6 Fail-Proof Tips to Help You Feel Empowered and Take Charge of Your Career
Modesty is a virtue, or so the saying goes. This may well be true, but when it comes to advancing your career, modesty can do more harm than good. Why? Because the workplace is a competitive arena, a battlefield (with less casualties - we hope...) and you gotta fight for what you’re worth. And, as with anything worth fighting for in life, it helps to have the skills and confidence to show your boss why you deserve an advancement. But if you feel like you just don't have it in you to demand a raise – don't worry. Here's 6 fail-proof tips to help you find the courage to stop waiting for a pat on a back and take charge of your career.
1. Make yourself irreplaceable. While your self-confidence and how you carry yourself matter loads, the one thing that underpins your value in the workplace is your ability to deliver the work better than anyone else. If you’re not genuinely giving it a 100%, you will not feel inclined to to push for a promotion. When you can demonstrate your true value, you will, in turn, feel more confident about asking for a raise. So make sure you’re truly giving it your all before you go blazin’ in with the guns.
2. Know your worth. Never, ever undersell yourself. Do a little research to understand how much someone in a similar position and with similar experience earns elsewhere. And don’t underestimate the power of gender bias - young boys have traditionally been raised with a ‘go get ‘em!’ attitude, whereas girls’ upbringing has been more focused on their supposed mothering and wifey-type instincts. Guess what? It’s entirely possible to be amazing at both. Unfortunately, this gender bias means that men ask for promotions well before they’re ready, partly because of their inflated sense of self-confidence. In reality, you may be better positioned for that advancement than your male counterpart, but you won’t know unless you ask!
3. Act like a leader. Having a long-term vision, exercising your power and becoming a master communicator are some examples of qualities that the best of leaders have. Too many women have the mindset of simply following the playbook, and get stuck in the ‘doing’ phase rather than progress to leading. If you work on your leadership qualities, it’ll be nigh impossible for you to not get advanced.
4. Pay attention to your presence and body language. If you carry yourself with confidence, that’s half the job done. Good posture, eye contact and a welcoming smile can make a huge impact on how people think about your suitability for an advancement. The presence bit is trickier to nail down, but totally doable, too. A presence is your aura of leadership and authority. Do others pay close attention when you speak? Why, or why not? A calm, focused and ‘real’ demeanor exudes effortless confidence and leadership. If you’re just not a natural at these skills - practice them! Most of us aren’t born with a flair for public speaking but, with practice and time, anyone can be a master orator. Same goes for any other skill. Don’t fear it - face it and own it!
5. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes. Spend some time thinking about your boss’ perspective. If you feel like you’re undervalued, why do you think that is? Perhaps they haven’t noticed the extra time you’re putting in at work, or your commitment to your role and the company. There can be a myriad reasons for your dedication and ethic to go unnoticed, and, frankly, it’s your job that they do get noticed! Demonstrate your value (this goes back to points 1 and 2) next time you’re in a meeting with your management, and you may be surprised with the result.
6. Think about the long-run. Ask yourself why you want this advancement. Have clear goals for every year or your career and a plan of how you’ll get there. Invest in yourself and your skills - nobody is perfect, but trying to better your ‘problem areas’ will put you miles ahead of the game. And, if things don’t go as planned - don’t get discouraged! Failing is part of life. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn - you’ll never change.
Credit image: unsplash / Kalen Emsley.