Approaching for promotion
Wanting to progress your career is natural, but actually doing so can be a tricky business. Many people take the default position that getting a better job means changing employer, but there are often great opportunities for progression with your existing employer, and not just in the part of the company you currently work in.
If you’re working a small company, chances are you’ll know pretty much what everyone’s doing and who’s heading where. In larger companies, there’s likely to be a lot going on elsewhere that you may not know about, especially in other departments. It’s well worth keeping an eye on internal newsletters or notice boards, as well as refining your internal networking techniques.
Getting noticed by your superiors
Make a habit of getting into work early, and try to be the last out. In some organisations, this could mean taking in a sleeping bag, but don’t overdo it. Just let your bosses know that you’re on the money and not one of those who always seem to be looking for an easy ride.
You may want to copy some high level people in on an email early in the morning or late at night to emphasise the hours you’re putting in. You may have to be careful how you manage this if your company pays overtime. Don’t make it look as if you’re just stretching your day out to boost your earnings.
Make an effort to really enjoy your job, and let others know you do as well. To further enhance your prospects, build a reputation as someone who is always positive and good to be around. Be the first to volunteer for any tasks, whether work-related or social, like helping organise the office Christmas party or summer outing.
Always be prepared to do a bit more than is expected of you or is in your job description. However, if you do take on extra tasks or responsibilities, don’t over-promise and keep your head down until you have successfully completed the task. There are no prizes for loud-mouthing and then failing to deliver. As a general rule you should always under-promise and over-deliver.
Pay attention to how you present yourself. Look at what your superiors are wearing, and go for something similar. Don’t however make it too obvious by copying a trademark item of your boss’s clothing. Look the part, and make it easy for them to see you working on the next tier of management.
Building a case
Although you won’t usually have to present your bosses with a CV in order to gain a promotion, having some documented evidence of what you’ve achieved will be a major bonus. Keep a record of everything you do that is successful and look at the records of your predecessors and colleagues in similar roles. If you’re performing better than them, let your boss know about it, but don’t put-down your colleagues or wind them up. It may come back to haunt you.
Get on all the relevant training courses, and look around for other ways to enhance your profile. Make time to read the trade journals and share your knowledge with colleagues. Consider evening classes for specialist skill areas where training is not provided by your employer, like accountancy classes, advanced computer skills, or perhaps a formal business qualification like a diploma or MBA.
Managing former peers
If you land the promotion you were after, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself managing your former co-workers. It’s a tough situation and requires sensitivity and tact in large measure. This is where many newly-promoted people fail, and find that they have to move back to their former position once their trial period has finished. That’s an experience you definitely want to avoid.
Never be afraid to ask your boss for guidance on how to handle these situations, and make sure you communicate clearly with your former equivalents and juniors. Use your common sense and think how you would like to be dealt with in a similar situation. Don’t let any simmering resentments explode into full blown conflict. If people have an issue with your new position, deal with it.
Learn to see what inspires and motivates your staff and concentrate on that. It’s the best way to build a loyal team and to meet your management objectives. Don’t play the big ‘I am’ the minute you get promoted. Equally, avoid being too chummy with your new team. You are not there to be friends; you’re there to do a job.