Many executives and managers forget that they really have 2 jobs -

  • The first is to do what they get paid for (and do it better than others).
  • The other is to manage their career path and do what is required to ensure their upward mobility isn't dependent on others who may - or may not - be working in their best interest.

Over a lot of years, I've seen a few approaches that succeed again and again.  If you want to take more control of your destiny, try these out:

1. Understand the real "circle of success" A common piece of advice to managers is for them to spend a great deal of time getting to know their team & ensure each employee has what (s)he needs to be productive.

It's well intentioned... but doesn't provide maximum benefit to all involved.

It's actually more important that managers spend time helping their boss look good at every opportunity!

When (s)he understands that you're able to help her/him succeed, you and your team will get more time, attention and resources - each facilitating maximum productivity.

2. Results = Rewards. Companies spend a great deal of money on new systems to help improve productivity. Managers are encouraged to become "experts" with the new systems and procedures to ensure the intended benefits are realized.

This often creates an environment where the managers think that the most important task at hand is to learn the in's and out's of the new systems. And that takes their eye off the real task at hand for which their ultimately accountable.

To ensure upward mobility, remember to put the primary focus on your department's core objective in the context of the company's overall mission.

3. Avoid stagnation. Far too many team members are bored and disinterested - adversely impacting their productivity and creativity.

Consequently, many established organizations are falling behind in the global marketplace.

It's time for leaders to re-engage and spend more time acting as leaders rather than bureaucrats. People respond best to positive feedback, emotion and enthusiasm - not e-mail communications, inexplicable charts and fear management.

Effective leadership ensures that everyone is focused on, and vested in, getting to the goal lines. This is the most critical issue impacting an organization's productivity.

4. Understand that outsourcing threatens everyone. Very few professionals understand that their position can be outsourced. They get complacent in this false sense of security.

While most people realize outsourcing has affected the service industries, they fail to grasp that professionals ( like accountants, lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc) can be readily outsourced just as easily.

Virtually no line of work is bulletproof - today even those involved in highly creative enterprises need to realize that they're not "safe".

5. "Presence" pays. One's "presence" plays a big part in who gets promoted and who doesn't. In a nutshell, presence is a combination of how we look, how we carry ourselves, and our communication skills.

Because many of us still associate one's appearance, demeanor and speaking ability with their overall ability, this remains a formidable challenge for those who have physical or other bias-based attributes that are difficult, if not impossible to change, such as height or weight.

This subjectivity is still worse for women - society is generally more likely to accept men with (what are wrongly considered to be) shortfalls. Irrespective of these barriers, condition yourself to carry yourself with best posture and to wear attire that imparts your success.

6. Pace your boss. To really stand out from the others (and get the all important promotion,) ensure you're in the office whenever your boss is in the office.  Let her or him see that you share the same work ethic.

Right, wrong or indifferent, these are new rules of time management -

Simply put, if your boss is at work, you should be as well.If (s)he has decided that it's necessary to be there after hours, on weekends, or early in the morning, it is entirely to your advantage to be there at the same time.

In this day in age, one must take advantage of all opportunities to distinguish themselves in the workplace.

7. Step up self promotion. This issue primarily impacts women, but applies to both genders.

It is important that those who are in the position to benefit your career know who you areand what you've accomplished.

Successful careerists, like artists and professionals understand the importance of letting others know about their successes, and they go about it in the appropriate way.

If done properly, it will not be construed as bragging or conceit.