Honesty is the Best Policy When Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Julie Shenkman
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Look around you. Some people that you work with today may be your boss tomorrow. Isn’t it funny how some professionals can easily climb the corporate ladder while others never quite get there regardless of how hard they try or what they do? Most people try to get there using an honest and hardworking approach, while others may look to more underhanded tactics like office politics, extreme aggressiveness or by misrepresenting their work and accomplishments. Recently, more than 4,500 business professionals across the Nexxt Network of thousands of niche career communities, participated in a poll to gauge if they have ever succumb to office politics in order to get ahead in their job. We were glad to see that more than 79 percent of professionals believed in honest hard work and did not get involved in office politics, which often times can come back to bite you later.
We have all seen characters in movies and TV shows (and in personal experience from time to time) where office politics, blackmail, and bribery play a role in career advancements. However, it’s important that you don’t see these characters as mentors towards advancing your own career. Instead, you should look to incorporate the following tactics to get noticed, climb the corporate ladder with pride and get ahead in your career.
  • Be Enthusiastic. Get excited about new opportunities and be sure to volunteer to participate on projects that will help the company grow or overcome a challenge. At the end of the year, be sure to demonstrate the positive impact that you have made and communicate it to your manager BEFORE your annual review.
  • Be a Team Player. Companies like to see people help one another and work together effectively to accomplish a goal. If there’s an opportunity to volunteer to be on a team or if a coworker is buried in paperwork, offer your assistance to help dig them out. But, it’s important that you don’t volunteer just to make yourself look good or be noticed. Co-workers and managers can see right through it.
  • Be Friendly. Make an effort to get to know your colleagues regardless of where they are on the corporate ladder. Even showing the smallest bit of interest can give you that extra push in the right direction. But, it’s important to be sincere.
  • Build Relationships. It is important to build relationships up and down the corporate ladder, not just with senior management that you think can help you get ahead. Again, you never know when a co-worker or professional on your project will be the next boss that will make the decision on your movement up the ladder.
  • Be Respectful of Other’s Time. Showing up to work, a meeting, or an event on time shows a lot about someone’s character. If you’re the person that is constantly late, it may send a signal that you believe your time is more valuable than everyone else’s and that’s not a good message to be sending.
  • Put in Extra Time and Effort. If you didn’t finish all of your work during the workday, put in the extra effort to meet your deadline. We’re not saying that you should be at the office all hours of the day, but putting in a half an hour here and there will certainly show management that you care about your job.
  • Advance in Your Skills. Advancing in your skills doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going back to school full time—it could be as simple as attending a workshop or sitting in on a webinar to get caught up on the latest industry trends, lingo, and procedures. Want to earn bonus points? Invite others to join you.
  • Be Flexible. If you’re working on a project and the deliverables or priorities change, don’t have a meltdown. Simply go with the flow and adjust accordingly. Showing that you have the ability to change course and still perform is a great asset and certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. If you are inflexible or negative, others will see you as a barrier not an enabler.
  • Practice What You Preach. If you say you’re going to do something—do it. It’s a great quality to be known as that colleague that is dependable and follows through. If you announce to your manager or your team that you’ll be taking on a specific task make sure you deliver on it.
  • Show Your Appreciation. Thank your colleagues whenever possible. A simple thank you can go a long way and get noticed by others.
It’s easy to incorporate these tips into your daily routine and when you do, you will better position yourself for career advancement and prove that nice guys (and girls) can finish first! For additional career information and tips, visit our Career Articles Section.

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  • pamela g.
    pamela g.
    What a refreshing article, what ever made you write it?
  • Victoria Shelton
    Victoria Shelton
    Yes, thanks for the reminder.  It does seem sometimes that those who aren't honest get ahead.  Lots of times it is the corporate culture of the place of work which is a shame.  I see attitude with the economy the way it is.
  •  hidayathulla
    this is quite fruitful

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