Top 5 Tips for Getting Ahead At Work
You Won't Like This
OK, you've asked for it. Our most powerful and effective tips for getting ahead at work.
This is real senior management stuff, not text book chatter and theory.
These tips are based on real world observations.
We are not going to pull any punches.
What we say here might be upsetting. You probably won't like what you hear.
1) It's Time to Kiss the Boss's Butt
It's true. It's who you know, not what you have accomplished. Many people do not want to believe this simple, often stated rule because it means the hardest working, most creative, most dedicated people are not necessarily going to get the next promotion.
This means that unless you are kissing the right butt you will not get ahead no matter how hard you work, no matter what your accomplishments are.
The person who will get the next big promotion or the next big job opportunity will be someone who knows the boss better than you do, someone who has more face time with the boss, and someone who the boss has better chemistry with.
People get promoted because the boss feels they can be trusted to do the job, to follow direction, and to be a loyal supporter of the boss. Prior accomplishments are often not the main consideration.
In most big promotions, the lucky winner is not the person with the most accomplishments nor the largest accomplishments. It's the person the boss feels most comfortable with. Sorry, that is how it works. So get close to your boss and his/ her boss now and start building a close relationship and don't forget to kiss some butt.
2) Market Yourself, No One Else Will
I once watched an individual get promotion after promotion while to me it seemed that all the person did was do a lot of talking. Sure he was very articulate and very well spoken, but the track record did not support huge promotions nor the amount of trust top management seemed to put in this person.
What was his secret? When I observed this individual closely, I noticed that he never passed up an opportunity to market himself. Yet he did it so subtlety, that most people never noticed. What do I mean?
Whenever there was a large meeting with both peers and superiors, this person would find a way to get everyone's attention. Then, while discussing the current topic he would ever so slightly mention something that he and his team had just accomplished. He would somehow show a connection between that accomplishment, however so minor, and the topic at hand.
In this way, every accomplishment was highlighted to management.
Most people never noticed this trick, but I caught on after reading the book
How to Guerrilla Market Yourself and Get What You Deserve
by Jay Levinson and Seth Godin. As I watched, this individual never missed an opportunity to blow his own horn, but he always did it in a very inconspicuous way. It was almost subliminal in it's effect.
So the tip here is to make sure upper management knows what your contributions and accomplishments are, and do it in a subtle way if possible. Make sure that both your boss and his/her boss know. Don't rely on your boss to tell his boss all the great things you are achieving. Tell him yourself.
3) Do The Right Work
If you have read any of the material on this web site you know by now how important it is to do the work you were cut out to do. It's hard to be passionate and committed to doing work that does not utilize your natural talents and your personal competitive advantage. Spend 15 to 20 minutes to taking our career test to discover what types of work you were truly meant to do.
4) Never, Ever Disagree With The Boss in Public
Disagreeing with the boss in front of other people is so stupid. No matter how close you and the boss are and how right you think you are, never disagree with the boss in public, even if he invites you to. Instead, learn to become a valuable advisor to the boss. Here's how...
If you disagree with the boss, wait until you two have a private moment and then explain your viewpoint. Then, at the end say "Thanks for listening to me. I really appreciate the opportunity to be heard. You are the boss, and I am a loyal soldier so I will do it your way. "
Why? Even the most confident boss will have doubts about himself. He / she does not need you undermining his/her credibility. Plus, bosses want to see that everyone is in alignment and following him. Creating dissension is really a disservice to the team.
In short, if you want to end your career growth quickly, just disagree with the boss in public.
If you really want to get ahead, anticipate future issues and possible disagreements and discuss them in private, ahead of time. In this way you become a trusted advisor to the boss. This will build trust and demonstrate loyalty.
I once had an employee who used this method on me many times. He would come into my office and say something like this: "There is going to be a meeting later today and I expect this issue to come up. I just want to give you a heads up. Here is my perspective... and here is the opposing view..."
Eventually I learned to trust this person and I felt we made a great team. I would frequently seek out his opinion before making critical decisions. So it does work.
5) Become Indispensable By
Filling a Gap In Your Boss's Skill Set
OK, this is tricky and it takes some insight on your part, but it is the best way to get close to your boss and to make yourself truly valuable. Plus, if done well, this will truly benefit the organization.
In the United States, we are raised to respect authority. For many this means believing that a person of higher authority is more capable, stronger etc.
Most of us have weaknesses, some that we recognize and others we might not be aware of. The key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your boss and see if you have the natural ability to compensate for the boss's weaknesses.
I observed this in one organization where the boss was not very strategic, and his position did require he provide a direction and vision to the organization. One astute direct report figured this out and made a point of feeding the boss with strategic ideas, vision and direction. The executive adopted many of these ideas and they became his own and that of the entire organization.
In this way the direct report played a key role in defining the direction of the company. He became a trusted advisor to the boss giving him a very strong competitive advantage over his peer group.
The moral of the story is, discover your bosses strengths and weaknesses, understand the latter and then fill the void with your own strengths. If done well the boss will appreciate it.
To understand the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and others, use this tool.