Looking back on my own successes and failures as both an employee and employer, there are definitely things I did, didn’t do or could have done better.
Here are four of the most important tips I’ve learned along the way that can help anyone, in any job, get ahead:
- Clearly define what success means for you. Set short-term and quarterly career goals with your manager that will help lead you to your long term goals. It’s important to include your manager in this planning so that he or she can help you define those goals, be accountable for them and create a shared vision of success. Make it a habit to check in with your manager on a quarterly basis to review your goals and progress, as well as receive feedback. Even if it’s not standard practice for your company to do 360-degree reviews, having your manager or a peer collect 360-degree feedback for you can be an incredibly productive way to receive constructive criticism that will help you understand your strengths and opportunity areas most thoroughly.
- Volunteer for mini-leadership roles. Not a manager or an executive yet? It’s not too early to practice. Many companies are always looking for people to volunteer to help coordinate happy hours, onboard new employees, or plan the holiday party. All of these will warrant thanks from the leadership team, but more importantly, they serve as opportunities to get cross-functional exposure and practice management and leadership skills.
- Be known as a great resource. Are you an Excel genius? An expert on local restaurants? Fabulous at proofreading? Go beyond your job description by being an open resource for others in the company who could benefit from your talents. I believe that paying it forward will serve you well one way or another in the future. Helping people on your team and people on other teams doesn’t go unnoticed. Recognizing individuals who go above and beyond is a favorite topic of conversation for our management team and a great way for you to get exposure inside boardroom walls, without breaking down the doors.
- Find a friend and a mentor. Find someone within the company who is on another team but is at a similar level or role as you to be a friend, a sounding board and a place to go for candid feedback. Find a mentor within the company who resembles the leader you’d like grow to be. Be proactive with scheduling monthly or quarterly time to give you advice, feedback and unbiased guidance in your long-term career goals.