Some people harbor the belief that getting ahead in your career is a matter of luck or of having the right connections. It's not. The people who are "lucky" are the ones who have prepared, day in and day out, and were ready when opportunity arrived. They had productive and successful habits already in place.
Habits are a curious thing--your brain actually shuts down its decision-making center when the trigger for a habit occurs, and you go into autopilot. If you're proactive, you can actually use this process to your advantage by developing these 11 simple habits that will help you get ahead in your career.
1. Get to Know Your Boss
Find out what makes him or her tick, and find out what goals your manager has and why. The more you can do to those goals, the better you'll make them look good to their leadership, while also building relationships that will keep you top of mind when the next promotion opportunity comes along.
People want to bring those who make them good along with them. Even if it's seen as "brown-nosing" by your coworkers, it's a habit that'll help you get ahead.
2. Communicate Well
No one is born with the perfect communication style--we all learn it. So don't feel bad if you get feedback from those you work with that your communication needs work. Being straightforward, while also being respectful of others' positions and feelings, is a balance that takes time to learn. But once you master it, your career will never be the same.
3. Look for Additional Responsibility
Too many workers make it their goal to get through the day with as little responsibility as possible. Adopt the opposite habit--always have your eyes open for new duties you can take on.
Think about it... If you were a manager, which employee would you be more likely to promote? The worker who scrapes along doing as little as possible, or the one that's showing initiative and learning new skills whenever possible? When you're known for getting things done, your career will thrive.
4. Take Action Quickly
One key leadership quality is the ability to take action quickly and get things done. True leaders make clear decisions and move projects forward, even if there are disagreements between team members or tough circumstances involved. Being decisive and taking action are habits that will take your career to the next level.
Of course, it's worth noting that you might make the wrong decisions from time-to-time. That's ok. Leaders at all levels make mistakes, but what distinguishes the truly great leaders from the ones who don't advance in their careers is that they're willing to admit they made a mistake and use it as a learning opportunity to improve their future performance.
Just don't be so afraid of making a wrong decision that you fail to adopt the habit of taking action quickly.
5. Give Speakers Your Full Attention
Are you in the habit of checking your phone or email when you get bored in meetings? It doesn't go unnoticed. Instead, develop the habit of giving someone your full attention. You won't miss crucial pieces of information within a presentation, and you'll always be aware of your assignments. You'll also stand out in a major way against those who aren't staying attentive.
6. Emulate Leaders You Admire
As with communication, leadership is learned. Pay attention to how those you admire carry themselves, how they interact with others, and how they approach their work. By following their example, you can learn how to become a more effective leader yourself.
7. Hit Deadlines
Some people are always habitually late with their work and can't seem to get any task together in time. They always have an excuse, but usually it's a poor cover-up for bad time management habits. Create the habit of always being on time with projects by developing the time management practices that work for your personality and style.
8. Think Like a Manager
Managers and leaders have a specific mindset. They think of the good of the team as a whole, and take a big picture view. Good managers are willing to pitch in to help someone hit their target, especially if that means mentoring others. By adopting this mindset, you'll position yourself for your next promotion.
9. Record Your Accomplishments
Your boss probably doesn't have the opportunity to see every single thing you accomplish within a week. By recording your accomplishments, you give yourself a great record of everything you've done, which helps a lot when reviews come around. Don't be afraid to brag about your best accomplishments--you can do it without being a jerk.
10. Don't Bother with Jealousy
There's no room in a successful leader's career for jealousy of others' successes. Instead, be happy for them and focus on earning your own. By developing the habit of investing in your own track record and making it clear what you could do in a new role, you'll be ready when the next promotion comes available.
11. Accept Feedback
There's no habit that's as damaging to a career as being unwilling to accept feedback. How can anyone expect you to improve when you won't listen to suggestions? Someone who doesn't listen to feedback is very unlikely to get promoted, as their bull-headedness will hurt more people the higher they go.
None of the habits listed above is a herculean task to adopt. Each one is simply a small daily action that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Start with one, and add more as you go. Before you know it, your career will be flourishing and you'll be happier than ever.
What other habits have helped you get ahead in your career? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below: