5 Things You Have to Do to Get the Corner Office
By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer

Some people inherit their leadership roles, but most people have to work for them. If you've got your eye on the coveted corner office, here's what it will take to get there.

Have a plan.

Whether it's a plan for your career, a plan for your business, or a plan for your personal goals, knowing what you want and how you'll get there is a big part of making it to the top. "There aren't a whole lot of stories of success from people who didn't have a plan," says Chris Ohlendorf, chief talent officer of Versique Search and Consulting in Minneapolis. And while he acknowledges that there is always a little bit of luck involved when someone reaches the corner office, he adds that a plan for your career will be a big part of any success you achieve.

Use the resources that are available to you -- and that includes co-workers.

Don't just look at your boss as your only mentor, Ohlendorf says. "People who leapfrog the process and have early and long-term success will look at 10 other people in other departments as mentors as well." Doing so, Ohlendorf says, can give you different perspectives on the company, the industry, your mentors' success and your place in it all.

Believe in what you're doing.

Whether it's confidence, a positive attitude or the power to motivate yourself and others -- if you don't have the mojo, you're not going to be working in the corner office. When you are leading others, you need to be able to clarify and promote your vision. "If you don't think it can be done, they won't either," Ohlendorf says, whether you're leading a team, a startup or a multinational corporation. Confidence in yourself and others will help you achieve the goals you set. This confidence can also help you bounce back quickly when you hit the inevitable setbacks that come when you aim high.

Work harder than others.

That doesn't necessarily mean work more hours, or come in early just to show everyone else up. Instead, use your strengths to find new solutions, lead others who may need some motivation or guidance, and anticipate challenges that others may not see. "It's pretty rare that the person who sits in the corner office didn't outwork most people to get there," Ohlendorf says. In addition, remember that working doesn't mean you're chained to your desk -- it means networking, getting more training, and learning everything you can about your industry.

Promote yourself.

Talking about your achievements, skills and ambitions is an important part of getting to the corner office. The trick, of course, is to not overdo it -- there is a fine line between taking deserved credit for a job well done and bragging. Instead, focus on talking about your strengths in the context of how they can help upcoming projects, and position yourself to take a leadership position whenever you can.

Getting a job in the corner office takes a good deal of effort and organization throughout your career. Knowing what you need to do to get a job in the corner office can help make your path clearer.

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