Let’s face it, office politics are complex. Often the hierarchy of power doesn’t make sense. How people get promoted isn’t well defined and rarely seems fair. You can complain about how the game is played or you can create your own game.
The strategic approach is to proactively plan your own career path, use your time wisely and choose what to prioritize. Truth is, your career satisfaction and success are fully up to you.
If you want to advance in your career while having fun, there is one undisputed priority and that is building strong, trusting, and mutually beneficial relationships. You will get ahead if you focus here and don’t get trapped into following old school rules. They simply don’t serve you well.
Let’s bust three of these career success myths today and talk about what really matters.
Myth #1: Work Hard and You Will Succeed
Not true. Nobody gets ahead for putting in the most hours. You don’t get a promotion for being the last one in the office. In fact, if you are working 50 plus hours a work many will believe you are inefficient or don’t know how to prioritize or delegate.
So how do you move up in your career? By working smarter not harder. People who get ahead are those with compelling strategies and innovative ideas. And most importantly, strong relationships at all levels.
Don’t be a martyr. Don’t sacrifice self-care or socializing believing answering more emails is the best use of your precious time. Instead, work out or go out with some colleagues and have fun tackling a challenge or opportunity,
Remember it’s always about relationships! Networking is always a smart way to use your time.
Myth #2: Your Work Will Speak for Itself
Sorry, very sadly false. Sure, it’s expected that you will do your job well. You were hired because you know what you are doing, and you are good at it. That’s the prerequisite for keeping your job not for getting promoted.
So, what should you do? Collaborate with others and share the spotlight. The work won’t speak for itself, so you have to speak for it. Be sure to share your collective successes with as many people as you can. It’s not bragging. It’s communicating and showcasing the progress you have created with the team. Collaborating on your work will ensure wide-spread accolades and a positive buzz for you.
Remember, it’s always about relationships! Gather a super-hero team and save the day together.
Myth #3: Your Boss and HR Will Lead Your Career Planning
Not true and certainly not to be counted on. Even if you are lucky enough to have the most supportive leaders in the world, your career progression plan is really up to you. You should take full advantage of whatever resources, review processes and support you are offered. And then, go way above and beyond that.
Be very bold and vocal stating your objectives for exceeding expectations in your role. If you aren’t offered career development support, ask for it. Taking courses to build new skills, collaborating with a coach and volunteering for stretch special projects are some ways to show you are very serious about striving for excellence and ambitious about your career advancement.
Again, remember it’s always about relationships! Don’t ever lose sight of this as your number one priority. Of course, ensure you have a great relationship with your boss and HR. Plus, get several formal mentors and a whole lot of people cheering for your success at all levels.
The bottom line:
Building a broad network and strong relationships are by far your most critical career success factors. And good news, prioritizing people also makes work and life way more fun.
Focus on your relationships every day and your career will be more rewarding and you will move forward more quickly and way more happily.