There is no “I” in T.E.A.M. That’s what middle managers at every corporation in America have expressed directly or indirectly to their staff at one point or another. Related: 7 Reasons Why You Lost That Promotion This mindset has been ingrained into all of us and it’s confused our way of thinking. It’s led us to become subservient lemmings who move about through the rat race hoping not to step on each other’s toes, all the while we’re each secretly stabbing each other in the back as we try to climb one step higher up the corporate ladder. In the end, we find that our efforts get us no where and there’s a reason for this. There’s an unfortunate reality of climbing the corporate ladder that most people have no idea about. For one, directors and executives are hand-picked. Most of the people at the upper-echelons of corporations aren’t even worthy of their job. Many of them don’t have the skills or the track-record to validate their position. Yet, they sit in positions of power because they were fraternity brothers or college dorm mates with someone in a position of authority. As you move downwards towards middle management, those people are pawns put into place to ensure that the worker bee’s behave and produce the appropriate amount of work output. So, where does this leave the ambitious worker bee who wants to work his/her way through the hive? You have two options. You can climb your way up by bringing others down, or you can build a brand that positions you in such a high position of power that you work your way up based on upon the track record and expertise you possess as proven by your personal brand. People who have personal brands don’t have to fool around with the pettiness of corporate climbing and backstabbing. Instead of seeking out raises and promotions, these rewards come directly to them because they’re in such high demand that employers and bosses fight to earn and keep their attention. As it pertains to the bringing others down to pull yourself up approach, that tactic is slowly but surely being phased out. In a global economy where competition is at an all-time high, companies across America are looking for people who can walk the walk and talk the talk. Kissing the boss and the boss's boss's rear to get ahead is played out. If you want to get ahead, build a brand. That’s the only way you will remain in-demand and indispensable.