To your promotion!
You do your job faithfully every day. You may even do your job exceptionally well.
Why is it, then, that you've been in the same position for three years while others – seemingly less-deserving people – have been promoted?
The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be.
Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities, and that you're ready to take on new ones.
Think about it. If you're busy working away, producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced, why should I promote you? Clearly, your value to the company is your efficiency. If I promote you, my production output may suddenly fall!
Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. But going beyond what's expected, and stretching yourself beyond your current role, can lead to a new job with more responsibility.
Now, before you head out to stop being effective at anything, remember – in your pursuit of a promotion, you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution.
Organizations move forward by solving problems. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions – and that may move you forward too.
To prepare for a promotion, you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things – it means doing more of the RIGHT things.
Ask yourself these questions:
You may even want to make lateral moves – to similar positions in different departments – to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. If your exposure is broader, you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities.
For example, if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job, gain experience in other areas of the company. When you have the right mix of experience and skill, promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal.
Typically, managers are given responsibility for something, and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in.
To gain access to them, you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities:
Then, look for opportunities to lead projects. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. Try the following:
To prepare for a promotion, always think about how to do things better. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. How can you do something cheaper, faster, or with less waste? Consider the following:
If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas, this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation.
Ultimately, you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. If you rely on someone else to make it happen, you'll probably end up disappointed. Take action with these steps:
When you run into obstacles, find ways to work around them. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals, and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate.
Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. That won't guarantee a promotion, though. Let people know what you want, and then proactively work to achieve it.
Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known:
As you execute your promotion plan, let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want.
Earning a promotion is partly within your control. Simply doing what's expected of you, and even being the best at what you do, are not guarantees of advancement.
To prepare for promotion, increase your value to the organization. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Understand what drives your company's success, take on more of the right responsibilities, expand your skill set, and communicate your promotion goals to others.
By being proactive, you can create the path to the position that you want.
For more help in preparing for a promotion, try our 40-page Get That Promotion! workbook.
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