The Lateral Move – When It Can Be a Successful Strategy for Emerging Leaders

Growing in your career isn’t just about climbing up the ladder. Sometimes, the smartest step you can take is to the side, not up. This is what we call a lateral career move. It’s when you switch to a job at the same level as your current one. This could be within the same company or at a different one. The idea here is to change roles without necessarily getting a promotion or a raise.

Why would you want to consider a move like this? There are a few good reasons. First, it can really shake things up if you’re feeling bored or stuck in your current role. It’s a chance to tackle new challenges and learn different things. For instance, if you’ve been working in marketing and move to a sales position, you’ll get to talk directly with customers. This kind of experience is super helpful and can teach you a lot about what people want and need. It can also make you a better leader because you’ll understand more about different parts of the business.

But, it’s important to remember that side moves aren’t the best choice for everyone. If you’re hoping for a big jump in pay or want to be in charge right away, a lateral move might not give you that. Also, if the new job doesn’t help you move toward your long-term career goals, it might not be worth it.

If you decide a lateral move is right for you, here are some tips to make it a success:

  1. Talk About It: It’s a good idea to have a chat with your current boss and the boss in the area you want to move to. Explain why you’re interested in making a move and how it fits with your career plans. This can help make sure everyone is on the same page and supports your move.
  2. Use Your Friends at Work: If you know people who work in the department or job you’re interested in, talk to them. They can give you the inside scoop on what the job is really like and how you can succeed.
  3. Learn New Things: Anytime you start something new, there’s a lot to learn. Look for ways to learn more about your new role. This could be through formal training or just by asking lots of questions. Showing that you’re eager to learn can help you do well in your new job.
  4. Keep Doing Well: Even though you’re planning to move, it’s important to keep doing your best in your current job. This shows that you’re a dedicated worker who cares about doing a good job, no matter where you are.
  5. Think About It: After you’ve made the move, take some time to think about how things are going. Are you learning what you hoped to? Is this move helping you get closer to your career goals? This can help you figure out what to do next.

Making a lateral move in your career can be a great way to learn more, face new challenges, and become a better leader. It’s all about getting a wide range of experiences that make you more flexible and ready for whatever comes your way.