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5 Career development habits to get you promoted at work

Do your career plans include a promotion at work? Here are 5 career development habits to enhance your career path and earn a promotion.

After reviving Manchester United Football Club from a terrible start to the 2018-19 football season, caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s tenacity and vision for the club quickly earned him a promotion to full-time manager just three months later.

The former striker’s career development was fast-tracked when he managed to win his first eight games with an overall record of 14 victories and two draws in 19 games, earning the club more Premier League points than any other during a short period.

Landing a coveted promotion a few months into your career may not be that far out of reach. Take a leaf from Solskjær’s playbook to earn the promotion you deserve in 2020.

What should I do to get promoted at work?

1. State your goals

Before his promotion was finalised, Solskjær was already planning for the 2019-20 football season, according to Bleacher Report. By stating his aspirations and plans for the future, he was quickly able to cement where he saw himself in the short term – and you can do the same.

Fast Company suggests outlining your career development plan that includes short-term (three- to six-month), medium-term (six months to a year or more) and long-term (five- to 10-years) goals or even mapping these out quarterly. Don’t forget to review your accomplishments and promotion requirements after each stretch.

2. Stay connected

We all know networking is crucial to business and career development but it’s not just external networking that can provide you with an edge. Getting to know the people within your organisation will also provide you with a network of support for now and the future, says Glassdoor. Before taking over the reins as caretaker manager for one of the most well-known football clubs in the world, Solskjær played for United and managed its reserve team. As the caretaker manager, he also worked closely with other coaches and staff, which cemented his internal support system. Building your network should be a constant and well considered strategy throughout your career.

3. Offer - and accept - guidance

Offering career advice is one way to help your colleagues but we’ll do you one better: Consider becoming a mentor to junior team members or proactively approach other teams to help out when and if you can, suggests Vault.

It’s no secret that former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is Solskjær’s mentor and, in turn, that he mentors others within the club, including players on his team. Which is why mentoring junior staff has a three-fold benefit: You’ll be helping others advance their careers, you’ll have advocates in your corner and you’ll learn a lot from your younger colleagues to help your own career development.

4. Practice self-promotion

The workplace is no space for the #humblebrag. Women specifically often hesitate to self-promote but this can lead your accomplishments to become invisible, especially as companies become larger, says Career Contessa.

As the club manager, Solskjær often has to speak to the press and, while he mostly refers to himself and his team as a “we”, he doesn’t hold back from talking about what he’s accomplished either, which has propelled his career development.

The same goes for your own accomplishments: Always remember to praise your teammates for their efforts and contributions but don’t skip over your own – rather, make sure you highlight when you’ve gone above and beyond the requirements and expectations of your job.

5. Make your intentions clear

Sometimes, just doing an amazing job isn’t enough; you need to express what you want too.

You may have had your eye on that promotion for a while but management might not know you want it or hasn’t pinpointed you as a candidate because you’re in a different department or haven’t shown interest, advises The Muse.

Before becoming the full-time manager at Manchester United, Solskjær made it clear he was gunning for the top spot, hinting at it in press interviews and even reiterating it after he got the job. Next time you see a position you think you’d be a great fit for, have a chat with your manager to make it clear that’s where you see your career development taking you. After the above has been mastered and you’ve landed that promotion, let the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development (USB-ED) help you transition into your new role with our Management Development Programme which will take your new role to great heights.

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