No one begins a career with the aim of staying in their initial starting position within the company, we all dream of having that fancy car, the big house, and all the luxuries that come with the benefit of succeeding, so we recently tracked down a few bosses to find out what it is they want in an employee when considering promoting them to a better position and this is what we got.
Be Confident Enough To Tell Your Boss When They Are Wrong
That's not to say you should be arguing with your supervisors on a regular basis, but if you have a well-thought-out point that disagrees with your boss's plan, consider bringing it up directly. As this boss says, "I love it even more when a person has the data, facts, or examples to actually make his or her point."
With Every Issue Comes A Possible Solution
"Tell me what is going wrong and, even more importantly, what you are going to do to fix it." says the one boss. Ultimately, a mistake or issue is your boss's responsibility, so make sure your supervisor is aware of any large-scale or constant problems. This doesn't mean you should email every time the printer is a little wonky, but you should make sure your boss is apprised of any serious issues.
This serves two purposes: First, it lets your boss know you're on top of the problem and working to fix it. Second, it gives your boss the time to work on his/her own solution, or at least prepare for a different course of action—and to present it to his/her boss.
Don't Be Dramatic
"Bring me drama and I am certain that you are not worthy of the next step." Your job is to make your boss's life easier, not plop your drama on his or her lap. Save that for your friends and family or your diary.
Smile, It Looks Beautiful On You
"Your boss would like to harbor the fantasy that you actually like your job, since she is paying you, spending more time with you than her family, and helping you more than you realize," one boss told us. "You can at least smile and seem like you are enjoying things in return."
You don't need to blind every passerby with your pearly whites, but remember that no matter how close your deadline or how heavy your workload, other people will take their cues from you. If you're snapping at co-workers and frowning, they'll snap and frown right back. Instead, take a breath, put on a smile, and show your boss you appreciate the opportunity.
Take Notes To Not Miss A Thing
If you don't understand the direction when it is being given, clarify right then and there and take good notes instead of depending on your memory.
We've all been there—nodding and smiling and filing away the tasks we're given in a meeting, only to get back to our desks having lost those mental files. Impress your supervisor by keeping a paper and pen (or laptop, if that's acceptable at your office) at hand, ready to record the things you need to remember. We have a theory that instead of it being called your memory, it ought to be called a forgettery. So, taking the time to write things down is especially helpful, as it gives you a minute to process your instructions and think of any questions you need to ask then and there.
Always Attend The Office Party
You know how they say that as many business deals are made on the golf course as in the office? That same principle applies to the office party. One boss points out that skipping the chance to socialize with your co-workers means you're missing basic office news (think: who is preparing to leave) and alienating yourself from the people who sit next to you 8+ hours of your day.
When it comes time to pick a team member for an advantageous project or conference in Hawaii, who will be chosen? Not what's-her-name, that girl who never comes to the party.
Don't Always Expect To Be Rewarded
"In order to get a promotion, you need to actually be worth it!" says one boss. "Don't walk around with the air that you deserve it, because that sense of entitlement is going to get you nowhere."
"Let's be honest—I promote people with good personalities. Your ability to be professional and also eager, motivated, and thoughtful about decisions and interactions with others is significant."
Be A Team Player
"Team player" is cliched for a reason—because every boss wants to see that quality in a potential employee. In recent years, "team" has come to replace every office unit from department to entire company, and every employee is expected to be a team player.Complaining about your role on the team is both futile and aggravating to your boss. Where is she supposed to find you a sub? If you aren't a team player, the real fix is to learn the rules of the game—and fast.
Always Offer Your Help
"You should be asking me if there is anything else you can be working on to help grow the company or the project, instead of waiting around for me to tell you what to do."
There's another word for that, one that appears next on the "cliched for a reason" list: initiative. Clearly, you shouldn't be asking your boss to hold your hand during every step of a project, but a well-timed "What can I do to help?" or "I noticed that [task] needs doing—I'll tackle that," is much appreciated.
Have A Solution
Wrong: "You tell me you have a problem—well, actually, you whine about something which I understand means you have a problem—and you come in with zero solutions on how to fix it."
Right: "You come up with new and successful ideas on your own and take initiative to do something we already do and do it better without being asked." It's really that simple.
Know Your Job And Do It Well
One boss had the following recommendation: "I think the best candidates for promotion are those who best can gently 'manage up' within their ranks and can find the balance needed to do gold star work while still knowing when to draw the line and say, 'I can do this for you, or I can do that for Mr. Smith, but I cannot get both done today. I feel like [this task] is the priority—would you agree?''