6 strategies that could help change your career
How do you up your game when it comes to your career? Life coach Alex Kingsmill has some tips.
Your career is progressing well and you want to take it to the next level. Here are six simple strategies to help you step up.
1. Be open
If you’re thinking about career progression, it’s important to be open about it. Hearing about your plans second hand will undermine your leaders’ trust in you and potentially hinder your efforts.
Speak to your leadership team and tell them you’re considering advancement. Most people love to help others and will be extra willing to assist if given a reason. As the guru of persuasion Dr Robert Cialdini suggests, a simple ‘because’ is often enough to encourage others to lend a hand.
To be open, explain your ideas, ask for support and say why you’re keen to have people share in your collaborative career approach.
2. Operate differently
Big career leaps require you to operate differently. Now is the time to engage more proactively and gain visibility.
Scan your professional landscape to identify gaps in thinking or doing, then find ways to fill those gaps. Offer to conduct research, give presentations and write papers. Initiate group discussions and contribute useful insights. Become a thought leader by generating interesting ideas and sharing them on industry forums or on LinkedIn.
3. Focus on what’s working well
When you want to progress, it can be tempting to focus on things to ‘fix’. Appreciative Inquiry suggests an alternative. Choose instead to focus on ‘what’s working well’ and find ways to encourage more of it.
Perhaps you’re incredibly good at designing systems or developing relationships. Why not consider how you can draw on those strengths to generate greater opportunities?
4. Nurture relevant connections
Professionals are often encouraged to find a mentor to help them progress, but Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg warns against that approach.
If you need to ask someone to be your mentor, she says, the answer is probably no. She suggests that the best mentoring relationships emerge naturally, from mutually appreciated connections.
Instead of awkwardly seeking a mentor, focus on nurturing connections with the people around you whose approach you most value.
5. Be language conscious
The language you use has a huge impact on the way that others perceive you. It can serve to boost or limit your career prospects.
Tara Mohr makes the point in her book Playing Big. Habits like apologising unnecessarily, inserting ‘just’ into a sentence (I’m just writing to…’) or asking ‘am I making sense?’ all serve to diminish your sense of authority.
Simple language changes can encourage bold shifts in career trajectory.
6. Follow your interests
When considering your career options, it’s critical to follow your interests.
People often prioritise career progression over doing what they love, but then find themselves uninspired and underperforming because they don’t intrinsically connect with the subject matter.
The masterful Ken Robinson reminds us that finding ‘the element’ or that ‘meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion’ is essential to a fulfilled life.
When you’re deciding where to go next, make sure the goals you’re aiming for really fit with who you are.