Lucky you, you have a great boss who recognizes your hard work and
untapped potential and wants to help you move up the career ladder. For
employees hoping to transition from administrative roles to a managerial or executive
track, a mentor's interest is critical.
Mentors can provide been-there-done-that advice and also advocate for
a protégé's advancement. It's been said that "mentoring is a brain to pick, an
ear to listen, and a push in the right direction." When your boss starts
pushing you to increase your level of professionalism at work, it can be
flattering but also daunting. How does one develop the professional qualities
needed to move from the administrative track or to take on increased leadership
Let's begin with what's easy. In order to be taken
seriously, you need to dress seriously. A polished, professional look is a must
when advancing up the career ladder. Different workplaces have different dress
codes so there is no one-size fits all solution. Take a look around you at work
and emulate the dress style of those at the top. A jacket and tie isn't always
required but take care to be pressed and wrinkle free. Hair should be
well-groomed, make-up understated. Not sure how to duplicate the look you see
in the corner office? Many department stores have personal shoppers who can
provide advice. While you can't judge a book by its cover, the reality is that
appearances matter in the workplace. Take care to look the part.
Cultivate a professional demeanor in your communications. Speak
slowly, thoughtfully and deliberately. Be sure your written communications are
polished and error-free. Monitor your use of slang and overly familiar banter.
Our world has increasingly become more informal but what might be an
appropriate way to talk off-the-clock, isn't always fitting at work. Good
communication isn't all about word choice. Work on presenting confidence and
poise. Be assertive when appropriate. If you can't advocate for yourself or
your ideas, others will be less inclined to do so.
A professional image and demeanor are key; you must also think like a
professional. It's not enough to do your job well; you need to learn how to
expand your role. Look for opportunities to add responsibilities. Identify
problems but also propose solutions. People who think "It's not my job" may
eventually be lucky to have one. Add to your skill set through outside classes
or conferences. Be a team player, and avoid trafficking in office gossip. If
you work well with others, you will have a leg up.
Above all, let your boss know you appreciate their guidance and
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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.