7 Tips for Climbing
the Corporate Ladder

Want to get ahead in your career? Your odds of success will be greatly increased if you avoid the common pitfalls and follow the seven tips in this article by guest author Evangelina Khou.

Why do you want to climb the corporate ladder? For Money, Prestige, Recognition, Power, Authority?

Regardless of your reasons, getting promotions is not always easy. If you are not happy where you are in your career, are you guilty of the following pitfalls?

  • Failed to set goals. You can't reach your destination if you don't know where you want to go. Moreover, failing to set your own goals, you can be assured others will set them for you, and they will not always be for your benefit.

  • Failed to serve the customer. Think of a broad definition of the term "customer". A customer does not have to be outside the company. If you provide a service to other departments, they are your customers. Put them first and the reward will come.

  • Failed to support your team. Practice servant leadership. As you move up the career ladder, your focus will be less on doing the tasks and more on setting the direction for your team and providing them with the resources to do their jobs.

  • Failed to take responsibility for your actions. Actions speak louder than words. People don't listen to what you say, they listen to what you do. You will be more respected by your team if you take ownership of the mistakes and admit them instead of trying to hide them.

  • Failed to be visible. You can't hope for people to think of you when they want to promote someone if you don't give them an opportunity to get to know you. Get out of your cubicle and start networking.

  • Failed to learn and grow. Be a life-long learner. The day you stop learning is the day you stop living.

  • Failed to manage your emotions. The workplace is not the ideal place to show your emotions. A confident leader is in control of his feelings and doesn't let them dictate his behavior.

In addition to these pitfalls, do you have perceived career limitations? To find out, fill in the blank: "I could advance in my career if it were not for________________."

Career advancement starts with attitude.

In order to build a solid foundation for your career advancement, you will need a plan. Your plan should comprised of the following:

  1. Find role models and mentors. Mentors can assist you in your development and help you avoid the common mistakes that people make while trying to move up.

  2. Expand your horizons. Don't be stuck in one place. Go out, explore new things, learn about other department in your company.

  3. Build self-esteem and confidence. You cannot be effective in your job if you don't trust yourself. Trust yourself first and people will trust you. Have you seen how some people can easily attract the audience's attention. Do you think they lack confidence?

  4. Define your personal and professional goals and define your own success. Maybe for you success equals money. Or does it mean more authority? Whatever it is, once you know what makes you tick, you can use it to motivate yourself.

  5. Take advantage of work opportunities. Volunteer for additional projects. Don't see them as work. Rather, think of them as opportunities to get your name out. Of course, be selective in the assignments. Only pick the ones that will boost your visibility, improve your personal brand or help you learn a new skill. In other words, don't volunteer to make copies!

  6. Develop yourself. The average CEO reads 4 books a month while the average person reads one book a year. Why do you suppose that is?

  7. Be open to feedback. None of us wants to hear how we screwed up. But it will be ten times worse if we keep repeating the same mistakes, right? Ask for constructive feedback and remain silent when the person delivers it. Our natural tendency is to become defensive and try to justify or explain why the person is wrong. Resist the urge! Instead, thank the co-worker or friend for being honest and taking time to help you grow.

In closing, your positive attitude is what will set you apart. Be positive and hungry for learning and people will naturally notice you.

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