Boss, Promote Me! I’m Ready.


By John Riley

 When an employee raises this issue in a performance review, it’s usually not a surprise because the boss  is thinking the same thing about her career. But, for both the timing isn’t right. Faced with an uncertain economy, executives at companies  large and small have reduced staff and heaped more responsibilities on surviving managers at all levels, frequently without compensating them financially or with a new title. In the process, managers seek to cope by working longer and harder.

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 However, there is a better way.  Deliver a performance the executive management  can’t ignore.

When that happens, you will break out of the pack and be on the fast track to promotion.

 What I am suggesting is that you concentrate on mastering four skills: organization and planning, communications, managing people and problem solving.  Working within the company culture and on work teams are two high profile venues management uses to evaluate managers effectiveness. So that’s where you need to showcase your skills. While other skills are important too, they aren’t nearly as likely to get you promoted as mastering these four.

 Company culture is an amalgam of many things. Most often, it is strongly reflective of the CEO and his or her vision and values. Cultural habits and norms are powerful reinforcements of the status quo so it is vitally important that you aware of and understand the culture.  That’s because, at one time or another , you will want to execute an idea or project and find out some aspect or element of the culture has become a barrier to your success.  To be effective, you have to know how to change or get around that barrier.

 Working on teams, particularly as team lead, demands great people skills. And here I would suggest you insist on receiving some training before taking on a team lead position. Conflict resolution is one ingredient of that training that is essential.  As team lead, there will be negotiation and discussion upwards, sideways and downward in the organizational chain which will give you the opportunity to show how to get things done through others among other things.

 Organization and planning is ever present in any manager’s job.  One of the fundamental precepts managers need to keep in mind is, what got our company here today, isn’t what will get us where we want to be in the future.  You have to overcome the fact that It’s always more comfortable to do what you’ve been doing than to change.

 Managers spend over 70% of their time communicating.  Unfortunately, the message we usually  hear is completely different than the one that was sent.  According to recent studies, approximately 90% of our understanding of personal communication comes from non-verbal things  such as body language. However, the biggest problem in communicating  is poor listening skills; active listening is considered a learned behavior.

 Companies that have success year after year characteristically have core values that remain fixed. These values play a vital role in managing people so know them well.  Motivating employees helps maintain and exceed performance levels. Whether by incentive programs or introducing new and more difficult tasks, the manager’s role is to make it happen.

 Problem solving and making decisions is at the core of a manager’s responsibilities.  Prioritize your problems first. You don’t want to react to a problem, you want to understand it. Then, if it’s a complex problem, break it down into parts and begin to deal with it one part at a time.  There are excellent analytical tools to help and you should know what they are.  If it’s a decision your boss has to make, take it to him, but with your recommendations on what should be done.  

 There are a variety of ways to master the four skills, i.e. books, community college courses, company training programs, or watching how other managers have progressed up the promotion ladder. Whatever avenue you choose, start now and then you can tell your boss, “Promote Me! I’m ready.”

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