Do you ever wonder what the ‘higher-up's' have that you don't? Do you ponder what sets the average worker apart from the management staff? Well, there are a few easy ways to fit in with upper management and show them that you are a potential candidate for the corner office.
Network, network, network.
There is no career advice more important than networking. If you want to advance you must learn the value of good connections. Don't turn down invitations for lunch or avoid group gatherings if you want to get ahead. With that said, you don't want to be at every event either. Going out for drinks after work every day will reflect negatively, but a few lunch meetings or evening gatherings can be a great tool for success. Choose your events wisely and be present when it matters most. As a rule of thumb, you should always socialize upwardly.
Don't overdo it.
When you take on too much at work you begin to show signs of stress and management will notice. Being busy is a good thing, but you do not want to be so busy that you are passed up for more opportunity. Avoid taking on extra work that you can't handle and don't be afraid to say no. Learn to pass work on to others who are better equipped to tackle it. After all, delegating tasks is a big part of being a member of the management team.
Know your weaknesses (and your strengths).
Your weakness can be your biggest barrier, especially if you are unaware of it. You need to constantly assess your skills if you want to succeed. If you find that you struggle with something and you cannot overcome it, look for ways to combat it with your strengths instead. If you struggle with numbers and math, for example, but are great with words, let your strength shine without hiding your weakness. Everyone struggles with something, trying to hide it only makes it more obvious in the end. Instead, be honest about your weakness and show the strengths you do have. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help from others who excel in the area that you struggle. Being a life-long learner is an asset in upper management.
Be a problem solver.
They say the easiest route to a promotion is to make your bosses biggest problem go away. That is not always possible, but you can use your problem-solving skills to get the attention you deserve. Help others, even when it doesn't directly benefit you. If you can make the job easier for the next person down the line, then you are well on your way to being in with the in-crowd. When looking to promote employees, companies often look at how well they work within a team environment. There is no better way to show that you are a team player than through helping those on your team, just because you can.
Hold your tongue.
Office politics is one of the biggest reasons that some people are passed up for promotion. You can be a whiz at your job, but if you are known as the office gossip you will lack the trust required to take on a management position. Do not get involved in the office politics and avoid the gossip around the water cooler. Anything you do hear should be kept locked away. Even if you are not the culprit of the initial rumor, playing into it shows a lack of maturity.