Five Strategies to Fast-Track Your Management Career

If you aspire to climb the corporate ladder, the power to do so rests largely in your own hands.

Regardless of your industry or the amount of bureaucracy you believe exists in your organization, you have the ability to be a better master of your own career destiny.

While every organization is different, there are universal strategies and tactics that will serve you well anywhere and can help fast-track your management career.

1. Take ownership of your leadership path

Don’t expect others to be responsible for your career – create and manage your own future. Make the most of your current management role and the opportunities offered by your organization.

Start by fully understanding what’s expected of you and performing exceptionally in your current role. Then orchestrate further advancement by taking advantage of additional opportunities to create momentum and propel your career forward.

Make your intention to progress known, and set the tone for your team to step up their performance too, so you’re all exceeding expectations.

2. Consistently deliver great work

One of the critical success factors for advancing your career is consistently delivering great work. Just because you’ve already entered the management ranks doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels.

Define the ways in which you can optimally support your management colleagues and the team you serve on a regular basis, and be known as an effective collaborator and team player. Always do what is expected of you and go above and beyond whenever possible.

Make it your mantra to under-promise and over-deliver on your commitments to further build your reputation as someone who is always reliable and can be counted on for quality contributions.

3. Anticipate the unexpected

In these days of lots of data and few insights, establish a reputation for being a forward thinker and helping others to do the same.

While your own department needs to be your primary responsibility, the next promotion is likely to go to the leader who can contribute on a broader scale. Adopt a company-wide awareness to anticipate challenges and manage change before circumstances force your hand.

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Plan ahead, plan for the unexpected, and put yourself in a position to earn respect by showcasing your talent and leadership by anticipating alternative options and connecting the dots with disparate ideas across the enterprise that may lead to important insights when viewed collectively.

4. Manage your brand

Your workplace reputation is central to your career. Regardless of how good a leader you are currently, it’s often how others (above and below you on the org chart) perceive your value and authenticity that propels you further forward.

Highly valued managers not only get the job done, they’re pleasant to work with and know how to amplify their impact and influence company-wide. Be conscious of your personal brand and proactively manage it to establish a stellar reputation and a consistent track-record of success.

5. Choose your colleagues wisely

While you likely can’t select your boss, fellow managers, or your team, you can choose to spend more time with those who sincerely support and assist you.

Get to know your colleagues and begin to build deeper relationships with those who reciprocate and help you to succeed. Where you can, convert one-way relationships into ones that are more balanced and mutually beneficial so you can optimize your efforts – and your results.

There are many factors that can disrupt the momentum of your career that are beyond your control, but there are just as many aspects in which you do have control, and the five strategies described here are a winning formula for successfully managing your career up the next rung of the ladder.

The post originally appeared in a somewhat different form on OCTanner.com

Named as one of the Ten Best and Brightest Women, one of the 25 Most Influential People in the incentive industry, and selected for the Employee Engagement Power 100 list, Michelle was inducted into the Incentive Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame and received their President’s and Karen Renk Fellowship Awards. She’s a highly accomplished international speaker, author, and strategist on leadership, company culture, workplace trends and employee engagement.

Michelle was the Founder and Chair of the Editorial Board of Return on Performance Magazine, and has been featured on Fox Television, the BBC, in Fortune, Business Week, Inc. and other global publications, and contributed to the books Bull Market by Seth Godin, Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk, and Social Media Isn’t Social.   Connect with her via LinkedIn or Twitter

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