“Boss…I need a raise…” Familiar words. A pay increase, better bonus, a promotion, better perks, more opportunities – the list of “wants” seems endless.
It can be frustrating and demotivating at work when these things don’t come easy. But just showing up for work and doing what you’re told is no longer enough.
You must stand out from the crowd of average employees and show you bring something special to the table. In short, you must earn that promotion or pay rise.
Here are some tips to get started on the road to career stardom.
1. Make your boss look good
Sometimes the boss – be it the ultimate boss or a supervisor in a middle management position – needs help.
They have a lot on their plate and by helping them, you help yourself. Manage nurturing the relationship with your boss. This can be difficult when dealing with a tough boss but you don’t have to like him or her.
Do not risk a bad relationship jeopardising your chances of moving ahead. So, suck it up and focus on helping your boss in any way possible.
The more your boss relies on you, the further ahead you will be in the queue for a raise.
2. Become the expert – monopolise a particular skill
It is not enough to have a string of post-graduate qualifications. To get ahead at work, skillsets and knowledge that add tangible value to the organisation are needed.
Stay updated in your field and consistently learn new things. Keep reading, keep learning new skills and refreshing existing ones, keep networking with peers to glean industry insights and specific knowledge.
3. Network – be a relationship builder
Work hard at connecting with and developing relationships with everyone in the company – subordinates, colleagues and bosses.
Do not assume that just because colleagues and subordinates are lower down the organisational hierarchy, they are not useful contacts to have. The reality is that every relationship you cultivate will have benefits down the road.
Personal relationships with a variety of colleagues in different parts of the company are networks that can be tapped to gain insights that even your boss may not have.
Soon, the individual will develop a reputation within the company of being the go-to person to solve problems requiring inter-departmental communications.
4. Say ‘yes’ when others say ‘no’
The average employee prefers to avoid more work. Their objective is to get as much pay for as little work as possible.
They spend most of their time complaining about everything in the office and doing the bare minimum. An individual can stand out from this crowd by being passionate, energetic and engaged in the work.
Step up and volunteer for new projects and roles. Take on responsibility. The bosses will immediately sit up and take notice.
5. Focus on what matters
Identify the advantages you have over other employees. You must examine what you have or can do that others don’t or can’t, or simply not as well.
Zoom in on those aspects and focus on them. Delegate anything that is not a focus area if possible, or spend less time on these things.
Work hard at showcasing the edge you have over others and strategically highlight to the right people in the organisation the value added.
6. Keep a positive attitude
Lastly, greet everyone at work with a positive expression, no matter how glum everyone else looks.
Have a smile on your face and let the energy and passion for what you do show in the way you carry yourself. Bosses and co-workers will have to respond in the same way, as they will feel energised when faced with your positive energy.
This is of course easier said than done, especially on days when things have not gone well or you are tired, unwell or dealing with family issues.
Practise always sounding enthusiastic and energetic regardless of how you actually feel. Responding this way helps you feel better and people will respond better too. Positivity is like a magnet and it attracts people.
Even the most tight-fisted organisation would see an employee like this as someone who deserves to be rewarded.
Be strategic and innovative in planning and achieving your career goals. Work hard, work smart, and give the job everything. The effort will be noticed and rewarded down the road.
This article first appeared in kclau.com
KC Lau is a personal finance author and trainer.