I have a news app on my phone for when I’m waiting in line, trying to sleep, or just killing time.

I recently read these headlines that surprised me: “30 Steps to the Raise You Want” and “24 Steps to Get the Promotion You Deserve.” While I haven’t actually read the articles, I wonder, “Why are they making this so complicated?”

I’ve been working since I turned 16, and I’ve been the “boss” for more than 15 years now. I can promise you, rising in leadership is much simpler than these articles make it out to be. In fact, when I look at my own journey, as well as those of the people who I have had the privilege to lead, I think it boils down to just three things.

Know Your Value

Think about what you uniquely bring to the table (presently and as your toolbox grows) and seek to understand how you fit in to the bigger mission of your organization. Are you unafraid to ask the tough questions when your company seems to be coasting on its laurels? Are you a creative problem solver who can guide a team to solutions otherwise overlooked? Determine your unique contribution to the organization and be able to describe it to whomever might ask.

Grow Your Value

Invest in yourself. Know what those around you need and then develop the skills and practice the talents to meet those needs. Don’t wait around for someone else to create a development plan for you. Get honest with yourself and decide today where you are lacking and where you shine. Find mentors–books, seminars, and real live people–to help improve you and perfect the talents you inherantly have.

Show Your Value

Take initiative. Don’t wait to be asked. Risk possibly stepping on toes if it’s for the good of the organization. Showing your value may make your supervisor look great. Or maybe your contribution will move a project forward that was integral to the overall success of a company. I promise you, you will get noticed.

As I look for future leaders within my organizations or consider salary increases for my team, my mind consistently falls back to team members who know, grow and show their value on a consistent basis. It’s as simple as that.