Two Sure-Fire Ways To Get Promoted: A Guide For Emerging Leaders

Written by on February 7, 2014

When we start our careers, there is so much energy, so much activity, involved with building our own credibility. It is through the process of establishing our standing and authority within our fields that we then have the opportunity to take on roles and assignments that have greater and greater levels of responsibility.

When emerging leaders come to coaching because they want to be promoted, I like to refocus: “This isn’t about promotion as much as it is about building your own credibility, so when people think about a promotion, an assignment, a new position, your name comes to the top of the list.”

“When you’re young, you’re still ‘becoming.’ Now at my age, I am more concerned with ‘being.’” – David Bowie

#1. Focus On Becoming Credible

The “becoming” is doing the job well, collaborating with colleagues, and learning the way things work in your organization. You become more aware of how you fit in, how can you make the greatest contribution, and you learn about those areas in which you do not shine.

In the early stages of a career, or in the early stages of a new role, you are still becoming, and everything you are doing is about credibility. You can build credibility by:

  • Acknowledging the contributions of others when things are going well.
  • Accepting accountability when something does not go well.
    • Stepping forward to put things right, not as a martyr, but as someone who wants to correct the situation and learn from it.
    • Checking back to ensure you really did get it right.
    • Take that opportunity, instead of getting beat up by it, and continue becoming –better, more effective, more confident.
  • Accepting positive feedback humbly and constructive criticism gratefully. In each case, you take the learning to move forward.

#2 Be Conscious Of How You Are Being In Your Role

There comes a time when you have built your credibility around the “doing” and transition into building credibility around the “being.” This is when you start asking questions like:

  • How do I show up to others?
  • How do I think with intention about what I want to do, how I want to do it, and how I want to be as I am doing it?

At this stage, rather than focusing on just yourself and thinking about your own contribution, you think about how to relate to others and move the team’s work forward.

There is a natural transition for people from focusing on building credibility by “doing” to building credibility through “being”. Those who are successful continue to hone their “doing” skills while at the same time, develop greater confidence in their capability. Achieving a promotion is all about bringing to consciousness, “How can I be more effective in the way that I am with others?” How do I focus on “being”?

Becoming and being are fluid states. The world isn’t static, nor is your place in it. While you’re “being,” for instance, you might be “becoming” something else altogether. The point is to be conscious of this and bring greater awareness to yourself and your pursuits. That is how you will achieve true success.