One of the most common questions I get from my career coaching clients is how to get promoted. And, relatedly, the most common complaint I hear is lack of career progression. Today, I’m sharing five key tips to help you get promoted, which I devised based on my 2+ decades of working in corporate America. I started slowly and learned everything the hard way. Eventually, I figured it out and moved up to GM and VP roles within a few years.
Here we go:
1. Identify the organizational gap
To get promoted, there must be a spot available for you. This gap can be on your own team, or it can be in other teams. You might be replacing your manager, or you might be leveling-up into a brand new role. But you must identify the organizational gap and justify the need to fill it.
To do this, start by observing the organizational dynamics. Then ask around and think critically. Will someone above you leave or move up? If that happens, what will happen next? Do you know your boss’s boss well? How can you demonstrate that you’re ready to take on the more senior role? Answering these questions is the first step.
2. Get yourself a ‘godfather’
When I say you need a godfather, I mean you need the support of a key influencer inside the organization, someone who is willing to go to bat for you. This person might be two or three levels above you. They should be well-versed in the organization’s politics and well-respected there, and they should also have a good track record of promoting people on their team. When you’re under the wing of an influential senior leader, you will be well-positioned for promotion.
3. Work on your executive presence
This doesn’t mean you have to talk like a CEO or VP—but it does mean that you need to carry yourself in a manner that is consistent with the higher-level people in your company. Demonstrate your leadership fit and influence within the organization.
How do you establish executive presence? Model one or more senior leaders in your company. Observe and study their ways. Schedule some time to meet with them, share ideas, and demonstrate that you’re an emerging leader.
4. Excel in your current role
No organization is a 100-percent meritocracy; however, stellar performance will get you noticed. Reach out for help on projects if you need it, and make sure you and your team get credit for all your hard work. This also helps establish your credibility and influence.
5. Make your boss more successful
No matter how well-connected you are, your boss still has a lot of control over you. They will be writing your reviews and recommending you for future projects. When you help your boss look good, they reward you in kind. Be the employee they can always count on for excellent work.
Create your success
I’m shaping a new group of successful corporate leaders. If you need help getting promoted and creating business success, please contact me.