So you want that promotion. But do you have a work ethic that positions you for upward mobility?
In ten years, I was promoted four times, moving from Filing Clerk to Assistant Manager, and eventually had people appealing to me for a promotion.
I’ve been thinking about what makes people promotable and so I’ve put together 5 tips on how to become a more attractive prospect.
Find out what exactly you need to get a promotion
If you don’t know what you’re “lacking” then you won’t know how to fix it. Maybe it’s time to have a frank discussion with your manager on what practical steps you can take to be promoted.
That conversation does two things:
- It lets your manager know you’re interested in being promoted and puts you on their radar, and
- It helps you to plan what you need to do to get the promotion and set up SMART goals to help you stay on track.
Once you’ve set up and achieved all the steps you both agreed on, you can go back to your boss and let them know that you’re ready for the promotion.
Observe general work practices in your workplace
Notice that I didn’t say observe good work practices or observe bad work practices. That’s because any work ethic can teach you something.
Adopt good work practices and stay away from bad ones. Here’s an example of a bad habit that I had to grow out of.
Say someone asks you, “Why do you do this task this way?” Your answer should never be, “I don’t know. That’s how I was taught.”
The “I don’t know” is the main issue with this practice. It shows complacency and a satisfaction with ignorance. It also prevents you from mastering the job functions you’re primarily, or secondarily, responsible for.
Look at what you do on a daily basis and make sure that you know why you do them. Who knows? Maybe you can even figure out a more efficient way to get them done.
You need to focus on bring solutions, not problems
Whiners and complainers are only tolerable if they have some idea of how to solve the problems they have. One of the things that a former supervisor of mine used to ask when I brought problems to her was, “Have you thought of a solution?”
Even if your solution is incomplete or outside your capacity, you should always make the effort to suggest solutions for the problems you are seeing and highlighting.
Say you’re told that you can’t get promoted because you don’t have the right degree. What’s a solution for that? Formal Education may be outside of your budget. However it’s becoming much easier and much more affordable to take short courses. They may not all be accredited, but maybe you can promote your method of getting the knowledge you need.
And if your boss insists that you need to have a degree to get the position, then check if there are any options for the company to help you to pay for school. You could even try seeking help from friends and mentors to think of some out-of-the-box way to get it done.
Learn how to filter criticism effectively
People are biased, and not everything they say about you is useful, or true. We generally want to control our own worlds to make it safe for us, and this extends to how other people behave in our worlds too.
That means that you are subject to how people think you should operate. It’s up to you to take the criticisms from the people who matter, hold onto the good and discard all the bad.
A supervisor of mine often said that I stopped listening when I disagreed with something. My supervisor’s intention wasn’t to shut me up and get me to ‘toe the line’, but for me to make an effort to listen completely without jumping to conclusions.
I agreed and took the steps to curb this bad habit, and have met with some success – at least, I hope so.
Don’t wait to be taught how to do everything. Go figure it out.
Yes, you need guidance on how to do your job. But your intention should be to become increasingly independent. Supervisors like people who don’t always need them to hold their hands to get the job done.
Also, even if your supervisor wants to help you, they may not have the time right at that moment, which may impact your deliverables.
If you need to learn how to use a formula in Excel to simplify a task – Google it. If you still can’t figure it out, then ask for help. The point is, aim to become a master of whatever you’re responsible for.
Your overall objective here is to become the favourite, and not by being a suck up. You want to prove that you can be trusted with greater responsibilities.
So try these tips, and let’s see where you land.
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