Have you ridden the elevator to your office every morning, practicing for the day you work up your nerve enough to walk into your supervisor’s office and rattle off a list of reasons why you should move up a rung on the corporate ladder? Whether you’re pushing paper in a cubicle, traveling in the world of sales or myriad jobs in between, it’s natural to want to progress in your career.
Most of us enter the workforce with long-term aspirations. For instance, we may take an entry-level job just to get our feet wet in the industry, planning to advance in a few years. Or, we may enter into a managerial role at the onset with big dreams to join the exclusive C-suite. Yet, before you schedule that conference call or plan that grand office meeting, it’s important to perform a little self-analysis to make sure you’re ready to tackle the new responsibilities that will come should you be granted your request. To that end, here are five signs you’re definitely ready for that promotion.
1. You’re excelling where you already are.
Do you find yourself checking off everything on your to-do list at the end of each day, or do you head for your car at closing time with your head swirling from everything that has yet to be done? While we all have our days where we feel overwhelmed and even ill-prepared, the reality is that before you can step up into a new and more demanding role, you’ll need to have your current one under control as much as possible.
If you’re currently working hard at projects that succeed, produce results and boost your team’s performance, then you’re on the right track. On the other hand, if you feel as though you’re constantly putting out fires right and left, halfway completing every task and in a continual state of chaos and confusion, it’s time to take a step back.
2. You’ve created a solid team around you.
The importance of cultivating a capable team around you is required, as some of your colleagues may be tasked with doing your job once you change positions. As such, if you’re not communicating and collaborating with them effectively as it is, odds are high they may not be entirely sure what you do or how you do it, which could affect the performance of the company as a whole in your absence.
Conversely, if you work comfortably with your peers and have a clear discourse going at all times, you’re a strong team player and ready to take on a new challenge.
3. You’re looking to learn.
A major part of going after a promotion is that it enables you to learn more about your industry, take on new opportunities and expand your interests and horizons in the meantime. Do you have a thirst for knowledge? Are you constantly looking for more training or going to others in your department for advice and mentorship? If so, a promotion can afford you that chance to grow that you’ve been craving.
Yet, you may also be ready for a change of pace. Maybe you’re bored or burnt out in your current position and are finding it difficult to muster the motivation to get your daily tasks completed. When this happens, you may think that moving into a different position will reignite that spark. Yet, chances are you won’t suddenly find yourself reading industry magazines and staying abreast of current trends just because you finally got an office window with a view.
Take the time to reassess why you really want the promotion in the first place. If you aren’t genuinely interested in and curious about your given industry, that could remain the case after you move up. The only difference? You’ll have more responsibility on your shoulders, which could be a heavy weight to bear if you’re already feeling suffocated.
4. You take pride in your work.
When a potential promotion comes into view, some people get tunnel vision, unable to see anything around them except the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, maintaining a sense of pride in your work, regardless of what role you’re in, is the trademark of a dedicated and trusted employee — and one that will help you get noticed among your circle of contemporaries.
Do you find yourself focused and determined during the workday, or are you browsing social media for hours before, during and after your lunch break? Do you come home from work and immediately crumble your uniform into the hamper without a second thought, or do you take steps to care for it out of pride? When you turn in a report or give a presentation to your superiors, are you excited about your findings and confident about their response, or are you uncomfortable sharing your work because your heart isn’t in it? A promotion-ready employee is one who is actively striving for more, but in the meantime, working hard where he or she is planted.
5. You’ve navigated challenges and conflicts.
It’s easy to think you’re ready to take on more, higher-level work when you’ve had nothing but smooth sailing in your current position. Yet, keep in mind that especially if you’re aiming to land a managerial position, this new gig will likely come with its fair share of challenges. You may suddenly be forced to be confrontational on occasion though you’ve always avoided those kinds of circumstances like the plague.
If you have weathered a few storms where you are and still come out on top, you are better equipped to handle the other conflicts you may face in the future. Moreover, your leadership and review teams will know that you have the poise, calmness, and aptitude required to navigate tricky situations, communicate well, keep your cool and successfully seek resolution.
It takes a mature employee to know when to ask for help, how to create alliances and how to negotiate during a conflict. If you’ve already experienced a few of those circumstances in your current position, you understand your company culture and you know what will be expected of you moving forward.
Moving into the New Position with Confidence
In the event that you are ready to take on that promotion, the next challenge will be figuring out how to make the transition gracefully and with candor. You may be the only one up for the new role or you may be competing with your colleagues and co-workers for it. Regardless, if you land it, remember to ease into the position, ensure your current role is appropriately filled, and be available to help train others should the need arise.
This kind of teamwork is the trademark of someone who is a true team player. It is only one of the foundational elements that will help you stand out, get noticed, and finally get that new nameplate you’ve been eyeing.