That’s right, growth doesn’t always happen through upward movement. In fact, I haven’t added so much as a centimeter to my height since I was in 8th grade but yet, I know I’ve grown plenty. To grow, sometimes you have to move laterally or maybe even downwards. Sometimes, you also have to standstill for a while because there’s more to learn where you are.
I’ve seen Directors move back to a staff-level position before becoming VPs of large organizations. It’s not always about the title or hierarchy; sometimes, a job or department or even an organization just is not a good fit and that’s okay. Moving to a lower position in a department or organization that allows for more growth is better than staying at a higher position where there is no growth or learning.
So, how do you grow at a lower position? Growth is about learning, grasping new opportunities and finding ways to improve yourself. When it comes to career growth, here are three tips I’ve learned from experience:
- Get yourself a mentor. Find someone who can guide you in the right direction. Having a mentor in your organization can truly be one of the best things for your career. Your mentor does not have to be your boss or even someone from your department, for that matter. For me, I was able to find my mentor in a VP that I rarely work with directly but has grown herself in a way that I admire. Plus she’s willing to put in the time and effort to help and advise me, and that’s the first characteristic of a great mentor.
- Develop a “can-do” attitude. Attitude goes a long way these days. It doesn’t matter what industry, job or organization you work in, the workplace is becoming a busier place everyday. Technology and society have made it possible to do more with less and people are becoming better at multitasking. If you’re the one with the “I’m too busy to do that” or “that’s beneath me” attitude, you’ll get left behind. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes for the team, no matter how big or how small, you will build stronger relationships that will help you grow your career.
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things. Don’t just stay in a job because you know how to do it. If you’re not being challenged, you’re probably not in a job that is going to help advance your career. If you’re looking for new job opportunities, don’t just look for ones that are directly aligned with your experiences or your degree. If there’s a great opportunity to learn something different, whether it’s a whole new job or just a new project/assignment, take it and diversify your skills. Trying new things, gaining different skills and taking every opportunity to learn will help you build your value proposition.
If you’re scared of doing any of the things listed, ask for guidance. If you don’t have someone to ask, go online. For example, LinkedIn Groups and Twitter chats are great places to connect with fellow professionals that are ready and willing to give you great advice on how to learn and grow.
If you have any tips to add or any questions, please post them in the comments section below. I always enjoy hearing from my readers!