Ever wonder why some people get promotions and recognition and some don’t? Or, have you considered how you might increase your chances for promotion and recognition as an excellent performer? Of course, there’s no simple answer to these questions. People are promoted for a number of reasons, some fair and reasonable, and some not – that’s life. Still, if you want to enhance your opportunities in your organization and want to move up the ladder and have increased responsibilities, there’s one important strategy I can share with you. It’s simple on the surface, but not quite as simple in practice. Here’s the strategy:
Start Doing Your Boss’s Job
Here’s how it works. The person most helpful or harmful in terms of getting a promotion is your immediate supervisor. He or she is the person who can help or hinder. What determines which it will be? Well, certainly your performance is important. But it’s all about perceptions. You can create positive and powerful perceptions on the part of your boss by making his or her life easier. It’s that simple. If you can:
- reduce your boss’s workload
- eliminate hassles the boss is concerned about
- prevent problems the boss is normally responsible for
you become more useful to the boss. That’s a good thing and tends to get noticed.
Of course it isn’t quite so simple. While you want to be useful to the boss, you don’t want to usurp the boss’s responsibilities. A great way to dead-end yourself is to take on some of the boss’s job when your boss doesn’t want that to happen. So, you have to know your particular boss well enough to know what you can do and what your boss doesn’t want you to do. We call that knowing the limits to your authority and your action.
Here as some tips to help you out:
- Get to know your boss well enough to understand what drives him or her nuts about the “boss job”. A good way of thinking about it is to ask yourself: “What kinds of problems nag at the boss?
- Examine whether you can do anything from your position in the organization to help address the boss’s “drive me crazy” problem (often there will be).
- Decide whether you should do something to help or not. If you know the boss well enough, you will probably also know what the limits on your authority and actions might be. Still, it’s always good to check it out, and offer the solution to the boss beforehand, and if necessary, request permission to get it done. That makes it less likely the boss will feel you are encroaching on his or her territory.
- Don’t do any of this so that it appears you are trying to “score points”, or manipulate the boss. Do it because you want to contribute to the best of your ability and with the attitude that if nobody notices, that’s fine, provided it makes people’s jobs easier. (This is a mindset to prevent your being seen as a selfish, manipulative employee.
- There’s never any guarantees in life, so I can’t provide a guarantee here. But I will say that almost ALL of the people I have seen fast-tracked in organizations exhibit the ability to make their boss look good and make the boss’s life easier.
And the great thing about this? Everybody wins. The organization becomes more effective. You do a good job. And your boss’s life is just a wee bit easier.