So you’ve been working in your job for years and finally that opportunity for promotion which you’ve been waiting for comes along but it’s not going to be that simple is it? You see the rest of your colleagues and team have been waiting for it too and suddenly you’ve turned from a close-knit group of comrades to rivals all vying for this rare opportunity. God only knows when the next chance for a promotion will come up – probably when Stefan, your current line manager, dies but he looks to be in good shape and you can’t see that happening unless he gets hit by a bus. To make matters worse he drives everywhere so there’s definitely no chance of him catching a bus let alone get hit by one. No – You’re going to need to get this job and beat everyone else – so how do you do it?
You will have to be the one that stands out, that’s how – but it’s not going to come down to this application alone – you see when it comes to working in a close knit team your boss already has a good idea of who is capable and who isn’t so you need to sow the seeds for promotion well before such an opportunity arises.
Here are 5 things you can start to do that will help you standout for that promotion when it comes along.
- In every team meeting always take a notepad and pen with you and appear to be writing and interested in whatever issues your boss thinks are important. It doesn’t matter what you’re actually writing in this notepad of yours, hell you could be playing hangman or doodling some drawings but as long as he see’s you as interested and engaged in what he has to say you’ll look like someone who takes what he thinks seriously with a genuine interest and with the same priorities.
- Never be seen to become emotional, upset or angry. In the working environment it’s a sign of weakness unfortunately. When your boss has to choose who to promote he needs someone he feels he can count on that’s going to be strong and sail the ship in his absence – not someone who’s going to fall apart under stress. Someone who is seen to become angry or annoyed too often or even upset will be seen as too vulnerable or a liability to handle a senior position. People in management tend to make ruthless cut-throat decisions such as asking people to work longer or deny them annual leave when a job needs doing. Someone who’s seen as too emotionally weak doesn’t fit the criteria for someone with a backbone strong enough to make those tough calls or handle pressure. Now that’s not to say you can’t be softer once you get the job but you need to at least show you have a strong side to you.
- Volunteer for overtime when the boss asks for it so he can remember you as stepping up. When cover is required and he is seen to ask for it be sure to step up. If its not asked directly by him and through someone else, you don’t have to do it. The point is he remembers you as the one stepping in when cover is needed. If someone else is asking and then seeing you step in, he won’t really know too much of you going out your way to help the cause so its better to do it when he asks so you’re on his radar.
- Always dress well around your seniors although I accept this can be annoying to always do. A few years ago, when I worked in the corporate environment at a major bank, it wasn’t mandatory to wear smart clothes all the time as we weren’t working with the public or partners but I always made sure I wore a shirt, trousers and a decent suit. Many other people always wore casual clothing as it was acceptable to do this. However a re-structuring came along and we all had to reapply for our jobs. One strange thing I noticed was the people “perceived” by senior management as taking their job much more casually through their sense of dress were made redundant. Oddly people that always gave the impression of professionalism (regardless of being good at their job or not) were retained. I realized here that image was everything and it goes a long way. Its not always what you know or how hard you work but how hard you are perceived to be working sometimes and people make snap judgements based on your appearances. It’s one of our biggest senses (sight) so give a good impression always, even if you are not as good as someone else, image can compensate for that.
- Try and be the best at what you do among your colleagues. If you get promoted and your colleagues perceive you as not good enough for the job, they can come to resent you. If you actually try to be the best in what you do and they can see that, it becomes acceptable for them that you are the natural choice and your boss will see that too. He will want to promote someone he feels the rest of the team can come to respect while maintaining harmony and they will respect people who are actually good at their job and work hard. So be the best you can be.
Bio: Saj Devshi teaches psychology students on his website Loopa Psychology Revision– You can find him lurking there.