I’ll always had a great love for millennials (ie. anybody born from the early 80s to late 90s or who have reached adulthood by 2000.) I’m part of this innovative, forward-thinking, youth-on-our-side, entrepreneurial group, and I love sharing tips about career advancement, success and boss moves that I wish someone had shared with me in my younger years.
(#BossMoves Side Note: The term “millennial” is not one favored by our group, but I’m not part of that majority. Hey, I work in media and oftentimes, a usual part of the game is grouping markets into one term, thus I won’t pull teeth about it.)
Anywho, whatever you choose to call yourself, the foundational rules of success are still the same, and some habits we have in our 20s certainly can’t go with us into bigger and better boss moves. Here’s what I had to leave in my 20s in order to see success and advancement into my 30s:
The I-Can-Do-It-All-Alone Work Ethic: In college, though there were organizations and courses where teamwork was key, ultimately, my success hinged on tests, thesis and projects where I alone was responsible for completion, aptitude and excellence. When it came down to get that GPA, no one else’s name was on the report but mine.
That work ethic trickled into most of my 20s, where I focused a lot on just being an employee who was reliable—willing to work beyond my job duties and hours to gain more experience and eager to please.
It’s cool to run an independent race in your 20s to pay your dues and learn all you can, but the game changes when you reach higher levels in your career and gain more experience and responsibilities. It’s no longer about how great you are as an individual, but how you’re able to drive value as part of an organization or the greater good of a body of people. This becomes more and more apparent as you move into leadership positions where you’re tasked to influence others to reach goals and deliverables—and those deliverables become your success metrics.
#BossMoves Challenge: At work, start connecting with key stakeholders by inviting them for a 15-minute coffee break to chat about what motivates them and their boss moves success story. Try sharing interesting articles or information of interest with them via email or social media, or offering to partner with them on an initiative or project that will boost bottom lines or improve the way the company does business. (Don’t be too pushy in doing this. You don’t want to turn people off and you definitely don’t want to distract from the bottom line—doing what you’re hired to do at the best of your ability.)
You don’t have to start at the CEO. Oftentimes your own manager, a smart coworker or a manager of a different department who you work with often would be a good place to start. Boss moves are about doing things that are above average and have impact.
Writing Off People … For the Small Stuff: Ever have someone hurt your feelings or make you uncomfortable, and after one incident—or maybe even a series of small things—you just write them off forever?
From disagreements to misunderstandings to lapses in judgement to one side-eye too many, you may have been prompted to totally cut someone off, whether it was cutting ties altogether or totally dismissing the value they bring to the table based on that one snafu or those few small incidents.
- A misinterpreted email.
- A weird quirk.
- Less/Too aggressive style of leadership.
- A silly argument.
- A major disagreement.
Here’s why they won’t work if you’re trying to make boss moves: Some of the most successful people in the world have quirks, make mistakes and have unique styles of doing amazing things, and getting things accomplished with them may not always be convenient, easy or stress-free.
#BossMoves Challenge: Make benefit of the doubt and patience your best friends. Always think, before reacting: Is this something worth losing a relationship over? Are there long-term goals in terms of your success—and this person’s potential role in it—that will be negatively affected by your writing off this person?
It’s a sign of maturity and great leadership when you’re known as someone who can work through a conflict/disagreement/hot mess situation without losing a relationship or gaining an enemy. You won’t always get along with everyone—and sometimes you indeed have to totally cut ties with people—but learn to build discernment and emotional intelligence so that those times are few and far between.
The I-Need-a-Squad Mentality: In your 20s, it’s probably the norm to run in a pack. When making major moves or transitions, you may be more apt to need a great deal of support or a high-five/approval stamp from friends or family before taking action.
When it comes to making boss moves, you don’t need anyone to co-sign or ride with you. Sometimes you must take those first steps alone and worry about the “crew” support later. I’m not saying you shouldn’t collaborate, gain advisement or build traction first before fully launching a project, idea or business into action. I’m just saying that you don’t need the peanut-gallery of majority support and thumbs up to take that first step.
#BossMoves Challenge: Learn to build something on your own—independently—and get into the power of solitude. Attend an event by yourself, or have a working lunch alone at a chic restaurant or bar. Hey, you may even open up your network to a new contact simply by not being surrounded by your usual crew.
In your 20s, you have time to make mistakes and correct them. You also have time to build the strength to tackle your 30s with more confidence and tenacity. Take these steps to ensure you’re able to build solid, long-lasting relationships as well as challenge yourself to do greater things in the future.
I’m here to serve so let me know other issues, topics or questions you might have about making boss moves in your career and/or business in the comments section.