Research indicates that women leaders continue to be underrepresented in the arena of senior management. Even more so, for women leaders of color.

Today, I want to discuss some practical ways to help you navigate the politics of the workplace, and achieve your ultimate career goals.

You’ve worked hard, practiced, studied, and trained. You’ve been turned down, outright rejected, failed, and have had doors shut in your face. You’ve climbed to what you thought was the top of the ladder only to fall halfway down, or worse, to the bottom, leaving you having to start all over again.

The workplace can feel like a marathon, a long hike through the forest, or at times, a climb up a treacherous and slippery mountainside. But you do it all for the sake of achieving your personal and professional goals and for that coveted promotion. It is the finish line, the end of the trail, and finally getting to the pinnacle. Promotion can be complex; messy even. Sadly, it’s not a reward you know you will win because you’ve done everything right and are deserving of this important next step in your career.

There are a lot of politics and complicating factors and oftentimes, to survive in the arena of promotion, you practically have to lessen the emphasis on emotion and instead, dial into an intentional focus and strategy.

I share with my clients the importance of approaching that next level opportunity promotion, position, role, transition or pivot as a promotional campaign.

Ultimately, failure is not an option when you define what success looks like for yourself…oftentimes it’s a lot deeper than work, more than the money, it’s about redefining and designing the lifestyle you deserve.

In my many years of doing this, I’ve learned that to have a successful negotiation is 80-90% preparation. In line with placing an emphasis on preparing properly for a negotiation, you want to try and control the controllables.

Below are 5 of key strategies that will help you stand out as the next level candidate for that position, promotion, project, or, role while navigating the politics of promotion:

Self Promotion doesn’t have to be awkward…promote yourself…or at least, speak up about wanting it.

Imagine wanting that sought-after position; dreaming about it, imagining all you could do and accomplish; how much you would advance the company; and, not to mention, the pay increase you’ve been wishing for. You might be surprised to know that these dreams, these visions of people’s ultimate goals remain just that…a figment of their own imagination. So many people want a promotion, but fail to take the step to apply for it, speak up, and tell someone that they want it (like maybe your boss or supervisor). If you wait for your employer to suggest it or for a co-worker to say, “Hey, this would be a great opportunity for you,” you might stay in your wanting indefinitely rather than stepping into the reality of a position that you have worked so hard for.

Strategy is everything…create a game plan.

This idea of self-promotion is really a foundational concept that is important to cultivate and develop because people need to know about the value that you bring to the table, and your ability to amplify that properly will make the difference for you. Remember, that oftentimes, the only person that remembers the sweat, blood, and tears you experienced and endured is you. Promotion won’t just happen for you or fall from the sky and onto your lap just because you have done everything by the book. In addition to the hard work you’ve been putting in, you also need to create a promotion strategy, which is a series of goals and specific, short-term steps that will help elevate your presence and increase opportunities for that next-level position. A good place to start is by identifying who will make the final promotion decision and, articulating in a quantifiable way what you need to do to show that person that you’re prepared for the role.

Have an organization-wide mentality–think strategically. Think in terms of team-based goals.

A promotion would certainly impact you on a personal level and depending on the level of the promotion, it could even change your life, but you’re going to have to think of other reasons as to why you should get the job when you give your pitch. You see, your employer wants to know how promoting you will benefit the company and everyone in it. He/she is much less concerned with how you’ve been working hard and envisioning yourself succeeding in that role. When you explain why you are perfect for the position, make sure you discuss how your employer, the organization, and other workers will benefit from you earning the role. I tell my clients to lead with value, ask yourself “what is the value add here?”

Leverage Community…create a support network among peers, co-workers, key decision makers.

The notion that there is strength in numbers applies to promotions as well. If you envision a political campaign where the successful candidate is the one who garners the most support–similarly your promotional campaign needs the same level of support. Gaining the support of 4 types of people will speedily enhance your promotional campaign. These are: Key Decision Makers, Influencers, Ambassadors, Stakeholders. Additionally, consider the power of amplification of other women–as a powerful way to leverage community and cultivate relationships. Historically, employees who unite in the workplace achieve far greater benefits compared to organizations where it’s every woman for herself. Women amplifying women has been proven to be a powerful strategy for overcoming objections, shifting perceptions of key decision-makers, and increasing visibility in your promotional campaign process.

 Improve your visibility, and become comfortable with standing out.

When it comes time to decide on how to best present yourself to your employer or supervisor, many women decide to go the safe route and tell them what they want to hear. After all, you don’t want to take any major risks with such an important moment in your career. However, many employees are embracing a more authentic approach to showcasing who they are and what they can offer to the organization by presenting themselves as a personal brand with all the unique qualities about themselves that make them the answer the problem that the organization or industry is trying to solve. The use of strong core messaging and articulating your unique value proposition well will be the thing that will capture the attention of your supervisor, but it also serves to distinguish you from the rest. In other words, it demonstrates a genuineness that you simply cannot deliver with a rehearsed or generic “hire me” speech.

There are also many companies that are continuing to hire. Regardless of your situation, preparing for your future is critical. I’ve created a program designed to meet the unique needs that women leaders face called the Rewired for Success Program for Women Leaders. In this program, I teach you strategies to expand your leadership skills, improve your executive presence, and help you learn the tools to position yourself for promotion, speak with more confidence, and negotiate for bigger pay.

Learn more at www.dravansanchez.com. Also, if you are in need of further support please schedule a no-cost consult at: http://bit.ly/drsanchezstrategyLI2