The end of the year is fast approaching. This is a time when many companies conduct performance reviews and make plans for leadership positions. This creates a great opportunity for you to position yourself for advancement in the New Year. Here are tips for acing year-end reviews and setting yourself up for success in 2015.
1. List Accomplishments and Offer Solutions
Year-end meetings are a great opportunity to discuss your future as a leader with your manager. It is a time of reflection and thinking about the future. By being proactive about setting up meetings with your manager and seeking out opportunities for training and professional development, you demonstrate your ability to lead and desire for growth. Part of being a leader is being able to make a case for yourself and your professional future. Don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments. Remember to bring solutions to the meeting, not just questions or problems. For example, if you are having a difficult time communicating with an employee who works remotely, you can suggest a solution of weekly phone calls or frequent videoconferencing.
2. Highlight All Your Leadership Experience
Recent research shows Gen Y is already leading. The Hartford’s 2014 Millennial Leadership Survey found 83 percent of Millennials consider themselves to be a leader today, primarily in their personal lives and 73 percent aspire to be leaders in the next five years. The workplace is the top area where Millennials strive to lead. Consider personal leadership as a great training ground for professional leadership. Being a mentor or leading a community group is great experience that transfers over into your professional life. Just be sure to communicate about the experience in your interviews, cover letter, social media profiles, and resume in professional terms. For example, you can talk about how you’ve learned to manage people, communicate effectively, and create solutions.
3. Become a Member
Networking, both inside and outside the office, is important if you want to lead in the workplace. A great way to network outside of work is to join a professional association and connect socially with other Millennial professionals.
4. Be Consistent Online and IRL
Protect your professional reputation. Make sure the facts on your resume match up with the facts you post on social media sites, such as LinkedIn. Consistency equals reliability, which is a trait you want to have as part of your personal brand.
5. Find A Mentor – Or Two or Three
One way to start the year off right is to bring a new initiative to your company and own it. For example, present the idea of implementing a reverse-mentoring program in which older and younger employees share best practices and offer to launch and lead the program.
6. Protect Your Leadership Potential
Don’t forget to protect the progress that you’ve made in your leadership, including your growing paycheck. Make sure to take advantage of the benefits offered by your employer, such as disability insurance, which provides an income if you are unable to work due to an off-the-job injury or illness. Benefits are part of your overall compensation. In your year-end meetings with your manager, you can talk about a bonus, promotion and even benefits that achieve your leadership goals, such as educational reimbursement or flexible schedule. When you discuss these options with your boss, be sure to highlight how they also help the company move forward with its strategies and goals.
7. Set Goals and Track Your Progress
My last tip is setting specific goals with your manager for what you’d like to achieve in the first quarter or half of the year. Then set regular check-ins to track your progress against these goals.
With these tips, I hope you can finish 2014 strong and get a jump-start on leading in the New Year.