It happens to the best of us. You did not get the promotion you wanted and think you deserved. This hurts, it is frustrating, but it is not a career ender. You can choose to mope and get angry, or you can learn from this experience by taking a look at yourself and the situation to figure out the reason you were skipped over.
Here are three common reasons even the most talented, qualified professionals can’t get a promotion.
1. You Are Not Promoting Your Work:
One of the more common reasons I see hardworking professionals get passed up for a promotion is because they fail to promote the value they bring to the organization. Many people believe working hard, achieving goals and going above and beyond will speak for itself to the value they offer. But, let’s get real, your boss is not psychic and we live in a world where we have more to do than the hours in the day will allow! It is all about gaining visibility. If your manager can’t easily name the key areas in which you have contributed to the organization, you are missing out on possible career advancing opportunities.
I want to be clear, when I speak of promoting your work, I am not asking you to be a self-interested, self-absorbed, self-promoter. I am saying it is time to stop relying on corporate lip service and start focusing on how to be recognized for the merit of your work and overall contributions.
Here are four simple way’s to promote the value of your work without looking like a braggart:
Send weekly updates to your boss, telling him/her what you are working on and what you’ve accomplished.
Focus on the work – talk about the outcome instead of what you did to accomplish it.
Tell a story – talk about your accomplishments in a way that will help others who are working on similar projects be successful.
Volunteer to facilitate meetings or for projects that will showcase your strengths.
2. You Are Not Open To Feedback:
Being closed off to constructive feedback is a promotion killer without a doubt. We have all been guilty of this at times, but I am referring to individuals who consistently:
Act defensively to a perceived criticism.
Think the problem is always with others, never with themselves
Refuse to change, even though what they are doing is not working
The hardest part of doing good business is not necessarily the day-to-day tasks involved, but managing the human behaviours. Criticism is hard to take, but it is essential for you to not only identify weaknesses and areas of improvement, but just as important, to foster business relationships that are open and honest.
When we hear criticism or areas of improvement, it can hurt and feel personal. Additionally, it does not help people are not that great at giving feedback, so hearing it is not always easy. Here are three things I find helpful in receiving and processing feedback:
Don’t react. At the first sign of criticism, before you do or say anything – stop. You have a minuscule window to set the tone for how the conversation will go. Try not to react at all! It is important to show the person giving you the feedback that you are open to what they have to say and care about their opinion. Sometimes this means more than the feedback itself. People want to know you are approachable and willing to work on areas of improvement.
Listen! Just as receiving criticism can be hard, it can be just as hard to give. This is not the time for rebuttal or to think of a way to defend yourself. Allow the person to share his or her complete thoughts, without interruption. After the person is done talking, repeat back what you heard, so he or she knows you were listening and understand their issues.
Define a plan for addressing the issues. A plan is the best way to put you back in control of the situation. Send a follow-up email to the person who gave you the feedback, with what you heard and your plan to make the appropriate changes. It is also important to review your plan weekly to assure you are on track.
Be proactive. Receiving feedback; good or bad, is essential to your professional growth and to understand the expectations your manager and others have of you. Don’t wait for the feedback to be shared, seek it out regularly. You will not only gain the respect of your manager and peers, but help foster good business relationships.