Most working people think they are ready for that next promotion. Some of their co-workers think so too. Family members all agree you are ready for that next step upward. So why doesn’t the boss see it as clearly as everyone else?
The old days of being tapped on the shoulder and ushered in to the next level of responsibility and pay vanished a long time ago. If no one told you before, I feel badly – but want you to know that unless you are writing the books on how to do your job, this is the truth. If you want to get that promotion, you’ve got some work to do.
First look at your current job description and if you can’t get your hands on one, write one up. Try to be honest about what you do really well and where you need to develop. If you aren’t sure, ask your boss. Not at the annual performance review – NOW. If you aren’t performing ALL parts of your job well, it will be difficult to make a case for promotion. Jobs are not like buffets, where you can chose what you like and leave the rest. You have to be able to look strong in all areas.
Do you get defensive when you are given feedback that doesn’t match with how you see yourself? It’s hard when you are pushing people away to hear what they have to say but understanding how you are viewed is critical if you want to be considered as a serious candidate. Focusing on the essential tasks is fine if you are interested in staying right where you are. Doing your current job is NOT an automatic preparation for the next level. Going above and beyond in the eyes of the next level of manager is an indication that you are ready to join their ranks.
It’s not just about increasing the bottom line, reducing expenses, project results and money either. The interpersonal skills you demonstrate are an indication that you have the ability to ‘get work done through others’ effectively. Developing talent, mentoring and training others, providing feedback and coaching, developing and maintaining key relationships internally and externally, and effectively communicating with others are signals that you have the people skills to have a positive influence at a higher level. The higher you go up the career ladder, the more the job is about others (Clients, employees, prospects, executives, colleagues) and the less it is about you.
If you are not sure the boss is in your corner, ask the person who currently has (or had ) the job you aspire to. If you are not currently demonstrating the skills and aptitude for the position, learn what you need to do to obtain them.
Confidence is great, and you should definitely have it if you are going to go for that promotion. But it’s as important (and maybe more) that the people who are in a position to promote you have confidence in you as well.