“Financial rewards follow accomplishment; they don’t precede it.”
~ Harry F. Banks ~
A client of mine, Lance, has been with his company for ten years. He works hard and gets his work done. Management knows he is consistent, reliable, and loyal. They’re happy with the status quo. Unfortunately, my client is not.
He is ready to make the change. He’s tired of being taken for granted. He wants to get paid appropriately and get promoted. So he must overcome his current perception as a “reliable workhorse.”
If you’re like Lance, you can’t just hope that you’ll get the reward down the road for all your hard work. Instead, you must take control of your career and stop hiding out.
Here are some tips to get you started if you’re not sure how to go about getting a promotion at work:
1. Make a list of all the things you accomplished in the last year.
For each accomplishment, try to assign a dollar amount on how it benefited the company. That way you’ll be able to prove your worth during your next performance evaluation or salary review.
2. Proclaim your achieved results.
If you get good results and your clients like your work, it’s important to spend time proclaiming the achieved results. Even if it takes longer to document the results so the key people in management see what it took to get the results (effort, steps, process, details, etc.), they will appreciate who you are and what you have accomplished. The key is to not wish for more recognition, but to start being an incredible advocate for yourself.
3. Make your results more perceivable.
Your results will become evident when they are communicated in an easily understood way. The more the break down the result into its many parts, the perceived value will be seen as higher.
4. Know how you are being perceived.
Every time you communicate, think about how are you will be perceived – in meetings I attend, emails I create, conference calls, interact with client or upper management.
5. Be seen as a valuable resource and get others to appreciate what you do.
Your company needs to know all the things you do and how each accomplishment provides something that benefits the company. If they don’t see the value in what you are doing when you communicate it, it isn’t relevant. The more they know, the more they appreciate the work you do.
6. Stop perpetuating the perception management has of you.
Make a list of how you are currently being perceived by top management and your peers. For each negative perception, write down how you would like to be viewed. Then, carefully monitor your behavior at work to make sure you are reinforcing the positive traits, while deemphasizing the negative ones.
7. Educate your management about what you do and what your position is in the company.
Often management just sees your position as a commodity that is replaceable. They take what you do for granted. Educate management about how valuable your position is and all the things you do in making your job work as well as it does. As you educate them, they will begin to alter how they view the entire position (e.g. marketing, sales, programmer, and project manager) of what you do.
8. Become a communication expert.
Communication skills are one of the most important skills considered when determining who will be hired or promoted. Joining Toastmasters is a good way to improve your communication skills and get used to addressing groups of people with confidence.
9. Constantly think about how management will value what you just did.
How will management value this? How will management hear this so they will recognize it contributes to the bottom line?
10. Stretch yourself to be different so you stand out.
Management is used to you being who you are. Stretch yourself in ways that can impact perception. If you are used to being quiet at meetings, speak up. If you speak up at meetings, hold back and only speak when you have something really important to say.
11. Get clients to share how great you are.
When you do something positive for a client, ask them to speak up on your behalf by writing what they appreciate and then sharing this with your management. You can explain how management isn’t fully aware of the work you are doing so it would be good for them to know what you did. If you can do this 4-6 times a year, it will start to influence how management views you.
If you’re ready to start working on that next promotion but aren’t sure how to proceed, Joel has a coaching program that can help. Sign up for Joel’s coaching for career advancement and implement the techniques Joel teaches to accelerate your career growth.
Talkback: Is it time for you to move up to the next level in your career? What steps will you take to make it happen?
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“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
~ Epictetus ~
When Connor walks into a room, all eyes turn toward him. He commands a presence that is unmistakable. He projects confidence, and people instinctively trust him. He speaks with authority.
Connor has executive presence.
As I describe the traits that Connor and other successful leaders possess, ask yourself: Where do I stand? What do I do well? What needs improvement?
If you have executive presence, you have an aura or magnetism or charisma that draws others to you. You’re a compelling force inside your organization or work group. When you speak, people listen, feel inspired and uplifted. You convey confidence, are respected as an authority, know how to create impact, provide value and know how to get noticed.
Think about your peers, your bosses, other executive leaders, famous people and your friends. Who has EP? Who doesn’t? Executive presence is your secret to your success. Exploit your potential. Your own greatness. It all comes from executive presence.
You can cultivate executive presence through training and practice. You’ll know you’re making progress when you:
1. See the Big Picture.
You’re a strategic, “big picture” thinker who doesn’t become mired down in tactics. You think “outside the cubical” and take a whole company perspective when solving problems or seeking new opportunities. You’re able to communicate in financial terms to show your worth where it matters most – the company’s bottom line.
