4 Tips to Take Away Your Boss’ Job (and Win the Chair Race)

There once was a new entry-level staff member, fresh out of college, who had just joined a brokerage firm. He was a burly, former Division I college football player, ever-confident, regardless of the field of play on which he engaged.

On his first day on the job, the new staff member’s boss caught him staring into the boss’ office, notably at the desk chair.

“What are you staring at?” the boss wryly inquired of the young rookie.

“I was just wondering what it’s going to be like to sit in your chair when I take your job someday,” responded the young man.

One might find this act by a staff member on his very first day on the job to be brazen, offensive, clearly an act of insubordination. On the other hand, you might agree that it is too bad more people do not have this rookie’s spirit and ambition. In fact, when I train young professionals, I ask them why they wouldn’t eye my desk with a competitive flair, or eye the desk of their boss or their bosses’ boss with anxious ambition.

It should be the goal of every professional to advance in one fashion or another, and to take personal ownership of that growth plan. Your commitment level and your contribution to the growth of your organization will determine the pace at which you can fill the next chair upward at your workplace more than any other factor.

Regardless of the size organization in which you operate, if you are truly committed to your own success, you will be committed to the success of your organization, because the two paths should be parallel and in sync at all times.

Especially at a time in our economy when most jobs are less than secure, there are still ways to excel professionally that will enable you to win the chair race in your organization, and propel your business and your career quickly.

  1. Attack to grow
    Attack each day with a singular focus to grow, expand in your responsibilities, and embrace the business mission of your organization as if you own it.
  2. Take risks by making key decisions daily
    The only kind of decision that anyone in my organization is penalized for making is indecision. If you fear making a mistake, you will never make a decision and grow. Making decisions and communicating vigilantly so others understand your reasoning will keep the trains running on time and demonstrate your leadership abilities.
  3. Take Ownership
    Step out of your comfort zone and command new responsibilities, even ones outside of your immediate job description. You will become known as the go-to guy or girl because people will know you are not unwilling to take on more responsibility to help the organization grow faster.
  4. Show no limits
    The principals of most organizations had to work very hard to launch their businesses and grow them. If you demonstrate to the leadership in your organization that you have no limits – you never check the clock, you invest personal time at will to advance the organization’s goals – they will value you more as a strategic partner. While no one should intentionally burn out at their job, applying a regular campaign mode to your business operations demonstrates a commitment that will eventually be rewarded with greater responsibilities and compensation.

Photo credit: ProActive Communications

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