I know that times today are strange and uncertain. Things we once took for granted now seem taboo. The idea of setting, let alone achieving career-oriented goals may seem far-fetched. However, the world hasn’t stopped turning and while business (and employee engagement) may look different, it’s still moving and progressing. Don’t let your career aspirations fall to the wayside because operations have changed. Strong employees and leadership have an outstanding chance to shine when things seem uncertain.
Focus on Things You Can Control
Your skills and experiences are things that are in your zone of control and should be utilized to help propel the company forward. Applying useful talents to new, evolving situations gives you a chance to highlight your strengths. Especially when management will be looking for strong leadership. Lean on what you excel at and craft new ideas, methods, and procedures. This will allow you to employ those skills to the best of your ability.
Similarly, don’t try and control and structure things that are in flux and uncontrollable. You’ll not only drive yourself (and possibly your boss) crazy, you’ll waste valuable time and resources that could be better spent someplace else on a task that will drive the company forward. Really it’s all about leaning into your zone of genius and using it to be the most useful you can be during a time when the company will likely appreciate it the most.
Don’t Become Complacent
Depending on your workplace, you may be working remotely or on a different schedule than before. More businesses than ever are offering flexible working conditions but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be as focused on your work as if you were in the office. Even if you’re working in the office, it can still be easy to become distracted by all of the changes. Not to mention lose sight of the goals the company has set. For some, doing the bare minimum will suffice. With all of the chaos, some may not prioritize work or may become very distracted with everything else that’s occurring.
If you’re serious about moving up you cannot let this slow you down. You cannot be OK with doing the bare minimum. Put your skills to use, listen to what’s needed, and make a plan. You want to be regarded as a vital part of the company and you can’t do that by coasting and merely completing the minimum of what’s expected of you.
Be a Leader and a Problem Solver
When times get tough there is usually always an opportunity for strong leaders to emerge. You need to seize these opportunities when they present themselves so you can demonstrate how useful and versatile you are. Those who step up when it’s needed the most come to mind easily when it’s time to move people up the corporate ladder. Stepping into a leadership role allows you to put your skillset on display and show you can not only handle the work but also the pressure that goes along with doing business in unpredictable periods.
Be the best leader you can by asking management what the most crucial tasks to focus on are and make it your missions to ensure that those things are taken care of. You don’t want to waste time on menial tasks so getting clear on priorities is essential if you want to make a lasting impression. You want to be seen as an indispensable part of the company, and working on crucial tasks is a way to stay on everyone’s radar and make yourself stand out.
Now is not the time to ease up on your career goals.
It might not be full steam ahead, but we’re also not out for a Sunday drive. Uncertainty breeds leaders. Find opportunities to step up and excel and it won’t go unnoticed. This is the perfect time to speak up, lend an extra hand, and show how dedicated and skilled you truly are. You need to look for opportunities and be vocal about rising to the challenge. Essentially you want to be as useful as possible which will highlight your skills and strengths. You can still climb the corporate ladder, it just may have a few wobbly rungs to conquer first.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.