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how to work smart

How to Work Smart to Bag Your Next Promotion


Are you aspiring to climb the career ladder? If so, you must ask yourself how to work smart.


The matter is that getting promoted is a complicated affair. It won't be enough to have the right degree and work hard. What is important is to work smart. Unfortunately, most don't understand the difference between the two.


Hard workers measure themselves by how many tasks they have completed, how much time they have spent and how hard it was. They are particularly proud if they did all of it by themselves.


People who work smart know that only the result counts which requires that the right tasks were delivered most efficiently by the right people at the right time.


I used to be on the hard worker team, and I felt offended by others not recognizing the effort I had put in. Now I know better because once I had understood the concept of working smart, it took me around a year to bag the promotion to people manager. I am still refining this understanding, but nowadays I even make a point of not being the person who worked the hardest.


I want you to make this leap as soon as possible. Therefore, this post is all about how to work smart.

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How to Work Smarter Not Harder to Be Recognized as Promotion Potential

how to work smarter not harder


1. Look for Common Themes in Your Organisation – Who Gets Promoted

The concept of working smart to achieve a promotion is universal. Nonetheless, every organization will have its own culture and unwritten rules. You need to understand these to progress.


This will take time but must be done. Unfortunately, there normally is no manual for that and most employees of your organization won’t understand this. Therefore, you need to sharpen your observation skills. Things to understand in your organization are:

  • How is the reporting structure organized?
  • Who influences the company?
  • What characteristics do people have who are promoted in your organization?


A good understanding of this will help you to plan and use your time and efforts wisely by focusing on the right things to do.


2. Be Efficient – Pick Tasks for Maximum Impact

There are always many things to do. However, part of working smart is to think hard about what the right tasks are to complete. Not everything you are asked needs to be done and not everything needs to be done by you.


However, you need to do tasks that you are responsible for with care and the right timing. To be efficient consider the following things:

  • Prioritise tasks by looking at your targets, your boss’s targets, and your department’s targets.
  • Delegate and/or decline tasks that do not belong to your sphere of responsibility and accountability to the correct task owner.
  • Think about milestones and critical paths in your work to plan time and resources accordingly and deliver your tasks on time.


3. Speak Up – Get Noticed for the Right Reasons

It is not just important to do a good job. To get ahead, good work must be recognized by the right people. This includes your team and teams you collaborate with, but most importantly your management.


Only your management can get you promoted. And they will look for people who understand your field of work, are great professionals and communicators and support the goals of their department and management.


Get in the habit of speaking up in technical and management meetings with information that does the following: is clear and relevant to the discussion, informs expertly milestones and key decisions, and supports your boss’s, department’s, and organization’s goals.

International Association of Women membership
Free work interview preparation for first time manager questions
Career with a View networking event

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