Climbing the career ladder by being a ‘Beta’

Aspiring for career success--climbing the ladder to the topmost rung--is more pervasive than ever. With entrepreneurship on the rise, there's a world full of alphas through which you must climb in order to standout and succeed. But, an overlooked philosophy for skyrocketing to the top can help you avoid the alpha struggles altogether. Welcome to the collaborative world of being a beta, where standing on the shoulders of your alphas serves as your ladder to success.

What is Collaboration?

Collaboration is an underutilized tool nowadays, whereas competition is sorely overrated. The first focuses on building yourself up by building others. The second considers "every man for himself" and "throw everyone under the bus" mentalities as law. The difference between collaboration and competition can make the difference between your career's success or failure, with collaboration paving your path to the elites.

Collaboration means working together, active listening, and teamwork. You take the talents of each person in your organization and use them additively, rather than pitted against one another. The effect is far greater than that of any individual's given talent.

The Myth Behind Competition

Perhaps names like Steve Jobs, Andrew Carnegie, and Donald Trump come to mind when you consider the mythical advantages of competition and life as an entrepreneur, but the chances of this becoming your reality are stacked heavily against you. Today, more and more people are vying for the top slots--competition is more fierce and ruthless than in previous generations. It's time for new tactics; competition is overused and expected.

It's true that some people become extremely powerful, successful, and dominating by using means of competition to squelch out those who might stand in their way. But, for the majority, this tactic rarely works. Few alphas are needed in the workplace (one CEO or one president), and the presence of too many alphas can result in a toxic work environment.

The workforce is structured as a pyramid, with a single point at the top standing upon a wide, sturdy base. When competition prevails and the majority fall into this category, the pyramid is turned upside down, causing imbalance, instability, and unpredictable phenomena. Some competition is a good thing, but too much is destructive. And in our modern times when everyone is desperate to be on top, collaboration becomes a sought-after trait.

Why be a Beta?

It's the alphas who determine their heirs, build careers, and establish the next regime, and alphas find the company of betas (collaborators) to be more pleasurable than that of other alphas. Why? Alphas invest a great deal of energy into their careers, making an impact, and they don't relish the idea of another alpha coming in and overthrowing their self-imposed practices. On the contrary, leaders in the workforce look for collaborative heirs for whom they can trust to carry on their hard-earned regime. By embracing your role as a beta, you earn the trust of your leaders.

Collaborators empower themselves by empowering others. Allowing yourself to strategically be a beta encourages your peers, underlings, and mentors alike to confide in you about their thoughts, talents, and concerns. Not feeling that they need to compete with or impress you garners a kinship--trust that otherwise couldn't exist between competitors. As you can see, there is great power in being a collaborator, great advantage.

In order to work your way to the top of the career ladder in our modern times, you must harness this collaborative power. Along with your own talents, you bring the ability to discover talents in others, making you far more valuable than the sum of your parts. It's your disarming, collaborative approach that will allow you to gracefully float to the top of your career ladder, whisked effortlessly by your supportive peers. They, too, will be delighted at your rising through the ranks because of your nature to empower them as well as yourself.

Gaining career power through collaboration by being a beta is a far more likely and far more pleasurable experience than by clawing your way to the top through competition. And, the duration of your regime will be longer lasting and come with greater support than that of a competitor because those reporting to you will be pleased with your position, rather than plotting to overthrow you.

It may seem counterintuitive to act as a beta in order to rise to an alpha rank, but this underrated tactic is one with many benefits and garners more success than typical route of competition. Standing out in today's world means learning to fit in, harnessing the power of collaboration, and allowing your peers to vote you to the top rung of your career ladder.