Whatever your profession or chosen career may be, ultimately your aim is to grow through the ranks and reach the top as soon as you can, but with all the back-stabbing, competition, cost cutting and downsizing happening in the employment world, the odds look realistically slim.
However, that does not downplay the fact that one must rise through the ranks because we all want better pay, perks and all the other privileges that come with holding senior positions in the organisations we work for. James Opio, an HR consultant, says some of the common obstacles to getting to the top include an introverted personality, doing the bare minimum at work, having no mentors, a poor relationship with your boss to mention but a few.
One of the best ways to stand out is to identify problems others do not see within your organisations and offer innovative solutions to solve them. He adds that: “There are those problems that organisations grapple with for a long time with no one wanting to solve them due to the complexity or the fact that there seems to be no great reward attached to solving them. These are the ones you should tackle in order to separate yourself from the crowd.”
Get a ‘sponsor’
There are many projects in organisations at any given time, but you have to find a way of being assigned to important and visible projects within your organisation. HR consultant Opio says: “This is usually someone who is not only an adviser, but willing to recommend you and second you, if any opportunity comes up.”
As the world moves towards more specialisation, you need to find a way of going deeper into your specialty at the work place. This will empower you to be able to give the company more as you specialise. Opio adds that most people think strategic thinking in organisation is for departmental heads and executive committee members, but you can start thinking at that level too before you get there.
“This will mean you make better decisions as you think broadly and chances are high you will put in a better performance and stand out as a result.”
Many times, subordinates tend to keep a safe distance from their bosses, which can be detrimental if you are looking at ways of standing out at work. Joan Nakaye, a recruitment consultant, says it is wise to build a strong honest relationship with your boss. Nakaye points out that often times at the work place, activities come up that are beyond one’s usual job description and do not add or take anything away from you, but need to be done.
These may include co-ordinating a party, funeral, community activity involving the company among others and it is your opportunity to shine if you are looking at bigger things. There are a number of learning opportunities that often come up within organisations and most employees ignore them because they do not seem to have any direct and immediate benefit.
Take every opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in your field or any other critical part of the organisation’s business. This will also help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed and known for your expertise.
Appreciate others successes
Isaac Lukwago, a coach and workplace counsellor, says starting a mastermind group with peers in the organisation and beyond will also help you sharpen your skills, share experiences with fellow members and also stand out as the group’s leader. Lukwago says it is also good to grow your network of associates, friends and senior people in your field and organisation even beyond your work to equip you with better skills, experiences and put you in the know of many people who matter and can help your cause. He advises that it is important to appreciate and highlight the achievements of others as this portrays you not only as a good team player, but someone interested in the success of others too.