Establishing yourself in any career takes a lot of time, patience, and effort. This has been true across all generations. Everyone has to prove themselves as they get started in their career and work their way up. It’s an uphill battle, but it’s one that’s worth the effort despite the frustrations that come with it. Millennials have the drive to work their way to any position within the company that they desire. They can easily climb their way to the top of their companies with that drive, but that’s not without getting past a few naysayers first. But how can millennial managers get promoted fast?
Millennials have the difficult task of proving their worthiness. They have to appeal to people in the workplace that are both older and younger than them. It can feel like walking on a tightrope. However, with a little bit of balance, millennials can climb the corporate ladder quickly and achieve their big-picture goals.
#1: Actions always speak louder than words.
We’re starting things off with a cliche. Every cliche has to start somewhere though, right? This one is no exception. In business, experience is everything. But, the trick is, how do you gain experience with no experience? Millennials often fall into this problem. For those looking to get promoted, you need to speak through your performance.
Prove yourself as a standout performer from day one. This doesn’t mean that you have to constantly suck up to your boss. In fact, the best way to do this is to show your assets. Show your boss that you already belong to that manager’s desk. When they see that you’re already acting like a leader, promoting you will be a no-brainer.
#2: Emphasize a knack for teamwork and collaborative skills.
This is a little harder when you’re starting out in an entry-level position. However, when you’re given a new project, it’s a great idea to involve collaborators. Teamwork is incredibly necessary for management. You’re constantly bouncing ideas back and forth between each other and you need to understand how to communicate with people to get things done.
Working well in a team also is impressive in the eyes of your boss. They’ll see that if you can already work well with others, this skill will translate to managerial duties. Skills required in collaborative projects transfer to management skills such as resolving conflict. If you can do this easily at your current role, it’ll make you a more viable candidate for promotion.
#3: Build up a healthy level of trust with your boss and coworkers.
All relationships require trust to function properly. Business is no different from personal relationships in that sense. Humans work best together when they can rely on each other. Understand that you’re not always going to agree with the way someone does things. But, trust that they have sound reasoning for why they’re doing it that way.
If you don’t trust your boss, it’ll show. The advice they give you now will help you in the future as you have to take charge. They also won’t give this advice without reason. Typically, when you receive knowledge from your boss, it means they trust you and have faith in your abilities.
When you trust your coworkers, they’re more likely to trust you after you get promoted. Right now, it’s easy to simply keep your eye on the prize. But, dynamics shift when that promotion comes. What’s the point if nobody takes you seriously as a leader? Make yourself a trustworthy asset to your company now and allow your leadership skills to thrive later.
#4: Learn from your boss.
Ask questions about the job you want. Firstly, this interest will look great when it comes time to fill the position. Making yourself seem interested in this job without being too much of an eager beaver will put you on that candidate’s list before it even opens up. Plus, your boss will definitely have the experience that you’ll need to learn from in the future.
One great benefit of being a millennial is that you carry a sense of impatience with you. This is derived from hunger for success. Knowing exactly what you want is a great place to start. But, learning from those are already there can get you there much quicker.
#5: Be resilient and open to the task.
During the job application process, a big question is often regarding your availability. In some careers, availability can make or break you. This is especially true in retail, in a more literal sense, as employees need to be able to work odd shifts during abnormal business hours. You may remember your high school or college job, where you had to “clopen.” This is a (now less common) practice where an employee that closes the establishment has to clock in the next morning and open it.
Keeping your scheduling availability open is great for promotions. But, what’s even better is keeping your mental availability open, as well. Your boss will remember who volunteered to do certain tasks. They’ll remember who had the energy to do the things your coworkers didn’t want to.
Additionally, the ability to overcome certain challenges with resilience is an important skill for a manager to have. Challenges at work are often unforeseen. A good leader will be able to work through them as a team and help those that are struggling. If you establish yourself as a reliable employee both on a surface and personal level, your boss will take note. Reliability is great for your professional brand.
#6: Ask for feedback.
Millennials love feedback at work. They’re pretty well-known for preferring frequent communication in regards to their performance versus a more traditional yearly review. You may have areas that need improvement that you’re aware of, but sometimes that goes unnoticed. Asking your boss for feedback on your performance now allows you to grow your skills more quickly.
Remember, your boss isn’t just going to tell you where you’re lacking at work. They’re going to also let you know what your strengths are. This is great in terms of promotions. Honing in on the strengths that you already have makes them more appealing when the time comes for promotion.
