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By Helen Hawkes
Helen writes on business, career and wellness issues for leading global magazines and digital sites. She is also a UNIFAM-qualified counsellor.
Ideally, we all want to grow our career and that usually means a more exciting job and a larger wage, or salary. But while you may be ambitious to achieve a senior role, how do you get there?
Michelle Gibbings, founder of Change Meridian, which works with organisations and leaders to facilitate leadership, offers the following tips on making the most of challenges and opportunities.
Career success is never guaranteed, and past career success is never a guarantee of future career success, says Gibbings.
“It’s essential to periodically assess your career, so you can discover whether you are in a rut or holding on to an unrealistic, outdated view of your career,” she says.
“The best way to do this is to apply the standard strategic planning approach, and ask yourself: ‘Where am I now?’, ‘Where do I want to be?’ And ‘What do I need to do to get there?”
This helps highlight any gaps in your skills, or changes in your industry, for example, and decide what steps to take next.
Once you’ve identified the job or the role you want, identify who can help you get there. You’d be surprised how many leaders will be willing give you a chance to ask questions about what they do, or seek advice.
In the long-term, there may be someone at your company, or in your industry, who will assist your development. Don’t assume people will just help you get to the next level; you must ask for support.
Get clear on the value you offer and keep that value offering current.
“Everyone brings certain skills and ways of operating to the work they do,” says Gibbings. “It’s essential to be able to articulate that value and how it helps the organisation achieve its strategic objectives.”
Try writing down what you believe you offer and forming it into a statement that could form the summary statement at the top of your CV.
Honestly consider if you have management potential and if you have a manner as well as a vision that engages and motivates people. It’s obvious in the global business world that some people, such as Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, Carla Zampatti and Mark Bouris, inspire others. While you don’t have to be them, you do have to have what it takes to get staff to follow your leadership unless, of course, you’re a solo enterprise.
Before you reach your goal of managing a team, do what you aspire to do while in your current role. If not at your place of work, then volunteer.
Says Gibbings: “To effectively lead in complex changing environments, employees need to firstly understand themselves and then be open to shifting their mindset, operating style and behaviour to suit the context of the new environment.”
Continued success requires a constant desire to learn.
“Often when a person has been in the workforce for a number of years it can be easy to let learning fall aside – thinking: ‘I know all I need to know.”
“The quest for knowledge and understanding never ends, particularly in a world of increasing connectedness and complexity.”
“It’s not enough to hone and refine your capability in your technical and professional areas of expertise,” says Gibbings. “Instead, you need to go both broad and deep.”
Staying abreast of the latest thinking and ideas from complementary professions, including project management, process improvement, strategy and design thinking
Buying books on topics that are different to your day job, and challenging your thinking about how you view the world
Subscribing to online news from a wide variety of news outlets so you receive up to date information and knowledge from around the world and from different ideological perspectives.
Planning your best future means being invested in outcomes today. Take the time to learn more about QSuper or your QSuper account.
Personal view disclaimer
The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board and QInvest Limited Board. We’ve put this information together as general information only.
1. QSuper Balanced Option only. SuperRatings SR50 Balanced Index (60-76) median based on cumulative returns compounded annually after fees and for initial $50,000 invested over the period to 28 February 2019. Based on funds open to the public. Past performance may not be a reliable indicator future performance.
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