Advancing in your career is much easier than you might think!

Sort of!

The successful people in your organization know precisely what is important to their boss. They take the time to look at work from the perspective of both the management and leadership teams. Instead of doing work merely to look busy, the top-notch employees are keenly aware of results that impact the bottom line.

Focus on What Matters the Most

If you want to know what is important to your boss, take the time to ask. While the operational or day-to-day activities matter, it’s important to consider the benefits provided by projects. That is, projects are designed to generate revenue and to create internal efficiencies. You should also be aware that project work is usually cross-functional, which means that they are visible across the entire organization, including to the people at the executive level.

Offer to Handle the Tough Work

Here are examples of easy work:

  • Checking and responding to email
  • Processing payroll
  • Informing customer that the order is on its way
  • Discussing an update to a contract with a vendor
  • Updating an MS Excel sales presentation

The items listed above are routine in nature. This type of work is tedious and redundant, and anyone can learn how to do it. In fact, most people are hired to do process-oriented activities. After a few weeks on the job, they might even be called “experts.”

To get yourself on the radar, it’s smart to ask for mission-critical work. For example, your organization might be in the process of hosting an important convention. You can ask your boss what you can do to help with this effort. You might be tasked to contact the individuals and companies that are going to attend. The more attendance that you get at the convention, the more opportunities for your company to sell its products and services. I want to stress that this work is likely not on your job description, but that doesn’t matter to you. The point here is that you’re committed to doing whatever possible to help your company do well. From my many years of business experience, I can tell you that very people take this challenge and volunteer for additional work.

Stop Making Excuses

When issues arise, the easiest thing to do is make excuses. We blame colleagues, assistants, vendors, and anyone else that is an easy target. Differently, the best employees take ownership of the problem, even when they did not create it. I appreciate working with people who know that someone else created the problem, but they’re unwilling to make the issue personal. Instead, these individuals will formulate a plan to resolve the issue, and get back on track.

I want to stress that gaining respect from your boss can take time. It takes far more than working extra hours here and there. In fact, many people who advance in their careers work a regular 40-hour week. The difference is that they focus most their time on high-value items.