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The Two Secrets to Getting Promoted and Earning More Money

We never know when the partnerships we form will spark ideas that go on to change the world. The Wright brothers made flying a fixed-wing aircraft possible.  James Watson and Francis Crick bought DNA to life. Lennon and McCartney brought us the Beatles and the sound that changed popular music forever. Larry Page and Sergey Brin started the company that would become Google.  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple.  Bill Gates and Paul Allen built Microsoft, Elton John and Bernie Taupin….and the list goes on.

Changing the world is one reason to forge a strong relationships with your superiors but there is another closer to home…..getting promoted and earning more money! There are two secrets to achieving this:

a) Do things and then tell your boss what you have done! It is absolutely fundamental that you do ‘things’ and make change. But don’t think people are just going to notice your good work and that the work is going to get you promoted. In an unpretentious way, you need to tell your boss (and others as necessary) about what you have done. It’s important that you do this in an non-egotistical manner and that you always recognise other people who have helped you.

b) Forge a strong partnership with your boss. You are not going to get promoted without your boss’ support (unless of course, the boss is about to be fired or he/she is a bad boss who isn’t going to be supportive no matter what you do).  This makes your boss the most important person in your career aside from yourself and you will need to create a strong partnership without brown-nosing and/or showering them with elaborate gifts. Here’s how to do it:

1. Build trust.  This means gaining clarity on your boss’s vision for the business and knowing where you complement your boss vs where you overlap with him/her. That way you can become a key player to help him/her achieve his/her own goals. For example, if your boss is a visionary, then you can add value by being great at structure and process. Together you can deliver on the common goal.

Tip: Because trust is crucial in the relationship, be sure you keep your boss informed and never go around him/her and take your ideas or concerns to a more senior person. Don’t even APPEAR to be going around your boss. Let your boss know before you bring issues to someone above them.

2. Make life easier for your boss.  Don’t wait to be told what to do. Engage your brain and be proactive. Look for predictable patterns in the workplace and take action early. Knowing you’re on top of things helps make life easier and less stressful for your boss. Also, your boss is probably dealing with pressure and deadlines every day. You could help by starting every meeting the way a friend of mine does. He will sit down and ask his boss questions like “What are you worried about and how can I help?” or “What can I get off your desk for you today?”

Tip: When you have an assignment, be resourceful in getting things done. That means not having to go back to your boss every time you hit a roadblock. My best team members always made sure they understood right up front what I was asking them to deliver, and then took the time to think through how to get at that creatively. When they encountered a challenge, they took ownership of the situation and brainstormed solutions on their own or as a team before engaging their boss.

Tip: Don’t be “hard work” for your boss! Get things done with minimal fuss and emotional carry on. Your boss is not your therapist or your career counselor. Sure, your boss has responsibilities for mentoring the team, but make sure you also have other avenues for getting the emotional support you need.

3. Ask for a regular meeting with your boss. Depending on the pace of the work and your boss’s schedule, you should request to meet with him/her on a regular basis. The meeting can be for 10 minutes at the beginning or end of each day or a single 20-30 minute one-on-one session each week.

Tip: A good boss will initiate at least a weekly meeting but if they don’t, an example of how you can frame the proposal to your boss: “I could really use 20 minutes to make sure I’m accomplishing what you want me to accomplish and for you to give me any new direction.”

4. Take initiative on assignments outside your scope. If offered the opportunity to work on a project outside your job description, take it! Your boss (and others) will start noticing your ability to learn and take on more responsibilities and may start considering your potential in a management role.

Tip: If you have your sights set on a senior position, you’ll need to know how the entire organisation functions, not just your team/department. If you want to get into leadership, you need to know how all the pieces go together, all the products you sell, all the services you offer. Projects outside your scope will provide this.

5. Make your boss look good.  Best ways to do this are:

  • Come up with new ideas to advance the cause. If you can tweak a process so it improves quality, reduces costs, or increases efficiency, your value will skyrocket….and you’ll make your boss look good in the process. I always value team members who proactively come to me with ideas that could help the team/business succeed in a bigger way.
  • Talk positively about your boss (assuming they deserve it). A positive, optimistic person can be like a ray of sunshine in a high-pressure environment. Also, as a boss, there’s nothing like having team members vouching for you independently. Everyone needs good PR!
  • Produce results. At the end of the day, it’s important to come through with the goods, and there’s still no substitute for delivering excellent results to make your boss trust you and make everyone look good!

When you tell your boss (and others) about the great things you are doing and take the the time to develop a strong relationship with your boss, your chances of getting a promotion, salary increase or landing the key role on that exciting new project go up exponentially. Your boss will see you as a prized asset to his/her team, and you’ll enjoy all the rewards that go along with it!

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