Monday, March 3, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Didn't Get That Promotion

career tips
10 Reasons Why You Didn't Get That Promotion.  Such a touchy subject.  Who doesn't at some point feel like they were wronged or undervalued at work?  Whether you might have blamed your manager or the politics that can sometimes plague a workplace, I would like to instead focus on things you can actually change.

Below are a list of 10 Reasons Why You Didn't Get That Promotion, and the best part?  You can actually OWN it, IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES to grow, and CHANGE your BEHAVIOR, so you can get that FUTURE PROMOTION.  So, let's dive in:

  1. You Approach Your Manager With Problems Only:  A promotable employee always goes to their manager, not only with a problem, but at least 2 to 3 well-researched solutions and a recommendation on how to move forward.  Think about it.  Which employee would you rather have?  The one who brings you more work, or the one who presents you choices and answers?
  2. You Do Not Have Competitive Competency:  In other words, to be promoted, you need to be an expert in your field.  If you are not doing well at this, then it will usually show up in the form of missing deadlines, not meeting goals, or other team members having to take on more work because you are not pulling your weight.  You might even be on a performance improvement plan.  Sorry but a good leadership team cannot in good faith promote a poor performing employee.
  3. You Do Not Own Your Own Development:  To the above point, if you are struggling in your job and you genuinely feel like you did not get enough training or were not set up for success, then create your own performance improvement plan.  If you do not, you will probably be put on one by your manager which is a lot less fun.  You want to be proactive in this situation and control your own destiny.  If you cannot find training at your company, research and find some workshops or seminars that will.  If the company will not pay for it, then invest in yourself and pay for it out of your own pocket.  Control what you can.  High performers manage their own career path.  You have to be willing to invest in your own personal and professional development, otherwise, no one else will.
  4. You Didn't Ask For the Promotion:  So many times I think we expect our managers to naturally recognize our hard work and offer us a promotion, and when that does not happen, many people become disenchanted and look for another job.  Instead I encourage you to have this type of conversation with your boss, "I really enjoy working here.  I have been thinking a lot about my career goals and was hoping we could discuss possible career paths here.  I have researched some job titles and roles that I would like to strive for and would like to hear your thoughts so I can map out what I need to do to get there."  I caution you to make sure you have #2 covered before you attempt this one.  Meaning, make sure you are doing a good job in your current role before asking what is next.
  5. You Are Not a Change Agent:  Companies are changing strategies and tactics everyday.  If they don't, they risk becoming obsolete.  This means that they need employees and leaders who can be change agents.  That means that not only do you have to be okay with change, but you actually have to make others feel good about change.  This is hard, but I promise you that if you master this one bullet point, you will be golden for the rest of your career.  Companies LOVE employees who can roll with the punches, adapt quickly, and motivate others to change.
  6. You Do Not Drink the Kool-Aid:  The promotions usually go to the employees who are passionate about the business.  I mean really.  Who would you promote?  The employee who signs up for all the company events, shares great ideas in meetings, and smiles every morning or the Debbie Downer who is always complaining to her peers about a lack of resources and changing directives.  Leaders need to be role models for other employees.  Good managers will promote the employees who display the type of behavior they want all their other employees to emulate.  Imagine cloning yourself 10 times.  Would you want to work with those 10 clones?  If you paused, then there is probably an opportunity for you to reflect right now.
  7. You Do Not Think About the Business as a Whole:  Promotable employees are strategic.  They understand the bigger picture and firmly see where they are going.  For example, you might love an IT system because it is technically superior to the competition, but it may also be super expensive, more than you need, and not truly serve the needs of the business.  A promotable employee will recognize the the difference and be able to articulate it to management.
  8. You Do Not Work Well With Others:  Do you ever find yourself complaining about the incompetency of other departments?  Do you find you have to task manage everyone?  The best employees are able to intrinsically motivate those around them.  They identify others' strengths and make people feel good about themselves.  To be cliche, they are great collaborators and dealmakers.  As you climb the corporate ladder, the more strategic you need to be, and the more you will accomplish through your relationships with other managers.  So yes, if you want to get promoted, you must play well with others.
  9. You Do Not Dress Up:  People can get really offended here, but it is the truth.  People will treat you differently based on how you present yourself.  Imagine a mail clerk.  Let us even say we have 2 mail clerks.  One dresses in suits every day when he delivers the mail.  The other one wears jeans and sneakers.  If a sales position opened up, which one could you imagine in the role?  See how apparel alone has already swayed you?
  10. You Are Not Visionary:  Leaders are able to paint a picture and inspire others to follow them.  A promotable employee is able to see where the company is going, articulate it in an exciting way, and effectively translate the executive's vision to their employees in executable actions.  If you find yourself more so questioning the management team's decisions and talking about that around the water cooler, then you are still thinking like an individual contributor.  The ones who get promoted are not at the water cooler, but at their desk busy figuring out how to change their current strategy to align with that of the new strategic initiatives.  That is the employee who will get promoted.
So what do you think?  Are you a promotable employee?  Is there anything listed above that could be an opportunity for you to grow?  Let me know if you think I missed anything that would lead to why you didn't get that promotion.  I would love to hear from you.

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