In this concluding article, we discuss how you can unleash the power of networking to achieve growth, and how to position yourself as a leader by displaying a sense of ownership.
But, before we jump into today’s article, let us recap what we have learnt as part of the first four steps –
Step 1: Setting Goals (Know what you want. Then, let others know what you want.)
Step 2: Keep Learning (Stay ahead of the curve. Anticipate the next turn.)
Step 3: Document Success (Record your achievements. Ensure people see them.)
Step 4: Collaborate (Be the ‘go-to’ person in your team.)
In Six Steps To Promotion, we met Gerry, and saw how he set clear goals and learnt everything he needed to achieve them.
Then, in How Do I Get A Promotion?, we met Maduri, and witnessed how she became indispensable, not just to her team, but to the other teams as well.
Now, what are the final steps to help us grow and succeed? This is my story…
STEP 5: Network More. Engage More
I was an arrogant young professional.
This led me to believe that I did not need others. So, I disdained networks. When friends advised me to build a network, I shrugged it off. “Why do I need to?” I sneered, “I can do this on my own!”
(I was also stupid.)
Over time, I started seeing how, even though I worked really hard and did everything right, my progress was slow and sporadic. Why? Because, in every undertaking, I had to build my credibility from scratch. If you did not know me, how would you trust what I had to say or offer?
As I gradually climbed the rungs of the corporate ladder, I began recognising how important it was to know, understand, like and trust. I gradually recognized that people made deals, not companies. I began appreciating how much I learnt from every interaction, from every meeting, from every acquaintance.
In time, the friends I have made through my career have become the most valuable reward of my professional life. Without their support, help, guidance and encouragement, I would not have achieved a quarter of what I have.
As I was writing this article, I came across Robert Kiyosaki’s very apt words – “The most successful people in the world look for networks; everyone else looks for work.”
Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Networking is a critical step towards your continued growth and success.
Take advantage of every networking opportunity you have, even if it’s a small get together with co-workers at lunch. Networking with others within your organization and outside will allow you to get to know the people who can provide support now and in the future. It’s also a chance to promote yourself and your skills. You can reap many benefits by simply involving yourself with different groups in your organization, like those who help plan events or keep the office running smoothly.
Networking is not easy, especially for those who have to manage both work and home, which leaves precious little time. However, you can network through the day – over coffee, at lunch, on the phone. Keep a box of cookies or donuts on your desk and you will have people constantly dropping by to have a chat. Share relationship advice, and you will have young hopefuls hanging on your words. Go beyond paying attention or taking notes in meetings – become an active member of your organization, engaging with your colleagues, solving problems decisively, offering a caring shoulder to cry on.
Be connected. Be engaged.
STEP 6 : Take Charge. Be A Leader
The one thing I always did well was to step forward and take charge.
From when I was young, I learnt to ‘own’ my workplace. Regardless of who the shareholders were, it was MY company. So, whatever I did, I did it as if I owned the company. Everything I did, routine or new, excited and challenged and motivated me, and I tried my best to pass on these feelings to the others around me.
I believed in myself, and committed myself to whatever I did, and gave it everything I had.
So, if there was a new project, I volunteered. If there was a problem to be solved, I stepped up. If there was a new employee to be shown the ropes or mentored, I accepted the responsibility.
The outcome? People (my peers and my supervisors) began to turn to me when they needed something new or difficult to be done. Over time, this led to my being seen as a leader, as a trouble-shooter, as a court of first resort.
Which automatically led to my supervisors considering me for promotions before most others.
I clearly remember the words on the plaque in my first boss’ cabin, – “Most leaders don’t set out to be a leader – they set out to make a difference. It is rarely about the role, and always about the goal.”
Own whatever you do.
When deciding on promotions, managers look for passion, decisiveness and confidence. if you possess these types of leadership skills, you will surely be recognised and remembered. After all, the first step in being a prospective leader is acting like one.
Leaders need to be great role models for the employees they manage and work with, and without these skills, it will be hard to get a management promotion.
Show leadership potential. Stand apart.