High-achieving professionals are always working towards a goal—whether it is to complete an assignment before deadline, land a huge account or figure out a way to save the company money. While not necessarily the primary motivator for everyone, getting a pay raise or promotion is certainly high on the list of objectives for the ambitious, aspiring executive.
Related: How to Make the Salary You Deserve
The list of the obvious prerequisites is long: job performance, demonstrating leadership potential, showing-up on time, etc. There are, however, many less apparent ways to stand out in your manager's eyes. Here are four ways that can put you on the path to a pay raise or promotion this year.
1. Help others—and not just the 'right' people.
All organizations should strive to assemble a leadership team made up of team players. In almost all businesses, the ability to work in this type of environment is critical for success, and it needs to start from the top.
Lending a helping hand when a teammate needs an assist is a great way to get noticed. You also should be an equal-opportunity helper. People catch on really quickly and see right through the teammate who offers to help only the boss, and no one else. Volunteering to assist anyone on the team, despite their status in the company, shows you are not just trying to curry favor with the boss, but that you genuinely want to help the team.
Besides, you never know whose good word about you will catch leadership's attention. Or that the entry-level person you lent a hand to may just be the company's future CEO. They will remember you as the one who helped them years ago.
2. Reign in your quirks.
Some companies embrace individualism and quirks to foster a creative environment and to prevent "group" think. If you are fortunate enough to work at an organization like this, definitely be yourself, but also make sure that your quirks do not become distracting. For instance, if you are a heavy metal fan, go ahead and occasionally wear the concert t-shirt to the office on a casual day or save an album cover as your screen saver.
However, make sure your devotion does not become a distraction -- for instance, yelling alongside your favorite lyrics at an uncomfortably loud decibel level while your office door is open. Dressing up as your favorite rock star is great on Halloween, but I would advise against it every day of the week. Just remember, in the end, you want your talents and contributions at work to stand out more than your quirks.
3. Be reliable.
A key question I always ask myself when I am looking for a leader is, "Do I know what I can expect from them every day?" As a leader, being consistent not just in performance, but also in attitude and demeanor, is crucial. If there is ever the need for a tiebreaker between two candidates vying for the same promotion, I will always lean towards the one who is the most consistent.
When there is a potential game-changing project, I want a person whom I know will not drop the ball leading the team. I never want to gamble when it comes to promoting a leader—I want to go with the sure thing.
4. Be a shining example of the company culture.
There is no question that leaders need to exemplify your team culture. Demonstrating that you understand and abide by the culture of your organization shows you not only realize this, but that you also "get" that leaders must guide by example.
The right person for the role will be someone the whole team can emulate. Successful organizations only promote leaders who live the culture, so make it an easy decision for them, and live it every day.
While I cannot promise you will get a raise by following the steps above, doing so will undoubtedly put you in a favorable light. Take the initiative to do many of the small things right, and it will not be long before opportunities to get to the next level present themselves.
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