If you want a promotion, don't skip these 3 steps
Getting rejected for promotion is probably the biggest let down a middle manager can experience, especially after putting in so much hard work. After the initial shock of rejection, you’re probably asking what you could’ve done differently one of the major factors affecting career development.
Not getting promoted can be the result of many factors, some you can control and others you can’t. Even if the decision is completely out of your hands, there are still three major factors affecting career development you can take into consideration.
1. Be open with your boss.
Many middle managers think that their boss is planning on promoting them. You’ve come to this conclusion because you always meet your deadlines, exceed expectations, and demonstrate professionalism. It would seem the logical course of action to promote you. But don’t forget that these are all YOUR assumptions, not your boss’s. Your boss has many other things on their plate and your promotion is not necessarily their first priority. Rather than dilly-dallying around with the subject of your promotion, make it clear to your boss that you plan to stay and advance at your current organization. Restate this at different opportunities, whether at annual assessments, project meetings, or even informal chats. You don’t want to get to a point where your boss claims they never knew about your career aspirations.
2. Identify with your organization.
Today’s organizations are much more than producing or delivering a product or service. They are living, breathing social ecosystems. Many organizations have in-house dining rooms and gyms. They throw celebrations and hold team-building seminars. They sponsor events and organize volunteering projects. Even if you “work to live” and don’t “live to work,” you want to make sure that your coworkers and managers see you as an active part of your organization’s social side. After all, if everybody else is having lunch with other managers, showing their fun side at a party, or demonstrating their empathy at a charity event - and you’re not, then who do you think will be chosen when promotion time comes around? Remember, senior managers are expected to serve as role models in all organizational aspects, not just productivity.
3. Keep track of your accomplishments.
Your organization isn’t going to write your resume for you; it’s up to you to keep track of your accomplishments so that when the time comes, you’ll be able to position and brand yourself for promotion. Make sure that you understand what’s needed for your next promotion and what gaps need to be filled. Work on closing in on these gaps, whether it’s through improved performance, learning something new, or even shadowing an expert. The point is that you keep a careful record of your improvements, making sure that decision makers are aware of them along the way. Putting yourself in the spotlight, so to speak, will provide the evidence needed to decision makers that you both have come a long way and are able to climb even higher.
Your next promotion is obviously not completely in your hands. In fact, it’s mostly in others’ hands. But if you follow the three strategies above, you’ll hopefully be able to influence these hands in your favor.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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