At some point of our careers, we definitely want to move up to a more senior position. And regardless of the organisation that we are in, most of us like to think that there is a meritocratic system in place – that with hard work, one is able to easily climb up the corporate ladder.
In reality, that does not really happen all the time.
No doubt there are instances whereby one’s hard work resulted in a promotion or higher salary increment. However, most of the time, these people also leveraged on their social and most importantly, navigated their way through work politics to get to where they are now.
Brains and talent can definitely get you far in the work rat race but social and political efforts can get you further.
If you find yourself stagnant at a particular career level, perhaps reconsider these four working habits which could potentially be affecting your climb up the corporate ladder.
Working too hard
Everyone has to work hard in order to succeed in our careers. However, working too hard could affect your relationship with your colleagues, friends and family. It could eventually result in you feeling burnout, in turn affecting your work productivity. At the same time, it might result in you being “invisible”, whereby you invest so much time in your own work that you forget to socialise with your co-workers and leaders. At a certain point in your career, you need to position yourself as being ready to move up the next level and take time out from working hard to “promote” yourself within the workplace.
Being too helpful
Helping your colleagues can certainly help you stand out from your co-workers as being Mr or Ms Helpful. However, at the middle management and particularly at the top level of the organisation, your peer group is smaller and there is increased competition. In order for you to win or succeed, someone has to lose. And if you are overly helpful to a particular peer, it might just give them the edge for them to outshine you. This does not mean that you have to distance yourself from your peers but just keep an eye out for who the high-fliers in the office are helping out.
Going it out alone
Hardworking and talented employees tend to think that their hard work and talent is likely to get them far in their career paths. However at times, knowing the right people can be your ticket to climbing higher up the corporate ladder. Imagine when it is time for promotion and senior leaders are in a meeting room deciding who should be promoted. You are most probably not present in the meeting room and your manager has to make a business case for you. If the senior leaders have never heard of you, they are unlikely to know the contributions that you have made to the organisation and is unlikely to take the risk to promote someone that they have no inkling of.
Organisations today claim that they embrace diversity and actively seek out people who are “different” to join the organisation. This is true – to some extent. In fact, organisations typically already have in mind the type of people that they want to have on board. Instead of trying to be different and hope to stand out, it would be best to fit in with the culture in order to truly succeed.
In today’s modern workplace, organisations are still fairly hierarchical and competitive. To truly succeed, you need to know when and who to help. At the same time, making yourself known to the right people can help to propel you in your career path.
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