Self Reflectors before Promotion

April 21, 2016 5 mins read
Self Reflectors before Promotion

Economy turmoil, market plateau, ending of industries, headcount freezes, lay-offs from major organizations are some of the major hot topics lately.  Many use these as convenient excuses to overlook. As professional recruiters, candidates frequently tell us that they are not rewarded or recognized by proper promotions hence they wish to explore external opportunities.  Truth be told, many have not paid enough attention on several key components necessary to be granted with promotions that they could have done to avoid the gap of expectations.

The idea and what it takes for a job well done and to be recognized have changed from the traditional steady industries and the new and fast growing new era.  Let’s talk about some necessary components in order to cook an appropriate promotion that most of us desire.  The whom, the what, how, and the when are all equally important to identify and be aware of as soon as you join the company.

Communication – The linguistic and logic perspectives are fundamental and obviously are well taken into consideration.  Moreover, how do you carry yourself and communicate internally and externally with different partners, stakeholders, management teams and obviously clients of different levels. Not only the presentation of the communication are highly valued but also the maturity and content.  Last but not least how and if you express responsively to allow management team to understand your ideas and thoughts of your career progression and desire.   If you do not express yourself and explain your intention, chances are your managers may not understand the underlying messages and this create a misunderstanding and gap of expectations.  This is a critical part of planning for your own career in the earlier stage of each position.  

Professional & technical capability – This is obviously the foundation of any workforce as you have to have the necessary professional ability to be able to carry your own weight at the very least and potentially outshine others by results or effort; the lower the level the more this criteria weighs in proportion of promotion.   

Initiative and ownership – This may be viewed as a surface or act of superficial behavior by some but what management team wants to see are the actual attitude and commitment we put in to not only the tasks we are assigned to but also what more we can proactively take on that would not only benefit your potential results but also to ease the pressure from management. If you only stick to our highly-defined job scope and description, unwilling to take on any extra work & responsibilities, you are merely putting yourself in a simple and vulnerable position as you're not only easier to replace but also deemed not willing to share or take on more responsibilities; a.k.a those quality and traits of what a more senior position should possess.  

Understanding of business – The fundamental concept of how the company's business is ran, the market sector it's in, business model, the direction it's going towards, main competitions, strategy are all crucial information you need to care or understand especially on how your work partake in the changing result of the business as a whole. Some will have to have to change the job details and scope to adapt to the change or new goal of the business.  Many of us are so focussed and caught up with the daily operation and business ordeals that we forget to lift our head and lose sight of the business from a larger picture hence are stuck only making short term targets and goals.

Leadership – This is a big topic as leadership can mean many different levels and types vary by the scale of team and business as well as the business models. Let's stick to the typical characteristics that one need to possess such as leading by example in the way we talk, act and make decisions base on the information gathered (or lack of information gathered). The systematic approach you carry to help gauge your work's control points and implement on the team to follow.  How your management methodology can fit into the organization and the members you will lead; how do you encourage, inspire others to want to be and act like you are all very important.  A good leadership style is to literally lead from the front and trusting your team with your back instead of having to micromanage every step of the way and having to push your team to inch forward. Leadership potential is quite critical.  Being a leader is not the only and absolute must have in order to get a promotion depending on the line of work you are in; however, the more potential or readiness you possess means you are more likely to be able to influence, coach and improve the performance of organization by on a larger scale. 

"Whom": Management Team - First of all, you need to understand whom are responsible for the recommendation and decision making of your hiring & promotion. This may be your line managers, or in some cases the HR team may be able to provide a strong input and also design a path.  You will also engage them accordingly and understand whether or not you will want to do what they do to link with your desire for promotion. 

In light of the above points and traits, it is strongly recommended to all career professionals to run a self reflection check throughout their career especially to use as reminders for career progression guideline. It goes without saying that the best approach recommended for one is to show the capability or signs of capability before engage for advancement. 

There are obviously some occasions that due to the structure or political issues resulting in organization change which prohibits the promotion of someone whom have already met the promotion criteria; however, your skill set and maturity would be attractive for other employers as well by then. 

Alan Li's picture
Operations Director, Greater China
ali@morganmckinley.com