Today, I spoke to Lynn Taylor, who is the author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ , a workplace expert, speaker and consultant. In this interview, Lynn talks about how to get a promotion right now, how to get ahead despite the economy, the important of staying relevant, connecting with coworkers on social networks and more.
What does it take to get a promotion at work right now?
Assuming your boss is not demanding the impossible, doing more than what is asked of you; volunteering for assignments that align your objectives with your boss’s; being a positive energy in the office; broadening your skills v. being narrow re: what you offer; brushing up on tech skills, e.g., software, how social media networking can help market your business; be visibly helpful v. hiding your light under a bushel and staying “under the radar.”
In summary, focus on doing your best work and making your boss’s job easier.
What is the most unique strategy you would recommend for current workers who are looking to get ahead in this economy?
You will only be successful in any economy if you follow your passion. Look at your professional life as a “career currency” so that all your efforts are measured toward Whatever move you make toward your passion in (recession or recovery) is akin to a fluid chart, not unlike the stock market. A great job interview, well handled meeting with a challenging co-worker, diffusing a difficult boss interaction, “smart networking” with social media or at targeted groups, or even *going where the jobs are, can increase your career currency. There are reports than many jobs are going unfilled right now. Match your passion to those jobs rather than wait in the unemployment line or struggle in a narrow area of what you know. What you know may not be what you really love.
Should someone keep tabs on current trends in their industry? Why or why not?
Absolutely. That helps add value to your boss, in your ability to perform your job, and enhances your marketability in job interviews, b/c you can speak more intelligently in that venue and ask better questions. In an existing job, you are in a much better position to problem solve if you are aware of best practices and trends in your industry through Googling, social networking, industry websites, and so on.
The old adage, honesty is the best policy is time honored because anything else will eventually create mistrust and a tangled web. Transparency will also help role model that to others, including your boss. In Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT), one of the 20 bad or childish traits outlined is “Lying.” As in other chapters, I recommend that the employee (and employer) look for opportunities to role model good behavior, such as open, frequent and honest communications.
I recommend the acronym CALM: Communication (on that basis); Anticipate (problems but have solutions); Laugh (humor is the great diffuser of tension, which bonds); and Manage up (set expectations, be a proactive problem solver, but set limits to bad behavior, reinforcing the positive and discouraging the negative, as you would with a small child, or “tot.”)
How important is it to be connected to your colleagues through social networks?
Critical. We cannot go backwards to brochures and luncheons for our sole networking sources. A tweet to 500 in 10 seconds if often more efficient in combination with face to face meetings, than solely relying on pressing the flesh and collecting a few business cards that are not followed up on. Social media is almost instant, efficient, and if kept professional at work, worth it’s weight in gold.
Do you believe that growing your brand outside of your company can help you inside?
As long as you’re not taking away time from your main focus: your job or engaged in a conflict of interest. The two should be synergistic: for example, you can build your brand as an expert in social media, b/c that’s what you do for a large firm. You speak about it at large marketing conferences, and your brand is also the company’s brand. Should you ever leave the company, your brand is still partially intact – because of your own delivery and intellect. You cannot take the intellectual property of an employer with you, but you can certainly take your intellectual creativity and individual brand that you brought to the company.
Lynn Taylor has developed her insights on successfully dealing with difficult bosses into the Terrible Office Tyrant (TOT) series, which includes the book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT). Her 20 years of workplace expertise is rooted in her own corporate experience, and in her past work with global employment firms, Robert Half International (RHI) and Adecco. As Vice President of Research at RHI, she was a major contributor to Job Hunting For Dummies, Motivating Employees For Dummies, Fast Forward MBA in Hiring, Human Resources Kit For Dummies, and Managing Your Career For Dummies. Lynn has been quoted extensively in hundreds of media outlets, including Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, USA Today, The New York Times, Fortune, and Glamour. The CEO of Lynn Taylor Consulting, Lynn has developed the Tame Your TOT™ concept and franchise through extensive research studies.