Text by:Debra Nita
At a time when getting that next promotion, raise or greater visibility is more difficult than ever before, the focus has moved away from merely ticking boxes at the workplace and moved towards learning how to be different (and getting ahead) by doing things differently from everyone else.
Here are our top tips on how to get ahead of your competition without having to lose your sanity (or social life) in the process!
1.Volunteer to take up a side project (whether big or small!) for your boss
There’s no doubt that your boss has a lot on his or her plate. Ordinarily, it would not occur to the team that they could offer a helping hand and pick up one of the tasks. But it doesn’t take much to be extra-ordinary.
I’ve experienced in the past that an offer to cover my boss for a meeting or to even draft an email for him brought about a remarkable relief. A very simple way to get noticed is to be initiative and volunteer to do something that isn’t necessarily “your job”, but has to get done. You’ll soon become top-of-mind, which comes in handy when the boss has something serious to delegate.
2.Ask for feedback
Understanding how you and the work you do are perceived is an important way to refine your approach to achieving the goals you have set yourself. Criticism may be difficult to swallow initially, but willingness to be open and an understanding that everyone has some ways to go before being great, really makes a difference.
Failure, rather than success is a good teacher, and receiving “negative” feedback (rather than praises) consistently will allow you to adapt more quickly to new assignments, improve effectiveness of the work you produce and understand your strengths and weaknesses better.
3.Take credit where it’s due
I won’t forget the time my head of department credited someone else for the project I had brought in for the department. Credit was instead given to someone more senior (and often audibly louder) than me. It took me by surprise, but that day I learned two things: One was to improve my visibility in the team by making my voice heard more often, and the other was to clearly (and within reason) articulate the value I contributed to the team.
In some situations, we are tempted to give credit to the team. That has its place, but remember, it’s not good enough to be doing excellent work. You also have to be seen to be doing excellent work.
4.Go the extra mile (sometimes even an inch works!)
Recently, I had to make a choice of selecting one out of two deserving employees to attend a prestigious event on behalf of the organisation. In terms of qualifications, contributions to the organisation and suitability to represent us, they were neck and neck for the chance of winning. It was a tough decision, so I put off my decision-making for the time being.
I later received an email from one of the two employees sharing why she was the most deserving of the two, highlighting clearly her achievements and her Unique Selling Proposition. I was sold. Nothing had changed between now and then when it came to the merits both employees had. The only thing that changed and won me over was her initiative, her eagerness to take an extra step to achieve her goal.
5.Be mentored by someone who has already achieved success
Few men and women would have achieved the type of success that several individuals at the top have received. Many successful people give credit to the mentors they have had throughout their lives. The insights they have shared, if absorbed and implemented, take you a step closer to your goal and sooner than everyone else, because you have someone with first-hand experience showing you the way.
Mentorship is the bedrock of Lean In Malaysia’s “Lean In Career Programme (LICP): Leadership Edition”, a 9-week career accelerator that aims to advance the agenda of getting more women in leadership positions by equipping them with tools, support systems, and confidence to overcome challenges, attain relevant skills and thrive in their leadership journey. Open to female professionals with 2-5 years of managerial experience, LICP will give you the opportunity to get ahead of your competition, and closer to your goals. Deadline for applications is 15th July 2018. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Find out more at http://leaninmalaysia.com/about-licp3/.