Leading in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide to the Corporate Ladder

3 06 2013

Guest post by CollegeFocus

Okay, so you survived college and you were one of the lucky ones to secure an awesome job right when you got out. However, now you find yourself with a choice: You can either sit back, blend into the wallpaper and enjoy the fact that you’re gainfully employed, as many are content to do, or you can push yourself to start climbing that corporate ladder. Moving up in the business world isn’t as hard as you might think, and as long as you avoid some common pitfalls, work hard, and use some common sense, you’ll be jumping up the ranks in no time.

Corporate LadderIt’s OK to Start at the Bottom

A common misconception is that you have to be in a position of power in order to be a leader in the workplace. However, this simply isn’t true. Treat your new job like it’s your first day of college. No one knows who you are, so it’s up to you to decide how you want to be known. Take this opportunity to show that you are hungry and are willing to lead whenever the opportunity presents itself. Obviously, this will come more naturally to some people, but if you’re not a vocal person, you can still lead by example. Actions speak louder than words. So if you start out doing the little things that are within your power to do, your co-workers (and more importantly, your managers) will take notice.

Gain the Trust of Your Co-workers

It’s important to show your co-workers they can trust you. First, they have to be able to trust that fact that you’ll do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’re going to do it. Reliability is one of the first things that bosses look for when handing out promotions. It’s also important that you get them to trust you as a person; that you’re the type of person they can confide in if they need help or need someone to cover them.

Communication ConferenceDon’t Become One of the “Cool Kids”

It sounds cliché, but every workplace has them. These employees will usually gossip, complain about upper management, and will almost invariably convince themselves that they are better than everyone else in the office. You want to maintain a good relationship with your co-workers, so help them out, just don’t fall into the same mindset as then. Not only is it a toxic attitude, but it can also take away your motivation, and alienate you from your other co-workers.

Dealing with a Promotion

When you finally do move up, one of the biggest challenges will be maintaining your relationships with those who are now “beneath you” in the chain of command. The first thing you have to do is let them know that you’re still the same person. And you’ll still be able to joke around and have fun with them – after work. It’s important you make it very clear that they need to respect you as their boss. True friends will understand this. However, sometimes the divide can start to blur and you might find your authority being challenged. If this starts to happen, a simple one-on-one meeting may clear things up. You don’t need to reprimand them, but a closed-door talk will be enough to show that you mean business. Lastly, don’t play favorites. Nothing will put a target on your back faster than doling out special treatment. Treat everyone with the same amount of respect you want to be treated with, and you should do just fine.

About <a href="http://www.collegefocus.com/"the author: David Fridland is a writer for CollegeFocus, a site where you can compare rental prices on textbooks, and obtain a plethora of knowledge on the ins and outs of college as well as entering the career world. He graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in Political Science. When not writing, David spends most of his time out on the Ultimate Frisbee Field.

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