By Perminus Wainaina
“I’m afraid I will never get a promotion!”
This was Joseph’s sentiment during our one on one career coaching session a few months back.
Joseph has been in employment for the last six years. Through this time, he’s been at the same entry-level position. His peers who got into the job sector around the same time as he now hold supervisory and managerial positions.
After three years of no growth, Joseph thought the company he was working for was the problem. He applied for jobs in other organizations, but his applications mostly went unanswered.
For the few interview calls he got, he would soon after receive a regret email.
Joseph decided to stick where he was and work on growing his career.
Years have passed, and still, nothing!
“I feel like I’m the laughing stock amongst my friends!” says Joseph.
“The people whom we graduated together are now building their houses and buying cars, and I’m still here, earning the same salary I was all those years ago.” he continues.
During the career coaching session, I wanted to better understand what had held back Joseph from career growth. More importantly, I wanted to help him get to the next step of his career.
Are you in a similar situation as Joseph?
Are you overdue for a promotion?
Here are three tips that will help you earn that promotion at work;
1. Develop the skills required
While you want to get that promotion, you need to remember there are added responsibilities that come along with the promotion.
Take a managerial position, for example. Besides getting your work done, you’ll also need to supervise other employees in the team. You’ll have to ensure everyone is up to speed on their work, and the team has met its targets.
Additionally, being in a position of leadership means interacting with the team members and identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and how this can impact their productivity at work.
When I asked Joseph if he had taken time to develop effective leadership skills, he admittedly said no.
Before an employer can promote you, they first need to see either leadership skills in you or the very least, you having leadership potential.
Here’s more information on how you can develop effective leadership skills.
2. Align your goals with those of the company
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This is a vague yet helpful question.
The answer to this question can guide you grow in your career, or move to a space that allows you to grow.
Here’s how that can happen;
If you don’t see yourself staying at the organization past the end of the year, you’ll likely not put in as much effort at work. On the other hand, if you plan to stay there for the next three to five years, you’ll be more invested in your work and the results.
What are your goals? What do you want to achieve in the next three to five years?
Once you answer this question, look if you can still achieve your goals while still working at the current position and organization
For instance, if you’re currently earning 50,000 and you want to be earning 150,000 in the next three years, is your company able to pay you that? Is there someone currently earning that much, and if there is, what position do they hold? Finally, can you get to that position, and how long would it take you?
If your current organization can support help you reach your goals, look at what you can do to make that happen. Seek guidance and feedback from your managers on how you can grow professionally.
If you cannot reach your goals while at the company, then it may be time to start planning your exit strategy. Before you decide to leave, however, consult a career coach to see if that is the best move for you and your career.
Joseph wanted a promotion and higher pay. When we went through the above questions, he saw it was possible to attain his goals at the organization.
I encouraged him to get a mentor –a manager who could help him get to a supervisory role.
3. Ask for feedback
Are you the kind of professional who seeks feedback from your supervisor, or do you wait until the annual review?
Joseph admits he rarely asks for feedback.
“As long as I know my work is okay, I don’t normally go looking for my supervisor,” says Joseph.
Yes, you may be performing in your current role, but it’s always advised to keep clear communication between you and your supervisor.
When you actively seek feedback from the employer, you’re able to improve on areas that will help you excel at work. The employer also sees your efforts and initiative to grow and improve.
Moreover, when you create a professional relationship with the supervisor, they are likely to guide you to how you can grow your career.
After the one on one career coaching, Joseph went with a clearer mind and an action plan. He started by enrolling for effective communication training. He also cultivated a professional relationship with one of the managers.
Three months after the career coaching session, joseph got a promotion. He called me later that day bursting with excitement.
“I got a promotion!” he said, “the advice you gave worked out. Now, I have a real shot at growing my career. I’m aiming even higher. Thank you!”
My joy comes from seeing Joseph grow his career. I know the corporate world can be tough to navigate, but with guidance, you too can get the promotion or growth you’re after.
If you’re looking to reach me for a one on one career coaching session, follow this link and I’ll have someone will get in touch.
What will help you get to the next level of your career? Let’s talk…
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through personalized career coaching he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing. Click here for more on career coaching.