Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

These are the 2 fastest ways to get promoted

2 things you can do to get ahead — without looking overly ambitious
2 things you can do to get ahead — without looking overly ambitious

Ready for that promotion you've been dreaming of?

"It's going to take work," says Suzy Welch, a best-selling management author and CNBC contributor, but it's certainly within reach.

Welch shares the two fastest ways to get promoted without appearing overly ambitious.

Dwight Schrute, fictional character on NBC's "The Office," spent years trying to get a promotion.
NBC Universal

1. Over-deliver

In school, turning in complete assignments on time was enough to succeed, but in the working world, that's the bare minimum.

"Getting promoted is not just about doing your job," Welch says. It's about over-delivering, which involves re-thinking the way you do your job.

If you consider your job an opportunity to go above and beyond, she says, then "you're not just going to do what's asked of you and what's expected of you. You're going to expand your job to help the company [and] help your team."

That might mean finding more efficient workflows to help your team get more done, spearheading a new project or technology, or becoming known as a subject matter expert who generously helps others get up to speed.

Author and business journalist Suzy Welch.

One caveat: "Don't mix up over-delivering with being wildly ambitious," Welch says. "That sort of stinks, and no one likes it."

Instead, do your best work with the group's well-being in mind. "Over-delivering is about making the team better, not just you," she says.

2. Don't use up your boss's political capital

"The second fastest way to get a promotion is more subtle," says Welch. "And it's this: Don't use up your boss's political capital."

Your boss has influence in the company and can sway others based on the trust and goodwill they've established. It's an invisible currency that, like most other resources, is finite.

And you don't want to be the one who depletes it.

"Don't let your boss spend time defending you, explaining for you, or covering for you," she says.

Perhaps surprisingly, this tends to be more of a problem for high-performing employees.

"When you're a high performer and you're heading up the ladder, sometimes you don't play well with others and you break glass," Welch says. "That's when your boss has to step in and clean up the mess."

"Just make sure that doesn't happen too often."

If you focus on making your boss's job better and easier, you'll be a shoe-in for that next big promotion.

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