company for three years and enjoyed her role, but was frustrated at the lack of career growth. She had recently been passed over for a promotion. Rather than choose her to lead the department, the company brought in someone from the outside.
"If I do my job well and the people I work with like me then I should get promoted." - Megan
Unfortunately for her, just being good at her job wasn't enough for her to get promoted, so she decided to take action and learn what she was doing wrong. By using a 360-degree feedback tool, she learned that while her subordinates and peers liked her and thought she did good work, the leaders in the company didn't know her or see her as leadership material and therefore were not going to promote her.
How can you be good at your job and build a reputation that gets you noticed and promoted, when the thought of self-promotion makes you cringe?
1. Get Outside Your Department
Offer to work on cross-functional projects that involve other departments so that you can meet people in other departments and add to your skill set. Leadership-level roles tend to require an understanding of how departments work together and the politics that surround each department.
2. Join Company Wide Committees
If you care about your work and your organization, then volunteering your time with a company-wide committee signals to the company that you are there to contribute to the greater good of the community and are not just an individual contributor. It also gives you exposure to more people in the organization and allows more people to get to you know you outside of your job role.
3. Be A Proactive Problem Solver
The people who get noticed aren't the ones who just do their job - they are the ones who go above and beyond their traditional job duties and provide added value to the company. Initiative is the key word here, and bosses love (and notice) an employee who shows initiative. So find a problem or inefficiency in your daily tasks and create a solution that makes life easier for you and your team, without being asked to do so. This activity gives you an opportunity to have a conversation with your boss you otherwise would not have, and it puts you in a good light as someone who is proactive and promotion-worthy.
It's Not About Being Loud Or Popular. It's About Showing People You Care
You will notice that none of the above suggestions require you to stand up and speak in front of a large audience or to schmooze with the higher-ups at happy hour if that is not what you enjoy doing. But if your goal is to step into a leadership role, then you must be known as someone who cares about your community, because as a leader you will be in charge of a group of people that will look to you for guidance and protection. So do your best to show the people you work with how much you care about them and the work of the organization.
What are some of your favorite ways to go beyond your job description and get involved in your organization? Comment below!
Mo Chanmughan, Esq., CPCC, ACC is a certified coach and former practicing attorney who helps professionals that are feeling stuck create more fulfilling careers. He combines strategies from the areas of professional development, emotional intelligence, and personal branding to help people get over their fears and limiting beliefs and gain the clarity and confidence they need to get their careers moving in the right direction.