Visions of corporate leadership and more zeros on a paycheck can help an entry-level employee survive the workdays. It’s the “paying your dues” and “work hard” mentality that keeps employees on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder motivated for more. For someone who dreams of being CEO, how can you sprint to the top rungs of the ladder, rather than climb?
Justin Hutchens moved from being a resident assistant at an intermediate care facility at age 19 to CEO of National Health Investors at age 36. Hutchens shares with Forbes.com that his father’s advice helped him fast forward up the proverbial corporate ladder. Always do your best, despite the level of your responsibilities, and take the undesirable assignments others wouldn’t want. Broadening your skills, willingness to relocate, and flexibility are also top traits that can boost a person’s marketability, says Hutchens.
Even if you’re not making a steady vertical ascent up the ladder, lateral moves and positions offering growth opportunities can support career expansion, development and advancement. Here are more adjustments you can make in your profession to help charge ahead in your career.
Continuing your education broadens your skill set and professional training. Complement you marketing background and entrepreneurial spirit with formal management as well as financial and organizational training. Especially since you’ve already experienced the workforce, you can return to school with clearer goals and sharper focus. Returning to school doesn’t have to be a full-time endeavor like your four-year, on-campus undergrad experience with high tuition costs. There are online college options you can research. Penn Foster, for example, equips students with a business management associate degree with up to 76 percent less costs than and traditional and online academic alternatives.
An indecisive career path and aimless job hopping can be a time-waster. If you’re bouncing around in your career like a pinball in an arcade game, you’re doing it wrong. Career coach Ford Myers emphasizes that you need a roadmap or blueprint to achieve your full potential, according to “How To Fast-Track Your Way Up The Corporate Ladder,” by Forbes.com. Create short-term goals along with a long-term vision. Think about the greater picture beyond your limitations. Determine the pinnacle of your career, and then establish the steps that will get you there. Keep in mind, performing like someone in a higher position can attract the potential for a promotion and showcase your abilities to take the next step. Don’t lose sight of your current role, but think and act a level higher, recommends business consultant Lynette Lewis.
Positive Work Behavior
Attitude and personality traits are just as pivotal as education and a plan. An extroverted CEO-in-the-making will possess the following qualities:
- Communicates effectively; makes deals and decisions
- Garners respect
- Sees a cohesive vision and can create a strategy
- Acts with self-confidence and self-knowledge
- Adapts and accommodates to unforeseen changes
- Works well independently and as a team
- Listens and responds
- Energizes, innovates and excites
- Expresses appreciation and gratitude
Manager & Company Objectives
Understand the values and priorities of your boss and company. Do your efforts align with their goals and objectives? Completing your responsibilities and meeting (exceeding) expectations while taking initiative reflects exemplary leadership qualities. Don’t be afraid to step beyond your role to learn about the high-priority funded projects. Create visibility for yourself by having a hand in projects that greatly influence the business of your company. Not only should you execute, you should initiate as well. Over time, you’ll gain valuable experience that will teach you about risk, opportunity and how to move into not only a managerial position, but eventually a chief executive role.
About the Author:
Ruth Harris is a long HR consultant, service manager, and mother of three.