How to Put Yourself in Pole Position for Promotion
Put Yourself in Pole Position for Promotion
If you have the right qualifications and you’re in the right position, then doing your job well is easy. You can do it with your eyes shut. But what if you don’t want to stay in the same job for the foreseeable future? What if you know that you are worth promoting? What if you want to work your way up the corporate ladder? Then, being seen to do your job well is more important – and that’s another story entirely…
How To Get Seen
So who’s watching? Well, it could be your colleagues with a kind word to say come their appraisal, but it’s more likely to be your line manager – and their manager, too.
The key difference between excellent team members and team members that progress through the ranks is that the latter communicate their contribution to the influencers; the people that decide whether you get that promotion or just carry on in your existing role.
If you’ve done a good job, then let people know about it. Not just your colleagues – maybe especially not your colleagues, who may shoot you down – but certainly your line manager. And preferably their manager too. A lot of people feel uncomfortable with this kind of self-promotion, but it isn’t showing off – you’re just demonstrating your worth to the business. And if you’ve done that once? Great! Now do it again. Businesses look for demonstrably repeatable excellence from their employees.
Birds Of A Feather
Pay attention to the people that have been promoted and ask yourself why they were chosen over other candidates. And when you work out the reasons why, emulate those same qualities yourself.
Nobody likes a brown-nose, so don’t get drawn into the suck-up game, but if you want to further your career within your company, then it pays dividends to align yourself with other advocates of the business. Don’t curry favour with your peers by playing the moaning game with disillusioned employees – the management will always ask if they’re not happy, why don’t they get another job? Do you want to be in that club? Remember that your workplace is, well… your workplace. These are people that you happen to work alongside Monday to Friday. Join a social club if you want to find new friends. That doesn’t mean you need to be distant – or worse, antagonistic – towards any disgruntled colleagues, but this mindset will free you from seeking the approval of your peers that may prove detrimental to your career.
Shouldn’t quality be its own assurance? In a meritocracy, maybe. But the workplace isn’t empirical. You could be at the peak of your profession, but if you’re hard to work with, then the hard truth is that the promotion you deserve could prove elusive. Instead of being the guy – or gal – that reluctantly delivers every time, it’s better for your career to be the one that throws themselves into delivering the impossible every time, even if you fall short now and again.
Don’t Be Indispensible
It may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but proving yourself to be indispensible isn’t the fastest route to promotion. It may be your best assurance of continued employment, but ask yourself one question; why would any employer promote you out of a position that nobody else can fill? If you’re confident that you have more to offer the business than your current position, then training juniors to fill your shoes frees you up to make the move upstairs.
Of course, the smartest move is to step up when the business needs it and prove that you’re capable of more than your present role. That doesn’t mean you need to pick up the slack from an absent boss; you could volunteer for a special project or follow up one of your suggestions that improves the business.
Anything that proves your financial worth will stand you in good stead for promotion. Take advantage of any on-the-job training your company offers – even if it doesn’t seem directly relevant, because a sidestep today could lead to a step up tomorrow.
Promotion Isn’t About You
Although it feels intensely personal, promotion isn’t about you. At all. It’s about the needs of the business at any given time. The trick is to be the right person, with the right skills, at the right time. Instead of throwing your hat in the ring for every role that comes up, it’s better to pick the opportunities that align business need with your experience. As well as looking at your own contribution, don’t forget to look at your business’ position, strategy and ambitions. It will be all but impossible to fail in your bid for promotion when you can align all those factors.
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