Advancing your career and taking on new challenges can be challenging and rewarding. If you want to be considered for that new promotion in long-term care, plan your development in the following areas now to be ready to fill an open position in your organization.
- Understand the bottom line and be able to interpret how decisions impact it. Moving up in an organization requires an understanding of how the business side operates. Practice decisiveness in your current role and develop confidence in your decisions. Successful leaders are responsible for providing direction, and you’ll be best prepared to do that when you project assuredness.
- Be self-sufficient in your daily tasks. Leaders develop confidence in workers who can handle themselves with little need for guidance. Ask questions when you need to, but when bringing up concerns, be sure to come armed with solutions. Not only will this establish you as capable, your peers will also begin to see you as a knowledgeable resource.
- Outperform and exceed expectations as often as possible. Be a team player and the first to raise your hand when extra projects arise to get noticed as a “go-getter.” For organizations to flourish, leaders need reliable employees to take on delegated tasks and projects. Not coincidentally, those are the employees most likely to be recognized for promotions.
- Cultivate trusting relationships. Advancement usually means taking on responsibility for people and it is impossible to produce winning results without a productive team behind you. To build a strong team, you’ll need to get along with others, even those you don’t work with directly, be approachable, and network to gain trust from others. Coming into a leadership role with a proven history of positive relationships will set you up for success in your current and new position.
- Communicate effectively up, down and across the organization. Make communication a priority in your professional development by taking classes or working with a coach. Expand your abilities in one-on-one conversations, group presentations and facilitation, interacting with upper-level management, active listening, and positive body language.
- Diffuse sticky situations effectively. As a new leader, you are bound to deal with issues. Whether it’s dealing with patients and their families, direct reports, peers, or leadership, you will be well-prepared to handle sensitive situations and have tough conversations if needed, if you know how to improve dialogue and change behavior through communication.
- Be a positive influencer by going beyond a positive attitude. While that is a start to reducing the potential toxicity that some work environments foster, employees who can induce others to maintain an optimistic and constructive attitude are indispensable.
If you are a unit manager looking to become a director of nursing or sales and marketing director wanting to move into a regional role, be sure you are making your career aspirations known so you are ready when the opportunity presents itself.
Kendra Nicastro is the director of business development for LeaderStat, an interim leadership, executive recruiting and healthcare consulting firm.