How She Rose to the Top

Whether you’ve started your own business or you’re part of a larger company, climbing the executive ladder requires both team spirit and certain entrepreneurial backbone. That’s what Anna Stern discovered when she decided to join Tri-North Builders, the midsize Milwaukee-based family construction business her father had founded.
Build relationships across departments. 
“I keep an open door so my people feel comfortable checking in,” says Stern, who oversees 250 employees. “I go to as many meetings as I can, even if I don’t need to be involved. You want to make yourself accessible—not one of those glass-office people.” 

Develop your power style. Although Stern, 32, has a law degree in construction (and strong family cred) she has still had to cultivate certain leadership skills as company VP—including her decision-making and communication style. “I never talk for the sake of talking or to prove I know something,” she says. Instead, she projects certainty by saying less—until someone requests more information.

Want a promotion? Innovate. If you think you’re ready for a new title, pair a meeting with your boss with a new strategy you’ve been developing. “You want to have something tangible to offer instead of just asking for more money or a new title,” she says.

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