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September 11, 2017

Can You Get a Promotion Ethically?

Simon Bell


©¬©Getty Images/FatCamera

So, you think it's time to move up in your organization. Opportunities for promotion seem to be opening up, and you feel that the time is right to spread your wings. So what can you do? Schmooze the "big wigs" frantically? Sharpen your claws for a fight with the competition?

The temptation may to do whatever it takes make yourself look good, even if that mean being a bit unscrupulous. For example, you might consider "massaging" a sales figure or two or taking a bit of credit for something that wasn't strictly anything to do with you. And if you step on a few toes, well, is that so bad?

Actually, yes, it is.

Back in the day, when I worked for a publishing company, we had an intern attached to our team. Let's call her Helen. Our team was tasked with developing and managing content, and spending a little time with us was part of Helen's induction. But Helen was in a big career hurry. She had people to see and places to go.

7 Ways to Promotion the Right Way

Helen came. She smiled. She nodded politely when we gave her things to do. Then she excused herself and went for coffee with the publisher-in-chief. We picked up her work. She took lengthy time off to talk to the heads of marketing and sales. We met her deadlines.

From time to time, she'd drift back. She did some light filing. Badly. In fact, she trashed our record-keeping system. We seethed.

I don't know where Helen is these days. I suspect the people she works with now say good things about her drive and ambition, but kind of wish she worked somewhere else.

And that's the point. Whether you're a know-it-all intern or a manager looking to make the next step up, you might want to think that how you treat people matters.

So, here are seven golden rules for getting the right sort of attention when you're looking to move up the ladder.

1. Do the Best Job You Can, but…

... understand that that's the minimum required. You shouldn't expect to get a promotion based simply on being very good at what you already do. But don't skimp on the job now to chase advancement.

2. Be a Team Player

Make sure your efforts are completely aligned with your team goals, and be willing to offer help to fellow team members in achieving theirs. If your next step up the ladder involves managing people, consider how you would like to be managed yourself.

3. Get Noticed in a Good Way

By all means, let people know that you've done a good job. Be careful, though. There's a fine line between confident self-promotion and arrogant boastfulness.

4. Look out for Mentors

Some organizations offer formal mentoring programs, and it can be worthwhile to use these. But if you're smart you won't abuse them. Good senior managers know the difference between real talent and a naked opportunist.

5. Develop Your Skills

Learn what you need to know, and don't be tempted to cut corners. If a step up the career ladder means getting down to some serious study time, accept that, put in the hours and be ready when the time comes.

6. Get Your Timing Right

Even when you've got the skills and experience, and you're sure you have, plucking up the courage to ask for a promotion can be tough. But you can't always sit tight and wait for the world to come to you.

7. If at First You Don't Succeed...

Don't give up. If you don't get your dream promotion at the first attempt, and you're sure you played fair, don't be afraid to ask why you didn't get it. Most importantly, use the experience as a way to improve yourself.

What's Your Experience of Promotions?

What are you thoughts about how best to develop your career the right way? What worked for you, and what didn't? Let us know, below.

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2 comments on “Can You Get a Promotion Ethically?”

  1. I'm going to try and be objective and open minded as possible here.We can all appreciate that if you plant a true and after several weeks the tree is stagnant,what would you do? At my age as an avid reader and interacting with people of all strata both local and the diaspora and in addition yes made some errors in judgement,i was able to glean what got them the desired results,forgive me for not being terse as it may seem that I'm digressing, but my mantra is and has been if I was a sweeper in the road I would strive to be the best sweeper,furthermore never believed in presenteeism or that I'm working for government,if we as workers could behave as if we are running our own business? Ang be cognisant of the fact that we are functioning in a competitive Global environment (VUCA) change is constant and hence we must adapt or else!

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