Any company with a healthy growth plan is always on the lookout for tomorrow’s leadership. In fact, they may have hired you because they believed you have the talent to eventually lead.
I know, you thought they hired you for your looks.
Because good companies always strive to promote team members into the right jobs, they’re always your first and biggest fan. Everyone wants you to be the next one to get promoted. That way they can stop looking.
If you think your boss is against you, you’ve failed to understand something. Any decent organization wants leaders who produce leaders. Your boss receives recognition for your success.
In fact, unless you’re working for a doomed brand or have a total bonehead for a supervisor, the only person against you is yourself.
(Boneheads bosses only require patience – see subsection three.)
The expression leaders are readers doesn’t just apply to CEOs. Whether you graduated summa cum laude or completed your GED, you must read.
Read about your industry, read about leadership, read about team member development, read about teamworking skills, and read just about anything business-related that piques your interest.
Pull books from any best seller list. This doesn’t mean you have to be a bookworm. Audiobooks are as common today as their pulpy counterparts.
Plan to listen to audiobooks more than once. They take more time to sink in.
The first person you should tell about your new reading habit is your direct supervisor. Let’s assume we’re talking about a female supervisor in this case.
She may have some recommended reading for you. Let her know what you are reading and why you are reading it.
It shouldn’t be “so I can get promoted,” or “so I can make more money,” even though those things may be top on your list. She’s smart. She knows you want those things too, but if that’s the first thing out of your mouth she may question your internal compass.
Your motivation should be something about developing yourself or others. You want to be ready for opportunities when and if they arise. You want to be more than a participant, but a contributor.
This is critical. Once you’ve let your supervisor know you are open to opportunities, you need to let it go, at least for a while.
An easy way to accomplish this is to ask her when would be a good time to follow-up? She may tell you to get back to work and let her worry about that. There’s your answer.
She may agree to sit down with you every month to review your development. You hope it’s the latter, but remember she is holding the keys to your castle. Gripping down on her will only break that relationship.
If 90 days passes without mention of your conversation, ask her to sit down again. Get some one-on-one time, then ask what else you could be doing to make yourself a better contributor.
Hopefully, you are never in a position to go over your supervisor’s head for feedback. If this is the case, you need to consider the company for which you are working. Are you in right place?
People quit leaders, not companies, but those leaders represent the company. Perhaps it’s time you went elsewhere.
If you think you’re worth more elsewhere, then go see what you are worth. Polish your resume and shop it around. You’ll find out your worth quickly in the wild.
There is a difference between confidence and cockiness. Bragging to anyone on your accomplishments forces others to tolerate you. They may not fire you, but they will not promote you.
Compliments are lovely but don’t ask for them. People who are good at their jobs don’t need to tell anyone. They just kill it. Every. Single. Day.
If you are good, you already know it. If you’re great they will tell you. You won’t have to say but one word, “thanks.” When they come to you with criticism, you thank them again for their patience and for helping you get better.
Motivated employees who want to get promoted, but are unteachable because they’re either arrogant or faultless, send up red flags.
If somebody tells you that you’re unteachable, be grateful that person had the courage to confront you. Most people who are unteachable are that way because nobody ever tells them. It’s an uncomfortable conversation for both parties.
Nothing will make you better at your job than teaching others. Nothing will more closely simulate what you will do when promoted than the development of others. Jump at any chance to teach what you’ve learned.
When you teach others you put into words exactly what you know. If you have integrity, you now must demonstrate what you’ve taught exactly as you’ve taught it.
You’ll get better and that person will thank you for taking the time to help. You supervisor will appreciate the good work you’ve done.
That said, she will not appreciate you undermining her leadership by helping when it’s unwanted. Make sure it’s okay for you to help.
Stay the course of these leadership behaviors. While in time they will become second nature, these will follow you all the way up the ladder.
Even the CEO must remain teachable and have patience. If you ever have the chance to shake that person’s hand, ask her what books she is reading.
Excuse yourself to make a note right then and there. She’ll remember that more than anything. She’ll probably ask your supervisor what is the plan to develop you.