Tips for climbing the corporate ladder

Last Updated : 12 January 2010, 18:18 IST
Last Updated : 12 January 2010, 18:18 IST

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You have done all the right things , slogging from mornings to late evenings, have been sincere in your job and yet you are not getting  rewarded, where as some one you least expected has gone up  well  in  the  corporate hierarchy. Why and how?

You often find such instances  in the corporate world , especially  so in the middle management cadre. Well then, is it luck, providence, the stars or some godfather that has worked in his favour ?  Or  is it in the genes? What makes some people tick where as it doesn’t work for others? While hardwork is essential, there are other aspects one needs to take care of.

What is required is a paradigm shift in one’s mindset and effect changes in the style of working. You will do well to ponder on the following points and check your scores on a scale of 1 to 10: Ability to handle  multiple tasks;  accuracy, adaptability and dependability; interpersonal relationship; diplomacy; clean image and innovating. Let us take one by one.

- Handling multiple tasks

Managers are often  required to handle multiple talks, as, in these days of tough competition, no one particular task can wait till you finish the other one. Judicious allocation of tasks to your subordinates and colleagues and keeping a tab on  them periodically till each one is completed on target dates is a must. Lending a helping hand to a weaker link in the chain may often be required and is one of the key responsibilities of a manager. Clearly documenting and tracking their progress on daily/weekly basis is important and will come in handy when your boss calls you to check the progress on such tasks.

- Accuracy &  adaptability

a ) Often times  you are told  to submit statements and reports to your immediate boss say, on the progress of your job at hand, financial statements, market reports etc.
It may so happen that an urgent report has to be prepared while you are busy  with a job in hand which a little while ago was considered urgent. Your immediate tendency to such a sudden change  in instruction form your boss is to lose patience and curse  him for such instructions. Many people have a tendency to postpone such reports or even avoid them due to  resistance in  preparing such paper work. The fact is that the instruction to your boss has come from the top management for some critical reason. You should appreciate that such an opportunity is given to you and be able to switch over immediately and carry out  the current instructions on top priority suspending your work for a while. Such instructions  should take  an over riding priority.

Such reports may often be collated from several departments  and presented to the top management for certain key decisions that the management may wish to take . It may even have a bearing  on the company’s business projections and profitability figures  or getting loan form financial institutions.

Needless to say that you should give utmost importance in preparing  them and with almost care and seriousness  they deserve , and also ensuring that there are no mistakes. They should  also give a positive picture of your working and that of your department . It is always advisable to check and double check before submitting them and presenting them  in the most organised way. If your data is accurate and dependable, very often they will be presented without any editing by your boss to his superiors which  is a credit for you.

Your boss may depend on  you for all such future statements and may confide in you for sharing  several of company’s  internal information which is an indication that you  are tipped for higher position .

b) When you are involved in a discussions with  your boss, it is  always preferable to take your diary or a small note pad to jot down  his instructions, so that you do not forget them.

This, besides helping you  organise your work ,also gives a good impression to your boss that  you give importance to his instructions.

In case your boss happens to criticise you , the best way to handle is to  remain composed and take such criticisms gracefully, In case your boss happens to be  wrong , this may be pointed out in polite manner, without hurting him. c) When you are asked to attend  meetings , be armed with all the details of work done, target dates , valid reasons for delay etc and present them in such a way that they project a  positive pricture.

In such meetings when your boss is also present, be ready to assist him with all facts and figures.

If you are asked “ Have you completed that job?” You answer should be “Yes sir, it is more than half complete and will be completed soon” rather than saying , “ No sir, It is only half complete”. When given an opportunity for presentations, such occasions may be used to highlight your or your departments achievements.

- Cordial relationships

It is very important to maintain a cordial relationship with all your peers , subordinates and of course you boss. They will share with you a lot of  information —work related which may help you  do your job much easier and more efficiently. Some times you may want your colleague to help you out in finishing a portion of your job .

- Diplomacy

Your colleagues may or may not like your being tipped for elevations and may be waiting for a chance to  try and  find fault with your work  or pull your legs . You have to diplomatically avoid such situations and also be extra cautious so that you do not fall prey to such gimmicks. Several times you should know the intent of the person talking you rather than take his comments at face value and react accordingly.

It is always important to stay calm and composed all the time and never allow emotions take control of you. Think before answering any questions directed at you.

- Clean image

You have to maintain and project a clean image about yourself and your department to your boss and the people concerned with regard to, say, completing assignment in time, submitting expense statements  etc.especially if you are tipped for promotion for the next level.  In casual discussion with your colleagues, family or friends , you may have occasions to refer about your company. It is important to show your genuine feelings of pride of your belonging to your company and avoid loose talks and comments on your company’s working.

Many companies are known to employ private eyes to spy on employees so that company’s name does not suffer,and to ensure that their staff do not work against company’s interests.  You have to watch for signals coming from various quarters and respond positively. These will be judged by your seniors to assess whether you are fit to occupy a higher positions.

- Innovating

It may occur to you several time that certain improvements or changes may help  carry out your  jobs easier or quicker and even save cost to the company. Such ideas  will have to highlighted though the proper channel to the higher ups.

Well then, have you finished scoring ?  If you have scored well , say 8 to 9 on all these and still not getting your due reward in reasonable period of time, then perhaps, is it not time that you thought of other alternatives?

The writer is an independent HR consultant with 30 years experience, including senior management.

Published 12 January 2010, 15:34 IST

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