Many people come into their work lives believing that their managers will advocate on their behalf so all that they need to do to get increasing responsibility is demonstrate their skill and then they’ll be promoted. While this happens sometimes, it’s just not the typical reality; so we encourage our clients to advocate on their own behalf.
In our experience, managers are doing more than ever with fewer resources, and even if they do see that a member of their team is very successful, they may not have the time to advocate for them.
All of that makes sense (no blame intended); but it does suggest that if you feel ready to take on greater responsibility, the ball is in your court to move your agenda forward.
Where do you start if you’re getting
ready to ask for a promotion?
The following three steps can help:
- Review your previous formal and informal performance reviews and ensure that you’re seen as contributing to success and that you’ve demonstrated a thoughtful and effective response to any and all performance concerns.
- Assess the needs of your team, department, and the organization to identify how you can best contribute to success. You’ll always be more effective in asking for a promotion when you can tie the organization’s success to your increasing influence and impact. For example: Review the strategic plan for your department and for the company as a whole. Then be prepared to talk about how elevating you to the role will increase the success of the department and the company.
- Before having the specific promotion conversation with your boss, seed the idea with them and other key stakeholders. For example: You could say something like, “I love what we’re trying to do with [project / initiative / strategy], and I’m excited to contribute to its success. As I assess how to create success going forward, I believe I’d have a greater impact if I moved into a larger role and I’m eager to know your thoughts.”Their responses can give you a great deal of information about how to approach the actual promotion discussion.
Once you’ve completed Step 3, you’ve started the conversation about what it will take for you to move into a role of greater impact and responsibility.
Take action based on what you learned and then return to the conversation from time to time until you believe there is clear evidence that your advancement will contribute to departmental or organizational success.
After having conversations where you’ve reviewed your history and assessed how you can be a solution to the company’s needs, you’re ready to have a discussion about a promotion! You could say something like, “I’d like to ask for a promotion to this new role where, I think we agree, I can be a solution to the team, department, or company.”
Let us know how it goes!