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How to rise to the top of your game

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Rising to the top in a competitive working environment might seem clear-cut on the surface: outperform your peers, secure a promotion and repeat.

However, while climbing the corporate ladder may appear straightforward and simple to attain, there’s a lot more to success than status and salary.

Those who are labelled as ‘lucky’ are often those who never lose sight of their vision to succeed and constantly ask themselves how to add value to a business and their customers. While everyone’s journey will be different, the following steps will help you to rise to the top of your game and thrive in your professional career.

Identify and build on your strengths

Before you can leverage your strengths to advance your career, you must first determine what they are. If you are uncertain, you may want to ask for feedback from former or current colleagues or even take a test to find where your natural skills lie. However, after taking a personality test to determine your strengths in the workplace, it can be easy to look to the “pain points” as a place to start. The problem with this approach is that often, the areas we don’t perform well in are the ones our brains just naturally aren’t good at. For example, you may be a great communicator and boast incredible organisation skills but lack creativity. Rather than dedicating time and effort to improving your creative abilities, invest in your natural strengths. From here, you can draw a road-map for your own success and determine how you can best help the business.

Embark on professional development

As well as taking every opportunity offered by your current employer to develop your skills further, gaining experience and growing your knowledge outside of work can be a great way to accelerate your rise to the top. Although many people equate learning and development with professional qualifications, you don’t have to take a course to broaden your skills: today, a plethora of resources are available online for you to make use of, or you may even consider voluntary work experience in your free time. Yes, this takes time and energy and may take you outside your comfort zone, but treating learning and development as a habit will ensure you never stay stagnant with a restricted set of skills.

Focus on the bigger picture

Rather than working towards Employee of the Month or a Christmas bonus, true winners achieve their long-term goals by never losing sight of the bigger picture. While it’s easy to get distracted by internal promotions and incentives, try to keep in mind that success is not about seeking promotions: when you are successful, promotions will seek you.

Don’t fixate on hierarchy

It’s easy to become demotivated when a colleague in your department lands a promotion instead of you. However, if you are to rise to the top of your game, watching everyone else's will only slow your progress. Instead of working out ways to impress your superiors and out-do your peers, stay focused on your performance. Remember, you don’t have to be in charge to lead your team. Instead of setting out to be a “leader” or “team manager”, set out to make a difference and inspire the people around you.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the talent they really need. Can we help you? Click here for more information.