I am sure all young professionals aspire to advance in their career. If so, they are not alone. Many determined professionals share this desire, but the path to success can be daunting and difficult to navigate. However, through my own experiences and reflections prompted by conversations with many young colleagues, I have identified six tactics that have consistently propelled my progress within organisations.
A sponsor is more important than a mentor: The first tactic is to secure sponsorship from someone within your workplace who recognises your potential and can significantly benefit your career. A sponsor is a critical relationship in your career. While seeking one out may not be a straightforward task, it is the sponsor who recognises your strength based on a combination of professional and personal factors.
Remember that authenticity is your competitive advantage, and therefore, you should stand out from your peers by showcasing your unique qualities and making yourself noticeable, increasing your chances of attracting a worthy sponsor’s attention to speak in your absence. I recommend listening to Carla Harris from Morgan Stanley who espouses the same belief.
Cultivation of mentorship is crucial: The second tactic is to cultivate mentorship, and I will recommend finding a mentor or sounding board outside of your immediate professional environment to gain fresh perspectives and impartial counsel. The mentor’s sole agenda should be to help you grow and succeed in your career from a broader perspective.
Right networking is the key: The third crucial strategy to embrace in advancing your career is networking. Building a strong professional network requires a long-term commitment, testing your patience and dedication. Although the returns may not materialise immediately, networking often leads to priceless rewards. By genuinely connecting with others and nurturing relationships, you create a strong support system capable of propelling your career to new heights.
Managing internal politics is important: The fourth strategy is to learn how to manage politics professionally. Politics exist within every organisation and learning how to navigate this landscape is crucial for career advancement.
Recognise that challenges are expected but your skilful maneuvering can make a difference. You need to understand the dynamics at play, allowing you to make informed decisions. Wisely building alliances with key stakeholders can significantly influence your path. Advocating for yourself with integrity and confidence is crucial in successfully navigating an organisation’s political environment.
Maintaining positive connections will help: My fifth piece of advice will be to maintain positive connections with every person you come across during your career, regardless of their position within the organisation. Remember that karma is real and actions have a way of resurfacing, so you never know when or where you might encounter former colleagues, juniors, or superiors in the future. Building a reputation for professionalism, respect, and being cordial opens doors for potential opportunities and partnerships in the long run.
Maintaining a supportive ecosystem can ensure sustained results: Establishing a supportive ecosystem outside of work is the sixth strategy. This is important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and preventing burnout and anxiety. Surround yourself with individuals who understand and encourage your professional aspirations. Their support will help you sustain the enthusiasm and energy required to persist and perform at your best in the workplace.
While setbacks are inevitable on any career journey, these six strategies have propelled my own progression. I encourage all young professionals to adapt these strategies to their unique circumstances and consider implementing them in their career endeavours.
Source: The Daily Star