Just as there are no free lunches, there are also no quick fixes and this applies to promotions as much as anything else. With that said, you can still improve your chances of landing that promotion significantly if you are willing to work at it – and work you will have to. What we bring you here is the way you should go about your work. We’ve collated all that gyan into 3 steps:
- Prepare yourself
- Work Smart – not Hard
- Make rejection impossible
So is it really that simple? Of course not. We’ll elaborate on these steps in a bit but first do you have what it takes to deserve that promotion?
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What do I need to be eligible and deserving of promotion?
Is there really a secret recipe that will magically bring you success overnight? No. Of course not. You must cultivate and curate your success through careful planning and hard work. Here are some qualities you should have if you want to grow, progress, and succeed. These are not soft skills but habits that may be latent within you. Or you may need to cultivate them.
- Curiosity – about everything around you. Your curiosity will lead you to learn learn learn.
- Empathy – Empathy encourages you to help others and this can be a great way to learn
- Humility – Being humble about your achievements, respectful towards others, and empathetic towards those less successful than you will endear you to one and all.
- Proactivity – Don’t wait to be asked. Volunteer. This attitude will take you places you need to be.
- Focus and Attention to Detail – It’s the difference between a job well done and a stellar performance.
- Forward Thinking – The ability to envision how a something you do today will help you tomorrow – or in the distant future.
- Decisiveness – The ability to quickly make a decision, act upon it, and stick to it will portray you as a strong and capable leader.
These qualities must be carefully cultivated. How? We’ll tell you soon. Why? Well you know appraisals will come at some point. If you are an intern or fresher working through your probation, it’s probably six months – or less – down the line. In any case, your appraisals will be no more than a year away. So why wait? Start planning your promotion now. Here are the three things that can significantly improve your chance of promotion:
One mistake that most employees make is that they keep taking on more and more work and then assume that the boss will notice their hard work – and then they blame the boss for not being promoted.
“If he/she really cared about the work, I’d have been promoted long ago,” is a common refrain.
But that’s not how it works. You have to do more than your share of work – that much is true. But don’t just pile it on arbitrarily. You should know what the boss – and other seniors – expect from you. And it’s not just about what they say – it’s also about what’s left unsaid. In fact, the latter is perhaps more important.
For instance, if your boss asks you for the sales figures for last month, try and guess why he is asking for them. Is there an upcoming conference or meeting where he needs to present them? What is that meeting about? What will be discussed? And then add some extra information to your report so that your boss has more than he asked for. If this helps, he’ll come to you next time and again and again. And even if it does not prove useful at this meeting, he may notice and hopefully appreciate it.
This type of understanding and proactivity adds value to your work. It gets noticed. It is appreciated. And you’ll be remembered for it. Another way to add value to your work is to volunteer to do those tasks that nobody wants. This shows how dependable you are.
So is this the preparation we talked about? Well yes. The only thing is you should make a note of such instances in a journal or diary for future reference.
We’ll come to why you should do this in a bit but before that, it’s worth a mention that doing such things deliberately and intentionally with the sole objective of getting promoted can backfire. Proactivity, empathy, and the other qualities we mentioned should be an inherent part of your nature. It should be a habit. Your actions should not be incumbent upon the outcome. That said, you can cultivate these habits if you do not have them inherently.
Work Smart not Hard
As we mentioned simply piling more work on your desk won’t work. You should do more of what works and less of what is redundant. For instance, if during a team meeting, 5 tasks are identified, rather than volunteering for all 5 it’s better to take responsibility for one or two and do them beyond expectation. Oh, we’re not saying don’t be willing to do all of them. Indeed you should be able to say, “Hey Boss, assign me the ones you think I can do best.” Or, “I can do any of them. It’s your call.” But when you commit, be clear about the time you will need and commit only to as much as you think you can complete on time.
Some people use the technique of underpromising and over-delivering. While that works on occasion, it can be a dangerous habit simply because if you do it once too often, people will begin expecting you to deliver before time – and then when you deliver on schedule it will be perceived as delayed.
One technique that does work every time is self-review. Having started out with gusto, you don’t want to wake up to the fact that though you worked hard, you don’t have much to show for it three months down the line. You should set small-term goals and work towards them efficiently. Here’s one way to track your progress:
- Determine a long term goal
- Charter your journey there
- Identify milestones – short term goals
- Work steadily towards achieving these goals.
You can even mark the dates on your calendar and create daily or weekly to-do lists. Consistency is key. Spend the first – or last – 15-30 minutes of your day reviewing and revising your schedule. Note down your accomplishments and failures. Then think about what to do next.
Such a step-by-step organized and planned approach will help you not just with this or the next promotion. It will also help you throughout your career and beyond.
Make rejection impossible
If you have come this far successfully, the next steps are easy. Remember we said you should make a note every time you add value to an assigned – or volunteered – task? Well, these are your bargaining chips. You can’t just walk up to your boss and say, “Hey I deserve this promotion. Give it to me.” That’s the surest way to get rejected – but you already know that.
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But then sitting back and waiting for it to happen without asking for the promotion won’t work either. So yes walk up to your boss and demand. But choose a time when he is in a receptive frame of mind. Choose a time when he will best appreciate your efforts. Then bring out those bargaining chips – not your notebook of course. And not just when promotions are due. You don’t want to read off a script.
Through the course of your work, grab every opportunity to remind your boss about the value you add to the workplace.
As you write in your journal every day, you’ll likely memorize all those points– so point them out to your boss or superior every chance you get. Do it subtly and imperceptibly. Sneak in a word or to or simply a gentle reminder about how such and such was a great success – without even mentioning your contribution. Or say, “If we had not done such and such we would not have got that contract” giving full credit to your boss for the job you did.
Your promotion – or even appraisals – are not something your boss looks forward to. For him, it is a task to be completed quickly so that he can get on with other more important work. So when he’s about to do this, make sure you are uppermost in his mind.
These pointers are wealth you’ll carry with you wherever you go – throughout your working life and beyond. You’ll always be perceived as a helpful, efficient, and worthy individual. Is that not what you really want?
We hope reading this article has helped you take the next step in your career. Do let us know how this helped you. You can write in the comments or tell us in our Facebook community. We’re looking forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile don’t forget to stay tuned.