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Over a decade ago, a friend revealed to me a question that helps you determine whether you’re in the right profession. “Do you want your boss’ job?” According to him, if the answer is no then it means you’re not on your true path and this is evidenced by your not wanting to grow in that path.

Over the years this question has proved helpful to me. Have you thought things through and decided that you do want the top job? Here are 7 tips to guide you:


  1. Get a mentor: The word “mentor”, means “a wise advisor”, usually someone who has successfully walked the path you now tread and attained the goal you seek. By guiding your behaviour and decision making, and supervising your learning experience, your mentor will not only help you grow but also help you avoid mistakes and dodge potholes in your path.


  1. Create a map: When you know where exactly you’re going, you can sit down, first with your mentor, and then with your manager, and discuss the steps you need to take to get there. Armed with this career map, you will eliminate unnecessary time wasters and distractions, and be able to focus only on the things that bring you closer to your goal.


  1. Learn how to toot your own horn appropriately: You already know boasting and bragging make people look silly. Yet, if you’re silent about your achievements, assuming that the boss already knows, you slow down your progress. The proper way to showcase your results and indicate how your performance has improved productivity is to prepare adequately for your appraisal. Appraisal time is one time when it’s perfectly okay to let your superiors see and understand how valuable you are.


  1. Continually improve: Complacency is the death of any career. You must never stop learning and striving to improve yourself. Apart from getting qualifications and certifications, you need to identify and cultivate skills that will make you stand out in the midst of your colleagues. Learning doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a classroom; there are books you can read and projects you can volunteer for that will teach you some new skills and help you upgrade existing ones.


  1. Become a favourite: Just like you had people in secondary school who turned up their noses at model students, and people in the university who reminded you that nobody was here for first position, there are also many in the office who do not see any reason to maintain high standards and consistently perform well. What are you trying to do, Miss Goody Two Shoes? Become the boss’ favourite? Actually, you’re aiming to take over from the boss when the opportunity presents itself, but you don’t owe them that explanation. Bring your A-game every time. Take on work that nobody else wants to do. Go the extra mile and add value. Employees like this can never be ignored. Nobody is indispensable, they say, but you want to be as close to that as possible.


  1. Upgrade your wardrobe: You must learn to dress for where you’re going, not where you are. By looking the part, you show that you know understand excellence and you know what it takes to hold the position you aim for.

Have you reached the top, or are you getting ever closer? Do share tips that have helped you in the comments below.


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This article was first published on 16th August 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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