Be visible. “Being invisible is tantamount to being stuck,â€ states Azzarello. “No one is going to believe in you, support, or follow you if they don’t know who you are.â€ Identify your stakeholders and influencers. Create a communication plan that outlines a strategy of where, when, and how to connect with them. Bolster your visibility and support by developing stronger relationships with employees at lower levels in the organization as well. Solicit their opinions and participation. Work at strengthening weak connections. Tap former co-workers, industry contacts, and alma mater alumni for leads, introductions, referrals, and recommendations to new connections, adds Teressa Moore Griffin, executive coach and author of LIES That Limit: Uncover the Truth of Who You Really Are (SoulWorks Publishing L.L.C.; $19.95): The higher a position is in an organization, the more credibility and support it requires to get the job, and perform effectively and successfully.
Show leadership potential. “Each time you step up to a bigger job, what it means to be good at your job changes,â€ asserts Azzarello. In entry-level positions, the job is to do the assigned work, and value is directly tied to time put in and individual output. In higher-level positions, however, the job is to improve on the work and value is based on the collective outcomes you help to create, she explains. “Show that you can be more than a subject matter expert,â€ she states. Demonstrate vision, teamwork, motivation, and innovative thinking. Rather than simply working in the business, work on the business by performing tasks that improve communication and reduce costs or generate revenues.
Get the experience beforehand. Take charge of your professional development. Offer to attend meetings with your boss or on behalf of your boss when possible. Pursue opportunities in areas that will broaden your skill set. Observe those currently in the position you want. Take note of their demeanor, communication skills, interactions with others, and how they affect the company business. Leverage their insights and learn from their experiences. Get actual experience with opportunities outside work as well, such as volunteering on a nonprofit board, serving in local government, or spearheading a charitable cause. “Although multiple factors exist,â€ Azzarello insists, “it’s primarily what we choose to do on purpose in our career that affects our promotability the most.â€