Five ways to prove you are ready for promotion in 2015

Five ways to prove you are ready for promotion in 2015

You may feel like you deserve to be promoted next year, but how do you demonstrate that you are really worthy of promotion, perhaps ahead of your peers?

You may have the numbers to back up your claim – quantifiable performance measures that show consistent delivery – but promotion usually requires enhanced business skills as well as strong emotional intelligence.

These are more subtle competencies. Here are five actions you can take to demonstrate you are ready to move up the ladder:

• Make your ambitions clear. Put your hand up. Career confidence is knowing what you want and asking for it.

Find out how the promotion process works and get as much information as possible about how to progress. Demonstrate initiative and desire to grow. Proactively ask for feedback (taking any developmental feedback that is negative with good grace – it’s meant to be helpful).

Be clear on what you need to do differently in the next role and understand what you have to do now to bridge the gap. Well-constructed, 360-degree surveys are invaluable for giving insight.

Seek out training/coaching where you need it – on financial management or strategic planning skills, for example. Work hard to improve with each project/task you get and show that you take your career development seriously.

It’s not enough to be good at your job. You have to be visibly good at your job, too, and put yourself forward. Look ahead: find some role models further up the organisation or externally and build formal or informal mentoring relationships with them.

• Look, think and behave like you are already in the next role. Show that you are already performing like a leader and that you can fit in with the leadership team. Are you thinking strategically about the greater good of the business, its customers and other stakeholders, or are you just concerned about your own performance?

Good leaders or managers naturally coach weaker employees and are often sought out as mentors, so share your own knowledge generously, training new hires and building cross-functional relationships. Take responsibility when you can, and don’t wait for opportunities to come to you by chance.

Where possible, offer solutions rather than simply state problems and don’t align yourself with moaners who do nothing to change the status quo. Get feedback on the first impression you make – your confidence and body language.

• Show that you can influence and motivate other people. Crucial to strong leadership is having the great communication skills to be able to really engage with others. This means two-way communication: your reports tell you exactly what’s going on and you in turn are clear on what you want them to do.

To energise people you need to listen to them, praise them, reward them, delegate to them, appreciate them and pull them up where appropriate. These are skills that can be learned but sadly we often learn from bad managers, not good ones. Notice the effect of your words and actions and see if you can improve their impact.

Are those late-night emails really necessary or are you just creating stress and giving the impression that you don’t manage your time effectively? A more career-enhancing approach would be to move away from your screen and start talking. Show that you genuinely care about developing the people beneath you, by getting involved in recruiting and managing talent and succession planning.

• Demonstrate resilience. Resilience means bouncing back when things go wrong and learning to adapt to rapidly changing, unpredictable situations. Managers are expected to manage change successfully and still deliver. Traits such as being positive, flexible and focused strengthen resilience.

Demonstrate that you already manage your emotional reactions to recover quickly when there are failures, whoever is at fault. Showing you can work under greater pressure makes you a safe pair of hands in any business context. Also, be sensitive to other people’s reactions to stressful circumstances, adapting your management style to suit the individual.

• Show respect for people of diverse backgrounds. Leaders need to trust that their managers will take responsibility for enabling a diverse and inclusive work environment. Managing diversity means acknowledging people’s differences and recognising these differences as valuable; this is now called cultural competence.

Show that you can talk about cultural differences and be equally effective relating to colleagues from backgrounds and experiences that differ from yours as you are with those who are culturally similar to you. You might usefully spend some time thinking about your own culture, identity, subconscious biases and stereotypes and about how all these impact on the work environment you want to create around you. Show a willingness to challenge work practices that could present barriers to different groups. Do you need to be more emotionally mature and change the way you engage with people?

Zena Everett is an executive career coach, offering career coaching and international outplacement programmes in London, the rest of the UK and Ireland.

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