You have worked hard to get where you are but you fancy a promotion, perhaps it will be your first step into management, or you wish to make the move from middle to senior management. But how do you go about it, and what things should you consider?
1. Look at the bigger picture. Firstly ask yourself what you want to achieve, not just at work but also outside, with your family, friends, community etc. Will a promotion fit with your broader life goals? Taking on a more senior role will require some sacrifices (certainly in the short term), and you need to be clear whether or not the price is worth paying.
2. Understand the role you want. Do you really know what it will be like in a more senior role? Are you prepared to take on additional responsibility, be more flexible, cope with the organisation’s politics and more? The best way to find out is to ask. Find people who are already doing a similar role and ask them what they think and feel about the job. You may find that it is not for you!
3. Get a mentor. Mentors are invaluable. They understand how the organisation works and have a great network of contacts. They will be a critical friend for you, commenting on things you do well and identifying things you can improve on. They can also help to introduce you to the right people, and open the right doors.
4. Work outside your comfort zone. Try to do things that you haven’t done before. Offer to work on a cross functional project, stand in for your boss, get involved in a presentation to the board. Doing these things will build your confidence as well as your visibility in the organisation.
5. Tell others how good you are! For most people this can be uncomfortable and unnatural. However, senior managers and others within an organisation may not know you or your achievements. Therefore, make sure you have your name on a least one important success and let others know about it.
6. Keep learning. Attend management training programmes aimed at developing the skills you need. In addition, read books, attend seminars, and become a member of a professional body. In this way you will demonstrate to the organisation that you are committed to learning and development.
7. Be a great resource. People get noticed when they take responsibility for issues and resolve them. Think about the problems that your organisations faces. Identify some solutions and present them with your recommended course of action to your boss.
Finally, if you really want that promotion ask for it! Your boss will not be a mind reader so unless you let them know what your hopes and aspirations are how can they help you?