How to Become the Boss: 13 Lessons from Professionals in the Know

When you’re starting out in your career, you want to do things that will help you advance yourself, right? But what do you do? I know when I was fresh out of college and in the midst of my first few jobs, I wasn’t sure what to do aside from to show up on time, to do the work that needs to get done, and to not leave before my boss.

Turns out, there’s way more to it than that. I reached out to my network (and my network’s network) and asked for their best tips on moving up. In this slideshow, you’ll find advice from five people who used creativity, tenacity, and more to become THE BOSS. The one thing they all have in common: Good old fashioned elbow grease.


  • How to Become the Boss: 13 Lessons from People who Know 1 of 19
  • Stacia Stelk, Executive Director 2 of 19

    Stacia Stelk is the executive director of Ripple Glass in Kansas City, Missouri. Her organization brought glass recycling to her city after seeing the need.

    Click through to read Stacia's 4 tips.


    Image via Ripple Glass

  • 1. Be a leader whether you are the boss or not 3 of 19

    "Leadership skills are important in any team and every team member needs to have them. A leader identifies strategic priorities which helps the whole team succeed. And, when there is a lot of work to be done, chip in it doesn't matter if it's not your job description. Your teammates will appreciate your efforts, and your bosses will recognize your leadership."


    Image by phaewilk

  • 2. Manage your career like a business 4 of 19

    "Through a series of five jobs over ten years, I watched my husband carefully analyze professional opportunities before he'd accept an offer. As a non-profit professional, he assessed the organization's strategic plan, budget, and philanthropic as well and volunteer support. Change is hard; changing jobs is scary.  Do it carefully and thoughtfully, and you will have a series of successes to add to your resume.  Ultimately, you might end up in your dream job, just like my husband."


    Image by mconnors

  • 3. Share your time with causes you believe in 5 of 19

    "Of course this is networking! But, it's networking where you can show off your abilities and leadership.  People notice."


    Image by click

  • 4. Be in the right place at the right time 6 of 19

    "I got my job when I ran into the founder of Boulevard Brewing Company at our local Costco.  With a group of investors, he was getting ready to launch a new glass recycling company. I knew John from a past project, and he knew that I had some unique experiences to bring to the table. Four months later, I was hired as the Executive Director of Ripple Glass. Some things are meant to be."


    Image by ardelfin

  • Andrew Schrage, Co-Owner 7 of 19

    Andrew is the co-owner of a popular personal finance site, Money Crashers Personal Finance.

    Click through to read his tip.


    Image by cohdra

  • 5. Always perform at a high level 8 of 19

    "You become the boss by performing your job at an extremely high level on a consistent basis. Show up for work early. Get your projects and responsibilities completed with quality in mind and before any deadlines. Offer to take on new tasks. Work well with coworkers. Never complain. Pay attention during performance reviews and eagerly take on any feedback that is meant to make you become a better employee. Never get down if you are passed over for a promotion it will eventually come. There are plenty of ways to do it, but by performing at a high level each and every day, you will ultimately move up in the company ranks."


    Image by can131

  • Gloria Yorke, Director of Sales 9 of 19
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    Gloria is a freelance writer who spent over a decade in the hospitality industry.

    Click through to see Gloria's tip.


    Image via Gloria Yorke

  • 6. Think Outside the Box 10 of 19

    "Around 20 years ago, when I was given my first General Manager position of a full service hotel, the hotel had lost its contract business, and therefore the entire hotel was empty. It was like a ghost town. So, I decided to become extremely creative, and designed promotions to generate business for all the areas of the hotel. Word started to spread that there was always something happening at this hotel. After one year of turning the entire hotel into a profit-making venture, I was promoted to Corporate Director of Marketing over 12 hotels."


    Image by dhester

  • Amanda Abella, Life Coach 11 of 19

    Amanda Abella is a writer, speaker and life coach. She combines her recruiting background with life coaching and her business chops to help clients get clear on their life's work and how to pursue it. Find out more about her by visiting her website.

    Click through for Amanda's 4 tips.


    Image via Amanda Abella

  • 7. Step Up to The Plate 12 of 19
    How to Become the Boss: 10 Lessons from People who know what it takes

    "Encounter a problem at the office? Seems like there is going to be a meltdown? Co-worker out sick? Boss stuck at a doctor's appointment while a client is waiting? Step up to the plate and take on the extra responsibility. Become the hero! When I started working at my former job, one of the recruiters decided to quit and not tell anyone. I was the receptionist who ended up doing job interviews that day. I got a promotion and a raise."


    Image by phaewilk

  • 8. Find and Fix Problems 13 of 19

    "Are you noticing something strange on reports? Did you figure out a way to improve a company process, save some money, or make more of it? Don't keep it to yourself! Tell your manager!"


    Image by Alvimann

  • 9. Don’t Expect a Promotion 14 of 19

    "This is a heavy debate topic lately as millenials invade the workplace. The general consensus is that they assume they're going to move up to management pretty quickly and get upset when they realize that's not the case. You can step up to the plate and improve company problems, but don't do it based on the assumption that you will get promoted - it really peeves the higher ups if that's your motive. Instead, look at it from a mentality of serving. Managers will be looking at how you improve the company as a whole and can help out, not how you outshine everyone else. "


    Image by ManicMorFF

  • 10. Ask 15 of 19

    "This is especially relevant to women. No one taught us how to ask for more money or a promotion - yet it turns out we're pretty much wired for sales and persuasion. And let's face it, sometimes if you don't ask then it won't even be on someone's radar. If you really feel like you deserve a promotion and believe you can get it, ask for it! (It would help to bring proof of how you've been an asset to the company. You know, state your case. As well-meaning as managers may be, they've got a ton of stuff on their plates so help them see your point.)"


    Image by taylorschlades

  • Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Career Expert 16 of 19
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    Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career and business expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart®. Caroline specializes in people who want to make a change from one career to a new one; from employee to entrepreneur; from manager to executive. She's also a stand-up comic, so she's not your typical coach.

     Click through for Caroline's 3 tips.


    Image via Caroline Ceniza-Levine

  • 11. Raise your hand 17 of 19

    "Make sure you tell your current boss that you're interested in a promotion. Don't assume management knows you want to move up."


    Image by Alvimann

  • 12. Confirm the process 18 of 19

    "Your boss may be able to help you land a promotion, but others are probably decision-makers as well. Find out who you have to influence, and make sure they know who you are. Your boss may not be able to help at all, say, if your group is small and your promotion would mean a transfer elsewhere. In that case, you need to make sure people outside your immediate area know you, your work, and your interest."


    Image by krosseel

  • 13. Deserve the promotion 19 of 19

    "You need to have skills and expertise that make you promotion material. This means, you need to be doing a great job so you're seen as someone who is effective. But you also need to be great at the things that matter for the promotion. This also includes having executive presence communication skills, poise, polished appearance."


    Image by cohdra

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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