The social sector is frequently stereotyped for ‘overworking and underpaying’ its employees. But that’s not true across the board – strong leadership knows the value of a good employee and is generally willing to demonstrate that if it’s made clear to them. Here are six tips you can use this year that will help make the promotion case to your boss:
- Document all accomplishments and positive feedback. Whether this is a folder in your inbox where you file responses to your ideas or projects or a simple sheet of paper by your desk where you make a note each time you accomplished something significant, keep track! Not only is this useful for annual performance evaluations, but this also makes keeping your resume updated a breeze – including your verbal resume (the way you narrate your experience to others).
- Ask for a performance evaluation. Some organizations don’t institute regular performance evaluations but this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for them. Wherever your team falls on the spectrum, request one from your supervisor. Give them plenty of lead-time, explain that you want to be exceeding expectations, and ask to set aside time to clarify what expectations are for your role and how you are meeting your supervisor’s expectations.
- Be first and last. To arrive (first), to leave (last), to offer proactive solutions (first), to complain (last). You get the gist. Basically, make it so obvious that you’re excelling that it’s almost obvious you’re in a position to move up.
- Dress and behave for the role you want. This old adage holds true. Answering after work emails and dressing up for Board meetings, along with other efforts, can express your maturity, team orientation, and ability to stay in communication when something is urgent. Managers notice all of these things and while, yes, it would be great if work stayed from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, that ship seems to have sailed in this past decade and availability during a broader range of hours is increasingly becoming the norm.
- Be supportive to others. Your direct supervisor isn’t the only individual you should build a relationship with. Anyone who is higher on the org chart should see that you excel in your role. And when you support peers, this can also go a long way in highlighting your collaboration and leadership skills. Bear in mind your manager might have to share any budget increases (such as a raise for you) with her fellow department managers and if you are one day managing former peers, it is never too early to establish strong working relationships.
- Set your own goals. Getting a promotion this year is a great one – but be more specific. Maybe one goal is to lead a project from start to finish. Perhaps one might be to learn a helpful technical skill like pivot tables or adobe illustrator. Push yourself throughout the year with exciting goals to work towards. You’ll be surprised how this will have a positive effect on how your manager experiences your value on the team.
Don’t be deterred if you don’t get an immediate yes. Ask for specific milestones you can work on and regular feedback on how you’re doing to meet those goals. Part of the initial conversation may even be creating a new role that encompasses your objectives and the company’s future requirements. Request a three- or six-month follow up conversation. This frequently works because you’ve asked your boss to commit to specific, measurable, mutually agreed upon objectives today and in his/her mind put the expense of the promotion off. When your follow up meeting happens, they’ve given you a simple formula for a promotion and if you’ve followed through on your end, they have already (possibly) agreed to the promotion!
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