Asking for feedback is definitely a scary thing. While you want to improve, criticism can be a tough pill to swallow. In management, you’re going to receive a lot of unwarranted criticism. At this stage, you have more control. It’s smart to build up an appreciation for constructive criticism now as you climb the corporate ladder.
#7: Have a comprehensive understanding of your own goals, and how those correlate to your company’s goals.
Do you have a 5-year plan? Not everyone who wants to be promoted does. And, that’s fine! You don’t have to have a clearly detailed outline of how the next 5 years will look for you. But, you definitely should have a good idea of the bigger picture for you.
What defines success for you? Millennials typically have a broader vision of success that lies beyond monetary gain. They typically want to feel fulfilled in their careers and avoid becoming “trapped” in something less-than-ideal. The best way to find that fulfillment is to have very clear goals.
Many people like doing this with tools like vision boards. It’s a simple way to map out your bigger ideas. You can print out pictures on Pinterest or Google that capture the essence of what you want. Most importantly, write out a list of what you want for the future.
On your company’s side, double-check that their goals match up with yours. It doesn’t have to perfectly align. In fact, it almost never will. However, you have to at least be on the same page. Having an idea of your company’s goals will make it easier to fit yours into that picture in regards to getting a promotion.
#8: Become self-sufficient.
Autonomy is typically the norm for millennial employees. They’re pretty great at getting tasks done on their own. The same can be said about learning how to do your job independently.
Dedicate at least some time of your time outside of work learning how to do just that. Focus on the skills you need now. This will show your boss that you’re independent enough to be a leader. It will also make it much easier to lead a team if you have a comprehensive understanding of the roles they play from an insider’s perspective.
#9: Constantly challenge yourself.
Taking on new or more advanced tasks will impress your boss in ways that words couldn’t. When you push your own boundaries, you’re setting yourself up for something that’s all too common in leadership. Leaders frequently have to go outside of their comfort zone to guide their team to success.
Pushing your boundaries will also help you learn skills that you probably won’t realize you needed. Taking on these lofty projects may seem daunting at first, but in the end, it’ll help you in many ways. Think about the role you have now. When you wanted this one, skills you had at the position you were promoted from likely transferred over to the new one. Remember this as you move forward.
#10: Give your input, as you can, and do so respectfully.
Many younger employees wonder why they’re not getting chosen for promotions and their coworkers are. This is often because they’re not voicing their ideas and opinions as loudly as the others are. Now, shouting your ideas from the rooftops is definitely not the best approach. But, when you show interest in how things are running, your boss will be more willing to listen.
Giving your ideas and input will show your boss that you care beyond simply working for that company. Plus, a great way to prove that you’re a leader is to show signs of innovation early on. Bosses love creative ideas when they’re presented at the correct time and place.
A romantic comedy would present this scene with an eager beaver in the boardroom pitching a PowerPoint to the CEO. It’s great to have ideas and dreams that are this big! But, realistically, this will probably be far more subtle. Even catching your boss for a quick chat to discuss an idea you had will work wonders. They’ll be awfully impressed that you even had the nerve in the first place. Having the nerve is half the battle. It’s impossible to get promoted without it.
#11: Stay positive.
We’re using another cliche here. This one is almost a no-brainer. It’s all too easy to be a downer at work. Some days, it feels like you’re just going into work to go through the motions. You can’t give 110% all the time. But, showing a consistently positive attitude is important.
Spongebob Squarepants is a wonderfully funny, yet extremely helpful analogy for this scenario. He has a simple job and a simple life. But, his outlook on everything makes him an amazing performer at work. While he did have a hard time getting promoted, due to the company’s structure, he was a valued member of the team and won an absurd amount of Employee of the Month awards.
You don’t have to be as obnoxiously giddy as this beloved cartoon character was when you clock in for the day. Showing love for what you do is more than enough. It’s almost painfully easy to get discouraged when chasing a promotion. The process is long and tedious, even when it happens quicker than most. If you really want it, though, staying positive throughout this process is your best bet.
Getting promoted as quickly as possible may seem like the ultimate end goal. However, it’s important to really prepare yourself for the task at hand. These tips definitely speed up the process. But, they also set you up for long-term success.
As a millennial manager, you’ll have big shoes to fill! And, you’re still more or less the new kid in town. Establishing your dominance at the beginning of your career will make you a frontrunner in your field for the long haul.