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How to Finally Be the Boss This 2020

Got an eye on a corner office someday? Here are tips from an HR expert and a leadership speaker on how to level up at work.
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After the holidays, it’s time to go back to the office grind. With that “New Year, New Me” mantra that’s been going around on your always-optimistic friend’s social media feed, as you slog it through traffic to get to your designated slot in the open office space, you wonder if 2020 will bring big changes in your life, such as a promotion, (and corresponding pay raise), maybe?

It’s about time too, as you feel like you’ve been carrying most of the workload in your office and taking the lead at the office projects. With a few new vacancies in the office at the start of the year, it is a matter of making your boss notice your specific set of skills that give you an edge over the competition (we’re looking at you and your constant undertime excuses, watercooler Larry). 

To give you a boss-level boost, we asked Riza Lara Reyes, vice president of human resources and customer care of a major real estate company for tips on how to get noticed by the bosses for a promotion. 

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1| Have the right attitude. 

“When I was a rank-and-file employee, I did not see work as a load.  I saw it as an investment. All workloads given to you is an opportunity to discover oneself and improve your craft.  It can be a discovery to identify your strengths and capitalize on them while working on improving in the areas that are your weaknesses,” Reyes says. 

Photo by UNSPLASH.
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2| Be a team player.

Reyes adds: “Don't be content with what you can give.  Think of how you can help. Help means not only focusing on you but working with your colleagues.  Always look at the bigger picture and see how you can paint this picture to an excellent portrait. Department Heads or HR check not only your leadership skills but also your people skills.”

3| Build meaningful relationships.

“As they say in Filipino, bilog ang mundo. There will be a time in your life that you will meet colleagues and officemates from the past.  When that happens, I hope you will not make a U-turn to avoid them because you have done something that made them hate you,” she laughs. “In the corporate world, your network is as important as good relationships with your lead and officemates.  So when HR makes a background check on you for the dream job that you are applying for, you can confidently say it's in the bag.”

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4| Listen, segregate, and share.

She gives tips on how to handle yourself in a meeting, which is essentially face time with the boss. “When you are attending a meeting, keep an open mind.  It's not all about you. Listen to the opinions of others, assess which ones are productive and not, then share your ideas and opinions. In order to do this, you have to do your homework. Come prepared to discuss your proposals with the team.”

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5| Copy and paste.

“In your office, identify the person whom you think is an effective leader. Copy how he/she does things and mold yourself towards the same image while still infusing your own personality,” Reyes says.

6| Grab opportunities.

Reyes, who has been in corporate work for 25 years says that hiding in your cubicle and hoping that you will be noticed will get you nowhere.  “Be proactive. If you see an opportunity, grab it, go for it! If the opportunity rejects you, then there's one that is really for you. Assess why it wasn't given to you or better, ask your department head or HR why it was not opened to you, so you would know what areas you can improve on.  This is also a good way to leave a mark to your boss and he will keep you in mind if anything new comes up.”

7| Read, study and learn.

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“Invest in yourself again. Find time to read books and maybe enroll in some classes that will help you learn valuable new skills in the workplace.  You don't know when you will need it.”

Photo by UNSPLASH.

8| Join company events.

Another way to make an impression on the bosses is to be active in company events such as outreach programs or socials. You will have some more opportunities to interact with them outside of the usual office setting, she says.   

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9| Create and innovate.

Reyes advises being a standout. “Aside from keeping the right attitude, you should be different from the rest.  Think outside the box and try to be different from your other officemates. The reality is, workplace competition is very tough. You have to be different in a good way, so you can present yourself as leadership material rather than a follower.”  

Additional tips come courtesy of Jonathan Yabut, Apprentice Asia winner and leadership motivational speaker and author. He says that constant communication with your boss to update on your progress and joining interdepartmental projects offers you more visibility to higher-ups.  For him, another important aspect is to dress for success. “There are offices, such as BPOs that allow for more casual outfits while at work, but if you really want to move up the corporate ladder, you also have to look the part. A polished image makes you look more confident and reliable.” 

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