Moving up the career ladder is not easy, requesting a promotion can be daunting and stressful, especially given the current economic climate and uncertainty. Whether you are in a startup business or multinational company, similar rules apply. We interviewed Shamayun Miah, a senior executive in the tech industry with extensive experience in management consulting. He has spent the last twenty years advising clients on digital transformation, AI, automation, cloud and digital business models. As a senior executive he shared valuable insight into what it takes to get promoted with us.
“It was a tough decision, but you did not make it; we only had one role and had to give it to Joe, but next year I am sure it will be you,” “We are in a pandemic, and things are uncertain so not a good time for promotion,” “You have massive potential, be patient, your time will come, next year definitely!” Sounds familiar?
Unfortunately, the most talented, hardworking people are not always the ones to get promoted. Getting promoted is hard; it requires a focused campaign and development plan. Sadly, promotions are not always based on merits alone; politics play a part in some corporate culture, so be aware, be streetwise and understand what motivates the company.
You need to do many things to move up the career ladder. Sometimes it is about taking on extra assignments or responsibilities at work. Other times it is about networking with people who can help your career.
Here are some tips from Shamayun Miah that could help you move up the career ladder:
Think long-term and don’t neglect your career ambitions; promotion is undoubtedly essential but not the final destination. Instead, think about what you want to do and what will intellectually challenge you.
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Too many people get engrossed, where the promotion becomes the centre of gravity of work, continuously building pressure, always trying too hard and to please. Such behaviour negatively impacts your job, is counterproductive, and can hurt your promotion chances. It’s easy to lose focus when there are so many things you want to achieve in your career. You’ll feel like you can’t get anywhere if you don’t move up the ladder fast enough, but the ones who move up the fastest are those who stay focused on their present task and make sure it gets done correctly. Don’t worry about what’s next; focus on the job at hand.
The best promotions are the ones where your manager unexpectedly offers you a new role, with greater responsibility, and by the way, it comes with a promotion.
Promotion is about moving up, taking greater responsibility, expanding capabilities, and sometimes doing a different role and, in some cases, moving to unchartered territories. So think carefully about handling this newfound promotion and what you will add to the organisation.
Promotions are often based on a business case. This is very much the case in the management consulting and technology industry, where the company is looking to get more value from you, so know your worth and how you will add value. If you are asking for a promotion, make sure it is a win-win for both the company and you. The promotion could also be an opportunity to transform your skills, competencies, and leadership.
Don’t ask too much when discussing promotions, as this sets the expectation very high, sometimes unattainable; asking for unreasonable salary increases, benefits, or the Group MD role may frustrate your manager and hinder your promotion. Be realistic! Also, make sure the timing is right and carefully plan the discussion to be meaningful. Set your goals with your manager, be specific and timebound, crystal clear. This will help you demonstrate your value to your company in your appraisal and future promotion discussions.
What Concrete Steps Could Put You on a Fast Track to Promotion?
Give more value than you receive – Just because you have worked for a company for many years does not entitle you to a promotion, said Shamayun Miah. To get that promotion, you need to give more value to your company. Providing value to others is an excellent way of getting what you want. Taking time to understand what your company and your boss needs and how you can help them achieve this goes a long way in building relationships at work and building a positive reputation in your company.
Propose a new initiative or idea – Taking the lead also helps to move up the career ladder. Look for opportunities where you can make a difference. Try proactively looking for ways to improve processes, increase revenue, cut costs, or raise the bar in terms of quality. Proposing a new initiative or idea shows that you are proactive and willing to go the extra mile for your company. Be known for something, your brand! Small success will make you happier. When you are passionate and enthusiastic about what you have done, it rubs off on others and helps to inspire others.
Observe the ones who have been promoted – One of the best ways to move up the career ladder is to observe those who have been promoted. What do they do that you don’t? What are their strengths? Try and find out what makes them successful and emulate those behaviours. You might find that some of them don’t even work harder than you. What do they do differently?
Ask for Feedback and Advice
It’s tough asking for feedback and advice, especially if you feel it can be interpreted as criticism or lack of confidence in your abilities. However, the upside of asking for honest feedback and advice is that it allows you to get a good idea of what your boss thinks of you, how you can improve in your role, and how well you are doing.
Be a Team Player
Teamwork is essential for any company or organisation. No one can achieve success by themselves. Being a team player shows that you are willing to put the team first and be a valuable asset to the organisation. It also builds relationships and creates a good working environment. When you are genuinely committed as a team player and do so without expecting anything back from your colleagues or for that promotion, you can achieve great things. It should be part of your core value.
Strong Work Ethic
Working hard is a must to move up the career ladder. Successful people have put in the hard work and dedication necessary to get where they are. It’s no coincidence that successful people work extremely hard. Therefore, you have to be prepared to work hard and put in the time to move up the ladder.
Be Open to Feedback and Criticism
Being open to constructive criticism is an excellent way of learning from your mistakes or shortcomings. Being aware of your weaknesses is the first step in overcoming them, so don’t get defensive when you are criticised. Instead, listen carefully and take on board what others have to say. It will help you become a better person and a better professional. You can’t improve if you don’t know what areas need work. If you do not get the promotion, ask for feedback, don’t be defensive, annoyed, or aggressive. How you conduct yourself will show your strength to your manager and could set you up for the next big job!
It’s hard to stay motivated when things are tough, but it’s essential if you want to move up the career ladder. Find ways to motivate yourself and keep your energy level high. Some people find inspiration in their work; others find inspiration in their family or friends. Find what works for you and stick to it. It will help you stay focused and driven, according to Shamayun Miah. It would help if you were your own biggest cheerleader.
Moving up the career ladder can be a challenge, but it is achievable with hard work and dedication. The most important thing to remember is to focus on your current task and maintain a positive attitude. Be a team player, show enthusiasm at work, and take the lead when appropriate. Observe those who have been successful in the past and emulate their behaviours. When you do all of these things, success will be within reach.