Are you trying to get promoted but are unsure of what to do? Promotions can certainly appear to be elusive, frustrating and unattainable, but it just might be that you haven’t been told the expectations from your manager. Each manager is different, of course, and employers have requirements for years of experience and the availability of funding, but don’t be afraid to ask your manager for his or her expectations. It’s better to ask than try to read their minds on this or expect that they will just naturally see your talent. Be proactive and let them know you’re interested.
Here are some examples of the expectations I have regarding promotions in my work place. Even if your manager has different expectations, following these tips will strengthen your presence at your current job or in future ones.
- Increase your dedication. You’ve heard the phrase, “Going the extra mile,” I’m sure on numerous occasions, but when it comes to being promoted, dedication definitely helps. This can include staying late when needed, meeting deadlines, being punctual, exceeding goals, offering assistance, and taking proactive measures to prevent issues. All of these are important, but to help even more, try to find an area of your job where you can be an expert — find a niche. If your employer depends on your specialty, it makes you more valuable, and once you gain enough experience, you could end up being the lead and mentor for your coworkers.
- Keep a positive attitude even during times of change. Employees with good leadership skills remain positive even through the hardest of times. They also support management decisions and encourage cooperation from other employees. If an employe doesn’t, why would a manager want him or her leading the other employees? Think about it. This doesn’t mean that the employee is not able to speak up when he or she feels a process could be performed more effectively. It just means that when an issue is addressed with management, the employee brings a solution to the table. For example, the employee may not agree with how a change in process is being proposed, but he or she is willing to put the time and effort into figuring out what will work better. If your manager is like me, he or she will want to hear about those ideas.
- Build strong relationships with peers and management. Yes, it is about who you know and what you know, but it is also about your reputation and relationships. Many times when I’m assessing an employee for a promotion, I’ll talk to his or her peers and try to get a sense of their support for the employee. Some of the questions I ask the peers are: Is the employee the “go to” person? Is he or she a mentor to entry-level staff? Is the employee trustworthy? Can he or she be depended upon as a leader? All of these types of questions play into my decision. It is also important to have a relationship with upper management. After all, the more upper management staff know about the employee, the more they will support the promotion. If you can, try to give your management team a presentation or have a discussion with them on why they should promote you and how you see yourself in the new role. This way, you can show management what’s important to you and advise them of your accomplishments. It’s better coming from you.
- Have a vision for the future. I like thinkers — individuals who are constantly contemplating strategies to increase efficiency and improve processes. Ones who are self-motivated and can’t wait to dive in at staff meetings. Ones who get excited about the future and what it will look like. Vision is a mix between planning and imagination. Bring your manager along on your vision.
As you probably already noticed, the common theme with all of them is strong leadership skills. The manager’s job is to identify employees with leadership potential and provide them the tools and training to enhance this skill, but it will be up to the employee to take the initiative. So, go talk with your boss and give these tips a try!