Website Preparing for Promotion 082823Preparing for a Promotion

By Allison Madison

Most people aspire to an upwardly mobile career path, with a well-defined promotion ladder to climb. Promotions are a typical way to measure success, which includes ascending to higher ranks with an increase in salary, position, responsibilities, benefits, and status. It sounds great, but do you understand all that is involved, are you prepared, and is it what you really want? The key is to know thyself, define your goals and aspirations, and figure out how to stand out. Here’s what you should consider.

  • Culture Check—Every industry sector and organization has a culture norm in which employees need to function to be successful. What does the sector typically value and compensate? For example; if you work in an ad agency, the environment is creative, deadline driven and urgent, so quick turnarounds and long hours may be required. Don’t confuse DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) with the normal expectations of an industry. Find an organization that is in alignment with your work/life balance and personality. If you don’t fit into an organization’s culture norm, you will be fighting an uphill battle to get promoted.
  • Look up the ladder—Evaluate what a promotion would mean in your day to day by looking at the higher ranks of your organization. What skills and credentials do they have? What are the hours they keep? How many people report to them? What are the travel and social obligations? Can you see yourself fulfilling all the requirements and would the position be a good fit for you? Be honest with yourself and evaluate if you have the desire to do what it takes. It’s easy to get seduced by money and status, so it’s important to consider all aspects of the promotion you aspire to.
  • Evaluate the metrics of success—Every job position has a results measurement that should be easily identifiable. Some examples are—making sales quotas, managing a case load, tracking customer satisfaction, completing projects within budget, or meeting deadlines. Contrast and compare yourself to some of the top performers and/or your supervisor and see how you measure up. Keep track of your stats and be sure to bring them up in your review.
  • Practice a positive attitude:Have you ever worked with someone who performs all of their job duties, but has a negative attitude that brings the team down? It could take the form of complaining, gossip, blaming others, tardiness, and more. Regardless of how well you do your job, signs of a poor attitude will keep you from getting the promotion you think you deserve.
  • Be a problem solver:Some people relish their role as the “truth-teller” who points out the problems, but never has any ideas or solutions to solve them. Leaders take responsibility and facilitate a path forward when they encounter roadblocks. Pretend that it’s already your job to resolve a situation to exercise your accountability muscle. It will help create a mindset that will prepare you to take on more responsibility.
  • Emotional intelligence is a lifelong journey: Managing our emotions in the workplace is a necessity, no matter what the situation. Immaturity, poor communication, a lack of empathy, and inability to get along, lead managers to overlook even the highest performers for promotions. It’s important to act professionally and talk respectfully at all times.
  • Asking for a promotion—The most straightforward time to broach the topic of a promotion track is at your interview and your annual review. It’s a built-in opportunity for both you and your manager to discuss how you’ve been doing, your success metrics, and where your career is headed.
  • Stand Out by Volunteering;Make sure the people who have the power to make decisions know your capabilities and desire to advance. A good way to stand out is to opt in on an extracurricular project or volunteer opportunity to work with people from different departments and/or seniority. It’s a chance to impress and give people a chance to get to know you in another capacity.
  • Not every career path is up:You can also advance your career by “moving across” an organization to gain deeper experience, advanced skills, knowledge, and relationships, which can also increase your value and job satisfaction.

When pursuing a promotion it’s important to regularly assess your career goals vs. your personal  objectives and do a sync check to the workplace and it’s culture. Lead on!