I haven’t played video games in ages. Probably the last time I tried it was on a Nintendo 64. Yeah I definitely dated myself there but hey, with age comes wisdom right?
One thing I do remember is as you progressed each level in those games, your tactics had to change. Whether the aim was to save the princess or navigate through dungeons, with each corner you turned you had to fine tune your strategy to win. With each close call, you learned best tricks and what to avoid in the next level. Overall, you had to be willing to learn, be flexible and take chances.
Just like that video game, rising the ladder in your career takes adopting new habits at each level. I read some great tips on Fast Company that I know have worked as I’ve used them myself. As I moved from the sales pit to now managing a division within my company, with each new step I took I applied these habits and saw for myself how they helped me gain new ground.
- Become Less Dependent On Your Boss: Communication is key here. Always keep your manager(s) aware of what you’re working on, how you’re coming along and ask as many questions as you need. This lets them know how hard you’re working, what you’re working on and keeps them up to date on your progress. As you get a better grasp on what is expected of you, you can anticipate your manager(s) expectations and stay a few steps ahead. Their trust of you should slowly lead to not needing to continually check in and being able to take the lead on some projects.
I started off just handling the data analytic and daily operations within my division but I always kept my boss informed on what I was dealing with and asked a lot of questions. It allowed me to take initiative on some smaller projects and gained my managers’ trust. Soon they were handing me larger parts of the business to handle and asked for my input on new projects.
- Manage Your Task Over Longer Timelines: Just like in school, you had homework that you know was going to get checked everyday. However as you got to higher grades in high school and post secondary, you had assignments that were handed out at the beginning of the year that was due at the end. And no one was going to check up on you as to whether you were steadily working on it or not. It was up to you to make the time weekly and monthly to make dents into the project. Similarly, as you grow in your job the tasks become larger and you’ve got to manage your timelines yourself and over longer stretches of time. Set your own deadlines to measure how you’re coming along and always have daily to-do lists so you stay on track.
- Start To Lead Like A Coach: This is pretty self explanatory. Without having to micro-managing anyone on your team, fostering a team environment where everyone feels that they play an important will only and always lead to success.
- Build A Thoughtful Presence Outside Your Company: Your clients, vendors, customers, etc will always see you as the face of the company. And as you gain more responsibility, you may gain more visibility within your company’s industry. As you move upward within your organization, you will have to network within and on the outside of those walls so sustain not only your position but your company’s stature. Whether at trade shows, conferences or even at happy hour.But more than just that, you have to also think about your future should you leave that company. Have you built bridges with your counterparts in your industry or an industry you’re trying to get into? If you’re thinking about changing jobs, be aware of your online presence and reputation which may be speaking on your behalf to a future employer or client.
Wherever you are in your career, hope these tips help you as much as they helped me.