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Stagnant at Work

Dear Alex,

I'm stagnant at work and don't know how to advance. I've done well in my position and now I
want to move out of the subordinate role and be seen more as a leader, and position myself for
career growth. What I'm stuck on is getting out of the role of "helper" since that's what I have
always done. Where do I start?

~ Helper Monkey

Dear Helper Monkey,

This is a prevalent question. I think sometimes we assume the role of the do-er rather than the leader to
fit in and be liked. It's a great way to receive praise and affirmation, as well as avoid conflict. Unfortunately
this do-er mentality becomes a detriment to our ability to be seen as a leader. Here are some ways to
make changes on your path towards leadership.

Practice Self-Awareness and Ask for Help – Have you ever been told you are too valuable in your current
role to be moved? Being overly busy or willing to take on more than you are able to complete is not a sign
of a great worker— it is a roadblock to future opportunities. Become aware of how you manage your time
and workload. If you've got too much on your plate, you are performing in a reactive mode, with no room
to think big or see beyond your giant task list. Bring a plan for streamlining to your manager, let them see
your time management skills and how you can solve higher level problems.

Coach Others – A great leader is one that empowers others, which often includes coaching others
and teaching new skill sets. One of my favorite ways to do this is to teach someone else your job. This
may sound counterintuitive, but if someone else knows how to do your work, it makes promoting you
to the next position easier for your employer. Letting go can feel uncomfortable, but there is power
in delegation. Open your time and mind to working in your strengths and producing more valuable
outputs that are unique to your skill set and way of thinking.

Speak Confidently, and Speak Up! – Time to remove "I'm sorry", "this might be silly but", and "I just
thought I would" from your vocabulary. Being more direct and confident when sharing will better
represent the value you bring to the table. Don't hold back when you have a new idea — even the
worst ideas can inspire something great! This is also the time to speak with your manager and let them
know your intentions. Review the organization structure and know where you want to grow. If there are
open positions within your organization, how can you apply? Be prepared, this process may require you
speaking to the next manager above yours.

Explore Your Options - You may want to look for a role outside your current company that is more closely
aligned with your future goals. To begin, practice interview skills and revamp your resume with the help
of a mentor or coach. When interviewing, relax and enjoy, and feel free to take the lead and guide the
conversation. Display your leadership skills and ask for more - more money, more responsibility, more
recognition and more of what you want. Negotiation is expected at higher levels in the hiring process. Do
not be afraid to ask for something that seems too big, you might be surprised with a positive counter offer,

and you will enjoy the opportunity to continue growing! 

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Tuesday, 06 December 2022