Breathes there a manager who hasn’t asked, at one time or another, “What do they want from me?”
It depends, of course. If you do your job effectively, get results, come up with some good ideas now and then and are generally dependable, you will inch your way up the ladder.
But if you are interested in making some upward leaps by standing out from the crowd, the answer is more complicated. People who earn the “winner” label tend to have these characteristics.
“- Dedication. Plain, sheer devotion to the job.
“- Competitiveness. They can’t stand to lose. They’re interested only in winning. They constantly evaluate themselves against the competition and always strive to do better.
“-Realism. Winners’ feet are planted firmly on the ground.
“- Honesty. They’re aware of their limitations, where they must improve, what they must learn. If they say, “Okay, I didn’t do too well that time, but I learned a lesson and I’ll do better next time around,” then they’re honest with themselves.
“- Maturity. They know that their futures rest on what happens to other people. They respect differences of opinion. They don’t meddle in office politics and they refuse to manipulate people. They’re patient. They don’t expect the first solution that presents itself. They bounce back when hurt.
Finally, an employee with real potential is able to handle multiple pressures. The president of a large New York firm puts it this way: “Anyone can do a good job if given one problem at a time and all the time needed to solve it. But when I see someone unwilling to pay attention to anything else until one little problem is solved, I worry. That kind of person never knows there’s a fire next door until the whole company burns down.”