Get Unstuck: Making Power Moves Mid-Career

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Rosann Santos, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

March 4, 2019

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

How to assert yourself and advocate for yourself in order to move up, especially in higher education, can be quite daunting. Making power moves is not easy, but you have to start somewhere to position yourself in just the right way.

My advice? Take a good look in the mirror and understand certain things about yourself. Then make power moves to make adjustments. You know you are great and capable. But does the rest of the world?

  1. Understand what you bring to the table. You must appreciate your own skill set before you ask anyone else to appreciate them or even ask to be elevated. Think about the most confident people you know at work. If you don’t already, bring that same confidence that you admire to the table.
  2. Understand what you are missing from the table and figure out how to get it. Is it training? Do you need professional development? Can it be as profound as additional educational credentials or is it as simple as reading a few books on a topic or attending a targeted conference? Even if a topic falls outside of your job description or is not directly necessary for you to do a good job, I assure you that learning other areas and subjects will serve you well. For example, if you are a residential life professional, learn some enrollment management best practices, learn assessment techniques or, get a grip on higher education finance and fundraising. If you can talk intelligently about these matters even within your more focused area, you will stand out above the crowd and those who make promotional decisions will take notice.
  3. Take stock of your leadership styleWhat do others say or think about you? Be bold and find out. If the information is less flattering than you expected, don't get defensive. Get proactive and fix it. Ask for honest feedback from your supervisor and colleagues and be prepared for the good and the bad. This links back to steps one and two above – understand what you bring (or don’t bring) to the table.

Self-awareness is key to making power moves and moving forward in your careers. To learn more about my power moves, get some tips and tricks for empowering yourself, your workplace and those around you by lifting as you climb by follow @RSantosSpeaks on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Born and raised in Bronx, NY to Dominican parents, Rosann always knew she had a purpose in life. She had a dream that both women and men could elevate their presence, be noticed, fulfilling their own unique dreams. With a compassionate soul and the deep burning desire to help others around her, she used her ability to motivate people through words and her hunger for knowledge to drive her closer and closer to that dream. She is now a career motivational keynote and among the best education keynote speakers for high school and college students. Currently serving as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Student Affairs at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a City University of New York, and an adjunct faculty member in the Latin American Studies Department, Rosann has worked in higher education for nearly 20 years.

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