Career talk: How to work your way to the top
Tips from life coach Sophia Fromell
There’s no question that most of us want to grow in our careers. But the difference between those who prosper and those who don’t is the work they’re willing to do. This doesn’t have to mean working harder, it can also mean working smarter, which is why we sat down with certified life coach, Sophia Fromell, for some tips on how to work your way up the career ladder. 1. Know what you want: It’s pretty obvious that if you don’t know what you want, you can’t work towards getting it. Fromell recommends specifying exactly what position you want, in which industry you want it in, the salary that you want out of it, and even the location you want it to be in. 2. The right attitude makes the biggest difference: Personality and attitude play a big role in any business position. Even if you’re the most talented in your field of work, you won’t prosper unless you have the right attitude towards your work and co-workers. That’s why Fromell insists on remaining positive. “Look for a positive in every situation and you will immediately see people’s reactions and interactions with you improving,” she says. 3. Always believe in yourself: “You were hired because someone believed in you, so believe in yourself and remind them on a daily basis why you are worth your weight in gold,” Fromell explains, and we agree. Although it’s easier said than done, believing in yourself is the most important step to take if you really want to work your way to the top. Have you ever met a millionaire who didn’t believe in himself? 4. Embrace responsibility: According to Fromell, if you’re given a task that sits outside your scope of work, you should embrace the responsibility and see it as an opportunity to impress. After all, people don’t grow in comfort zones, they grow with challenges. Fromell recommends delivering more of what is asked of you to show your boss that you’re ready to move to a higher position with more responsibilities. 5. Whatever you do, do it well: Most of the world’s millionaires are self-made. They didn’t start out a top executives. Some of them were selling candy on the pavement, some were working as dish washers, but whatever they did, they did it well. And it’s because of that they ended up succeeding. According to Fromell, even if you’re not in the position you hope for at this stage in your career, it’s never too late to make changes and work towards the position you actually want to be in. 6. Being a team player goes a long way, especially in tough times: Business is not a one-man show, so those who are not team players rarely make it to the top. But it’s even more important to be a team player in tough times. This includes encouraging a positive environment and helping your colleagues with any excess work. This way, you will be remembered equally for your commitment in times of trouble, just as much as your contribution in times of success, according to Fromell. 7. Treat the business you’re working for as if it were your own: It only makes sense that if you treat the business you’re working at as if it were yours, you would do your job much better. It’s human nature to care more about things that belong to us rather than things that are not ours. According to Fromell, doing so will prompt you to see things differently, thinking of outside-the-box solutions, conjure up budget-saving ideas, and more. 8. Know what is expected of you: It’s great to take on responsibility and impress at work. But it’s also important to do so realistically. “When taking on a new project or task, be sure to fully understand the expectations and be honest if you feel they are unachievable. While you never want to come across as being negative, it is your responsibility to not overpromise and under-deliver,” says Fromell. 9. Act like a leader: Followers rarely make it a long way. It is leaders who make their way to the top of the career ladder. Part of being a leader is looking for solutions instead of problems. Fromell advises that when you’re faced with a challenge, instead of running to your line manager asking for a solution, think of what can be done and evaluate a number of options. You can then go to your line manager with a suggested solutions. “Act like a leader and you will be seen like a leader,” she says. 10. Get noticed: Whether you’re having a conversation in the elevator or a regular business meeting, get noticed and leave an impact on people. While Fromell suggests that it’s easier to get noticed in start-ups and smaller companies than big corporates, we disagree on that one point. It might be a bigger challenge to get noticed in a bigger company, but that’s where you can make the biggest impact. The fact that you got noticed in a pool of employees gives you power, and a greater chance of getting to the top.