2. Are Willing to Take Risks.
You capitalize on ambiguity and change. Leaders are revealed and careers are made for those able to navigate stormy seas. You challenge yourself and stretch your capabilities. You’re able to conquer self-doubt and break through self-imposed limitations by seeking out opportunities to move beyond your comfort zone.
3. Develop Strong Interpersonal Skills.
You build confidence, trust and credibility by speaking clearly and persuasively. You think and act more like a leader than a manager. As a leader, you’ll inspire and motivate others by advocating what’s best for the organization, not just your work group. And, when you’re successful, you’re willing to share the limelight with others.
4. Focus on the Things that Matter Most.
You improve your productivity, influence and reputation for high-level achievement when you focus on the things that matter most. Not only will you be a peak performer, you’ll maintain a healthy balance in your life.
5. Constantly Seek to Improve Yourself.
You find personal fulfillment and professional success by capitalizing on your strengths and minimizing your mistakes. You encourage feedback to demonstrate your passion for self-development and desire to contribute to your company’s success. You increase your growth potential by investing in the most important asset you possess – yourself.
Developing your executive presence may seem like a daunting task. There is a lot of work involved, but it’s the kind of work that will have far-reaching, long-lasting benefits. You will become more motivated, you’ll learn how recognize and promote your own value and you’ll develop a meaningful and effective career plan. These are all things you can accomplish on your way to becoming a better leader.
If executive presence is something you need to work on, consider taking advantage of Joel’s executive presence coaching services, and start developing traits that will make you stand out in any leadership role.
Talkback: Do you know someone whose presence makes them stand out? What about you? Is this an area you need to work on?
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“The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”
~ Stephen Covey ~
Recently a client, Jillian, confessed to me, “I find myself working 60 or more hours each week. I have no time or energy for anything other than work. I don’t see my family, I don’t have time for friends or hobbies and I feel completely overwhelmed. I want more time and fulfillment in my life. I would rather divide my time between work, nature, people in my life and travel as opposed to oozing out meager samplings of these between work.”
This is a common concern. People are working more hours than ever. They make a good income and are able to afford more material possessions, but at the expense of their happiness and satisfaction. The balance they seek is difficult to achieve.
As Jillian stated, she’s unhappy, exhausted and creatively starved.
What can be done? Here are six tips:
1. Begin by simplifying your life.
Look at all of the things that you tolerate that only serve to limit you and drain your energy. Make a goal to systematically eliminate them all from your life.
2. Make an appointment with yourself.
This week make an appointment by marking your calendar and keeping the appointment with yourself as you would an appointment with your most important client.
3. Examine what you want from your life and what is standing in your way.
Look at what unwanted energy drains you need to remove from your life to make this happen. Do you need to pay off credit cards? Do you need to simplify your living situation? Can you incorporate a more flexible schedule so that you can have more time for fulfillment? Can you take a time management or organizing seminar so that you use your time more effectively? Brainstorm and see what comes to mind. Make a plan with concrete action steps with deadlines and follow through.
4. Get support.
Talk to friends and colleagues to see if they are going through the same situation and help each other brainstorm solutions. Enlist the support of a coach to help you set and achieve practical goals and regain balance.
5. Celebrate even the small triumphs of your life.
We often become so absorbed in accomplishing tasks or to-do lists that we overlook opportunities to experience joy and satisfaction.
6. Notice where you focus your attention.
Carlos Castaneda once said, “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Take this quote to heart. Write is down and tape it to your computer screen or bathroom mirror.
Then, every morning, ask yourself: “What am I going to emphasize today?”
Why be miserable, when you can make yourself strong!
Talkback: Are you sacrificing your home life to get ahead at work? What challenges do you face trying to find the right balance?
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“Asking what I considered an impossible salary when I didn’t want to work for someone has boosted my pay again and again.”
~ Ethel Waters ~
Will has been working the same job for three years without any raise in pay. Due to the downturn in the economy, his company claims that it just can’t afford to pay more to its employees.
I’ve got some good news for Will and for everyone else who has been working longer hours and hasn’t been rewarded with a bonus or an increase in salary.
That might be changing, according to Mercer, a worldwide consulting firm.
In their annual “employee attraction and retention survey,” Mercer found that more companies plan to focus on money – that’s right, cold, hard cash – as a way to retain and engage the right talent.
Because budgets have been tight during the recession, many employers relied on so-called “non-cash incentives.” These were such things as communicating the value of total rewards to employees, work-life programs, formalized career paths and special project opportunities.
But as the economy recovers, 25 percent of respondents say they’ll rely less on these types of rewards.
Instead, they will focus on base salary increases, short- and long-term variable pay and training and career development to retain and motivate their best people.
So as your employer’s purse strings begin to loosen, now is the time to proactively demonstrate your value to your organization. If you are like Will, still waiting for a long-overdue raise, I recommend doing the following.
