Are you currently hoping for a promotion? Are people reporting to you looking for that next step in their career? These are common and reasonable situations, but I’ve seen many approach this in the wrong way. Here’s what I recommend to anyone…
Show everyone you’re ready.
I often receive lists of ‘I’ve dones’. Work that they have done to justify their promotion. There’s nothing wrong with this but most of their examples are narrow in visibility and even impact.
By asking them to show everyone they’re ready helps them think about the wider team or department. To increase their sphere of influence and impact.
Promotions should be a ‘no brainer’ decision. Not just from their manager but from the whole team, including senior management. This is only done by making their good work more visible.
Of course, it’s not solely down to the person, their manager is there to guide them and/or create opportunities to give them more exposure.
Building their personal brand is a common way to direct their approach. I like to get people thinking about how to become the ‘go to’ person in a certain area of their platform/application or a tool they use. The more this happens, it increases not only their exposure but also their confidence.
There are two things I encourage:
- Be curious – show you want to learn. Seek to understand how things work outside of their normal scope of work. Understand why the status quo is that way. People who want promotion and don’t ask questions to understand more is a red flag. I often think, how can they mentor others if they’re not asking good questions now?
- Be proactive – think of improvements to your application or processes. Look for ways to work on them and bring in other people to help. Be visible in your communication.
It may sound like hard work for the person, that’s because it is! Many people sit back and expect a promotion to be handed to them. It’s just a sign of laziness.
During these conversations you learn a lot about the person, especially in how they react. Being enthusiastic and eager about different possibilities is a good sign. If they are frustrated or annoyed, it shows there may be other areas to work on before they’re ready.
As previously mentioned, the manager must be there to support their teams ambitions. It can be difficult when there are cut backs or no opportunities to offer promotions, but then it’s about encouraging people to be ready for when the time comes. The other challenge is the busyness of BAU work, then it’s helping them with time management to still have time for side projects.
Having people who are hungry for growth is great and should not be taken for granted. Encouraging them to show everyone they’re ready not only builds their confidence, it strengthens the team, and makes their promotion decision easier to push through.