After the stagnancy wrought by the #pandemic, it will be refreshing to get back to growing your #career and striving for your next big thing. #Ambition will be fuel for your success and the timing is good because companies are hiring.
New research from Monster finds 82% of employers plan on hiring in 2021, including 37% who plan to re-hire and backfill jobs and 35% who plan on hiring for net new jobs. People are ready: 50% of workers set entirely new career goals for 2021, and 48% put looking for a new job at the top of their to-do list in 2021. In addition, 23% of workers will be seeking to learn new skills and improve existing skills.
The take-away message: Employers are hiring, but you’ll have some competition to get that promotion or new job.
Tapping into your ambition will be important to recharge, renew and advance your career. But you will need to be cautious as well, because while most Americans agree ambition is good thing generally, they also say they feel hostile toward ambitious coworkers. Some will even actively try to undermine an ambitious colleague.
Here’s what you need to know, and how to get ahead without falling behind.
What You Need To Know About Ambition
Ambition isn’t a dirty word. It’s not bad to be ambitious and in fact, it is part of the human condition to feel we matter and are valued by the community. Research by the University of California Berkeley found status is fundamental. People want to feel valued and respected and want others to show them some deference.
It’s the “how” that counts. Talk to any #HR leader and they will tell you the majority of terminations aren’t due to what people did, but how they did it. In short, your actions count, but how you come across and how you treat people through your actions matter significantly as well.
- For example, in one study, when leaders were arrogant, they saw declines in their team members’ performance, self-esteem and morale. True story: I worked with a highly successful—and conservative—financial firm years ago. They had a word cloud in all their break areas which demonstrated their culture and the kinds of people and behaviors they valued. In addition to expecting people to perform with excellence, serve customers and respect others, one of the larger phrases was, “no a**holes.” Their significant success speaks to the way that value was working for them.
- In addition, disagreeableness—defined as being quarrelsome, cold, callous, deceitful, manipulative or selfish—tended to get in the way of healthy networks and strong relationships. Another study found it is inaccurate that “nice guys [people] finish last” and those who were disagreeable didn’t, in fact, get ahead.
- And cooperation helped #leaders succeed. Another study found when people cooperate, they tend to rise to positions of leadership.
How To Get AheadSo how should you strive for success without stepping on people? How can you rise without riding over others? Here are the positive strategies which leverage ambition without compromising integrity or ideals:Focus on development. In a new survey conducted by ResumeLab, respondents defined ambition as a desire for achievements and distinction as well as a desire to grow. They also characterized ambition as a need for power or to be better than others. This is instructive: In terms of your own ambition, focus on your own growth and development, rather than on getting ahead of others. Framing success as a zero-sum game in which there can be only one winner, will potentially result in the deterioration of relationships or trust. So, avoid fixating on how you can get ahead of others and instead make plans for how you can stretch and succeed without pulling others down. Even if there can be only one person who gets the #job, ensure you’re not hurting other people as you strive to achieve the position or promotion.Focus on how you can be a resource. The study also found there are advantages to ambition. Specifically, when people are ambitious, they tend to produce greater output which benefits their teams and the company. They can also be the source of inspiration for others. Put this insight to use by focusing on doing your best on the project or making a positive impact for your company. Make your efforts less about you and more about how you contribute to the greater organization.Build trusting relationships. One of the challenges the study revealed, is the extent to which team members have negative feelings toward ambitious coworkers. 46% of people said they’d felt hostility toward others who demonstrated ambitious behavior and 29% had refused to help a colleague, hence undermining them. To avoid negative reactions from coworkers, invest time in #relationships, demonstrate empathy and build trust by being transparent and open. Strong bonds between teammates will contribute to an atmosphere where everyone can succeed and where team members are building each other up, rather than tearing each other down.Foster a great relationship with your #boss. In the ResumeLab study, fully 74% of respondents believe they deserve a promotion (that’s a lot of us waiting for a nod). The biggest barrier to getting it, according to respondents, was their manager. Your leader matters to your career growth—a lot. So, build rapport with your #boss by keeping them in the loop, communicating your successes (in a humble way), asking for coaching and sharing your career aspirations so they can help you get there.Be a #teamplayer. Perhaps most important to getting ahead is helping other people. You’ll want to do this for all the right reasons—because you care and because you are a good member of your community—but doing the right thing for others is also good for you. When people trust you and care about you, they want to see you succeed, and they’ll help you do just that.Ambition isn’t a negative thing, but bad behavior is. Take advantage of the hiring that companies will be doing, and embrace your ambition in order to come out of the #pandemic strong—pursuing terrific #career growth. Just do so with integrity and concern for others—so you can succeed not just in terms of your role or your pay, but also in terms of your relationships and your #network.
www.forbes.com – January 21, 2021
Tracy Brower Contributor