Career Advice

Follow The Leader: Tips For Career Advancement

We want to keep our jobs, advance in our career, we’re told to work hard, do our best and follow the leader, but is this really the best advice? Obviously it depends on the leader – we are best served if we pick a good one to tie our future to which is not as easy as we’d like.

There was a time, when business models allowed for companies to invest in comprehensive training programs for bright graduates right out of college. IBM, Xerox, EDS are great examples and the programs resulted in consistent leadership, philosophies and actions based on cultures that worked. These programs elicited a high degree of loyalty and pride, as program participants and graduates bragged about their accomplishments and the companies they worked for. But alas those days seem to be gone. The efficiencies of business models today don’t allow for that level of investment, companies rely on business school grads, executive coaching and internal training programs and all have their positives – they just don’t provide the consistency the programs of the past did and as a result you don’t always get the best leader to follow.

So what do you look for in a leader? Here’s a few attributes to consider, if your manager / leader has these then work hard, learn all you can and let them know clearly your desire to advance your career:

  • Focuses on goals that move the company forward
  • Desires measurement and accountability
  • Enjoys competition and winning
  • Is fair and honest at all times
  • Rewards for a job well done more than disciplines for the wrong outcomes

And if you are not interested in advancing your career then find the right leader to support, as they move or advance in or outside the company your opportunities can increase…as long as you’ve impressed enough to follow your leader.