Be clear on your priorities and don’t push for too much at once.
If you weren’t one of the 37 per cent of UK workers who were hoping to leave their job at the start of the year, you may well be looking for a promotion from your current role. The Institute of Leadership and Management, which conducted the survey on career plans, said that we’re now seeing “the return of ambition to the UK workforce” after years in the doldrums.
But what is the best way to approach getting a promotion?
LOUD AND CLEAR
First – and it might sound obvious – make sure you’re clear and confident about what it is you want, before embarking on a bid to move up the ladder.
Writing in the Guardian, psychologist Denise Taylor says that it’s not enough to just think you deserve a promotion because, say, you’ve been with your company for a while: “you must understand and clearly demonstrate how you meet the requirements”. Being clear in your own mind will make it far easier to convince others, so revisit your credentials and what you’ve achieved in your role to date.
At the same time, avoid asking for too much at once, advises author and workplace expert Lynn Taylor, writing for Forbes. Many employees want a promotion, pay rise and new privileges at the same time, but this will likely irritate your boss, she warns. “Know your priorities and work down the list as concisely as possible.”
PAVE THE WAY
And before you come to have the all-important conversation, make sure you’ve prepared the ground as well as possible. Having your boss on side is vital, says Denise Taylor. She suggests that, prior to discussing the promotion, you should schedule a one-to-one review with him or her: “seek honest feedback from your manager on how you match up to higher levels within your company.” It might be, she adds, that you need to learn to take a more strategic, rather than tactical, view of your organisation.” This will make it clear that you mean business, while also giving you a practical way forward.
But not everyone is fortunate enough to have a good relationship with their manager. If this is you, says Jayson DeMers, founder of content marketing firm AudienceBloom, writing for Inc.com, “speak with your boss’s supervisor or find another member of your department who outranks him/her.” Talking to someone more senior than your boss may well boost your chances, he says. But always keep the latter in the loop – in the interest of transparency.
A STRONG CASE
In his 2012 book Earn What You’re Really Worth, Brian Tracy says that “the future belongs to the askers.” Getting the response you want comes from building the right case, he says. In addition to writing a list of the jobs you currently do and the skills you’ve developed (and Tracy suggests putting those in writing to your manager), show the financial impact your work is having on the company. “In many cases, you will get [a promotion] simply by asking... in an intelligent way,” he adds.
And if your request is turned down, don’t be afraid to ask what you need to do to get there at a later date, he adds.
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