Climbing that corporate ladder can be a challenge. After all, there are corporate politics to consider, seniority, and maybe even nepotism. But all that aside, there are concrete steps you can take to increase your influence at the company, get noticed for your hard work, and ultimately get ahead. And that’s how you’ll start building the experience and connections you’ll need to eventually start your own small business down the line. Here’s what you should do:
- Take Initiative
Don’t just wait around for assignments to be delegated to you. Take the initiative to tackle them yourself without needing to be asked. Are there items on your boss’s To-Do list that he or she hasn’t gone around to yet? Is the printer constantly getting jammed, yet no one has called IT to come fix it yet? Use your job description as a general guide, not the end all and be all.
- Build Rapport
Rapport isn’t something that gets built overnight. It takes a lot of little relationship-building moments to create true rapport. It can be as simple as offering to grab a coffee for your coworker when you’re on the way out to get your own. It’s also about being kind and gregarious to anyone who walks through the company doors, be they clients, co-workers, or bosses. Building rapport is about mutual support and cooperation.
- Participate in Team Building
Many offices will organize team-building activities, like company hikes or volunteering at the Food Bank. This is a great way to get to know your co-workers in a more relaxed environment than the office. Just keep in mind that these activities, while fun, are still an opportunity for you to show off your professional persona. Don’t get too social if it means making others uncomfortable or acting inappropriately.
- Avoid Gossip
Never spread rumors about other people. First of all, you never know if something you heard through the gossip mill is actually true, so it’s best to not pass on what you hear. Secondly, becoming known as the office gossip is a reflection of your immaturity and lack of professionalism. And you could really hurt someone’s feelings or reputation – like those of your boss, for example. Stay above it, and never talk trash about others.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Speak
Whether you’re in a one-on-one meeting with your boss, or a group discussion with co-workers, don’t be afraid to throw your ideas into the mix. Step out of your comfort zone, and open up about your thoughts. Your input may be super helpful, and even if it isn’t, it shows others that you care.