Have you been passed up for a promotion?  Or seen other people get promoted when you thought you were more qualified?   Do you often wonder why it happened to you?  Is it because you did not work hard enough?  There could be a laundry list of reasons why you did not get the promotion.   But the ultimate goal is to be honest about your skills and understand what is needed to be promoted to the next level.

Everyone starts their career as a single performer.  As single performers, we are judged by our individual contributions and delivery.  By that I mean the body of work you produce pertaining to the position or level that you’re in.   The key to differentiating yourself is learning the business and being proactive in learning new things and seeking assignments that challenge you.

As you progress in your career, you’ll reach a point where you’ll be leading others.  There could be one or more people reporting to you and you’ll be responsible for a process or system.  You’re measured by your ability to deliver results and manage your small team.

As you gain more experience in managing people, you’ll see yourself managing large teams and taking on more responsibilities.  At this point, you’ll be measured by your ability to deliver results, influence, negotiate, collaborate, innovate and think in terms of strategy.  Some of you could be great task managers, but there could be instances where your ability to think strategically is what will get you to the next level.   As you can see, each level requires varying skills and capabilities.  Therefore it is important to continue to sharpen our saws and learn new things.

So, how do we really position ourselves for promotion?

  • Be honest with yourself and analyze your skills.  Once you identify your weaknesses, make sure to find ways to improve your weaknesses.   If you don’t improve yourself, then you’ll really minimize your opportunities.
  • Differentiate yourself from others by learning new things or sharing your knowledge with others.  You want to be known as a reliable person whom they can depend on.  Be consistent and avoid mental lapses that can demonstrate that you don’t have it together.
  • Plan and organize your work. Don’t just fly by the seat of your pants.   Make sure to get the work done based on your work priorities.  Learn to manage your time and coordinate and delegate when needed.
  • Seek to learn new things and improve your skills. One cannot survive by doing the same thing year in and year out and expect to be promoted.  Advancement in technology and changes to business rules provide us with opportunity to learn new things.  Take advantage of such opportunity to show your management that you can push the envelope.  This could also mean going back to school or getting your masters.
  • Share your knowledge. Sometimes people think that if they are the go-to person, they increase their value, but it is the opposite that’s true.  When you don’t have a backup, you end up being stuck in that job and miss out on the opportunities that might otherwise be available to you.  Share your knowledge and empower others.  By far the most important thing to note.
  • Seeking to get to the next level:  Seek to learn what it takes to get to that level.   Rest assured that doing what you’re doing now and applying your current skills will not get you there.  Observe people who are at a senior level and put in the time to learn and expand your knowledge.  Seek a mentor or coach to help you develop your overall capabilities.
  • Give back to your organization. Seek opportunities to help others and work on volunteer projects that can provide you with the opportunity to showcase your skills and interact with other people in your organization.
  • Put your best put forward. No matter what the situation and circumstances that led to you missing out on a promotion, always do your best and never waver.    It does not mean that you cannot be disappointed.  It means that you’ll be consistent and continue to do the right thing because other people in your organization are relying on you.

The above list is based on my experiences in my over 21-year career.   Self-improvement often starts with the realization that you need to improve yourself and learn new things.   Commit yourself to learning new things every year and sharing your knowledge.

At the end of day, you might not attain the level you so desired, but the most important thing is that you can look your children/family in the eye and tell them that you did your very best. It was not because of lack of trying, rather it was something out of your control.    Let me know that you think of my post.

Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM
Will Lukang, MBA, PMP, MASCL, SCM, is an enabler. He loves coaching and mentoring people. He always looks at the positive side of every situation. He is a public speaker in Leadership, and he is a certified project manager from PMI. He has more than 21 years of experience in the Information Technology Industry. Connect with Will on his LeadChange profile, his blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM

Latest posts by Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM (see all)

Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM