how to signal to your boss that you're ready for the next career steps

03/11/2020

We've all reached a point in our careers where we feel ready to take our skills and responsibilities to the next level. The voice of ambition makes you eager to take on the next step in your career, whether it be a promotion to a leadership position or transitioning to a different department. Anyone with the determination and commitment to self-improvement can step up to great leadership or progress in their career. To reach this, you'll need to prove to your boss that you've got what it takes to advance. By taking a few practical steps below with patience, dedication, and commitment, you'll be sure to accelerate in your trajectory to success. Here are five ways to do this.

1. Live the values and purpose of your organisation 

Ensure that what you do in the workplace reflects the core purpose of the organisation. A strong leader is someone who knows the values of their organisation. They not only strive to demonstrate these values and ethics in their everyday work interactions but also encourage others to uphold these values too. 

As Simon Sinek quotes, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." Leaders inspire others on their journey as they advance the business's purpose and achieve consistent results. You can display this leadership by aligning your work actions with organisation values and being a role model for your colleagues. This demonstrates to your organisation that you are paying attention and committed to delivering successful results. 

2. Volunteering to lead

Another way to indicate to your boss that you're ready to progress your career is to volunteer to lead during a challenge. People who rise to the occasion, rather than sticking to the easier tasks in a project, display promising leadership traits. 

If you see an area of the company where you believe that you can become a valuable asset and provide strategic support, don't be afraid to ask to participate. Asking your boss for opportunities to showcase your skills and talents will also effectively signal your enthusiasm for the organisation.

When you ask to participate in an opportunity outside your normal role, explain why you believe you can make a positive contribution. Also, discuss how you think it can help advance your professional development. 

3. Be team and results-focused 

Working collaboratively and offering your time and support to help the entire team succeed are invaluable traits a company looks for in a leader. Your boss will recognise your focus on team success in the way you demonstrate a desire and ability to solve not just your own problems, but ones that hinder the entire company's performance. 

4. Don't underestimate professionalism 

Although many are working remotely, we shouldn't underestimate the power of remaining professional despite the circumstances. Being neatly groomed, whether you're behind the camera or in-person and appropriately dressed for the office, will highlight your commitment and respect for the workplace. If you're working from home, appearing professional will still demonstrate your commitment to cultivating a professional work culture at home. 

Even though you haven't met all your career goals or advanced to a leadership role, it is important to be exemplary in your position now. Stay self-aware and don't take part in behaviours that a leader wouldn't, such as gossiping or missing deadlines. Instead, demonstrate a strong work ethic by being courteous and punctual. Your boss will appreciate someone with a record of bringing consistent positive results and may even introduce you to bigger projects to take on. 

5. Converse with your boss 

Have an open and honest conversation with your boss or manager about your ambitions and performance. Voicing your goals will demonstrate your desire for personal and professional fulfillment. This will also help your manager assist you in getting where you want to be. 

Sharing your aspirations and asking your manager to help identify your key strengths and areas of growth show them that you're ready for the next steps in your career. You can ask your boss about how they see your career progressing and develop a plan involving increasing levels of responsibilities that will support your long term goals.