1. Make yourself indispensible.
Volunteer to high profile projects that have the potential to affect your company’s bottom line.
2. Align your priorities with key company goals.
Focus on things that matter – to your boss, to his or her supervisor, to company executives and to your shareowners.
3. Eliminate or reduce your time spent “non-essential” work.
Write down your top 10 priorities. Develop strategies to free up more time to spend on the top three and less on the bottom two-thirds.
4. Quantify and communicate your accomplishments.
At the end of each week, write down your key accomplishments and try to assign a dollar amount to your specific contributions.
5. Capitalize on training or personal development opportunities.
Continue to develop your skills and capabilities. That way, when your company begins to expand, you’ll be in a more competitive position (and your resume will be stronger, too, if you decide to venture outside your organization).
6. Don’t shy away from self-promotion.
Think of ways to promote your personal “brand” at the office. There’s a difference between grandstanding and presenting the facts in an objective way.
Someone is going to benefit from this shift in employee compensation and it might as well be you!
Even if salary increases aren’t currently being offered by your employer, valued employees can find ways to negotiate for higher pay. Read Joel’s book, Get Paid What You’re Worth, to find out how you can negotiate a salary increase or a higher starting salary in a new position.
Talkback: Last time you asked for a raise, were you successful? How long will you wait before trying again?
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“When psychologists have looked at who have been the most creative people over time in a wide variety of fields, almost all the people they looked at had serious streaks of introversion.”
~ Susan Cain ~
It seems to Gary that offices are constructed and organized to favor the extrovert. As an introvert, he finds open office spaces draining. And meetings with rapid give and take showcase extrovert’s social skills, but frustrate him as he takes time to think.
Gary determined to build on his own strengths in the office. While outgoing people gain energy from being around others, Gary knows he gains energy from solitude and ideas. Gary values the introverts in his office because they can focus easier and produce more.
Here is Gary’s list of six ways introverts can shine in the world of office politics.
1. Connect with Ideas. Instead of joining others as they talk about sports, movies or people, Gary starts a conversation about ideas. He finds common ground with other people when he focuses on thinking topics, not social events.
2. Understand Yourself. Gary recognizes his need for quiet and regeneration. He accept that in the wide range of personalities, he works best without distractions.
A study discussed in the Harvard Business Review showed introverts responded better to problem solving when the background noise level was lower. Extroverts performed better with louder noises.
When both you and your boss understand that you will be more productive when you have quiet and solitude to focus, you will benefit. Recognize that others may find synergy in large group discussion.
3. Be Comfortable Being You. Gary learned his best work practices. Then he determined to speak up. When necessary, he requests that quiet office—or time in an unused conference room. Often he suggest meetings hold a few key players instead of multitudes.
Gary got his boss to try “Brainwriting” instead of brainstorming in sessions. Here each person writes an idea on a piece of paper and passes it to the person next to them. Once a paper has four to five ideas, the group stops to discuss them.
The quiet and time gives thinkers a better chance to respond. “It’s really helped me add value to the group,” Gary says. “And even the vocal members like it. They get to shine when we discuss it.”
Sometimes Gary gets an agenda ahead of time and plans out his thoughts and ideas.
4. Develop Relationships Your Way. Socializing sometimes seems like a waste of time, but Gary recognizes that we all need relationships. He schedules 30-45 minutes each day to visit other people. He just stops by and say hi. “That small talk builds bridges,” he says.
What extroverts call “networking” or “selling yourself,” Gary renames. “Consider it ‘having a conversation’ or getting to know someone and letting them get to know you,” Gary says. “Choose your environment. I like one-on-one or small groups.”
5. Be fully present for 10 minutes. When you are with other people, totally focus on them and what’s important to them for a full 10 minutes. “I find I can focus for that 10 minutes,” Gary says. “Then I feel free to move on.
“When you use your strength of focusing and direct it toward others, you make them feel valuable and important. This builds relationships and trust.”
6. Be Confident in Your Strengths. Gary learned to value the great strengths he brought to the office. Studies show that the introvert rises to the top in team building as others value their focus and productivity. Many of the great creative people have had a more private personality.
Less outgoing people make great leaders. They are more willing to listen to others ideas. I think I use other’s strengths and let them run with an assignment,” Gary says. “Introverts are less likely to feel they must put their stamp on the project.”
Work places perform best with a blend of personalities. Each kind brings their own strengths to the mix. “As you come to trust your strengths and be comfortable seeking ways that allow you to be the most productive, you can thrive,” Gary says. “Then office politics are no longer a struggle for the introvert.”
Trying to figure out how to shine at your office? Contact Joel for a personalized assessment of your strengths and a blueprint on how to move up.
Talkback: Introvert? What is your best coping skill? Extrovert? How do you connect with introverts?
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