Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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strategy and planning

What Strategies Should You Use to Position Yourself for Your Next Promotion.

I was talking with Anna this week and she is wondering how she can best position herself to take over for her VP when he gets promoted. She heard rumors that he was going to be moving up.

We strategized about how she could best position herself for this promotion and this is what we discussed:

1. Review past performances.
Do you have a track record of delivering results?
Are you a reliable member of the team?
Do people consider you trustworthy?
Have you fixed past mistakes?
You need to demonstrate that you have a track record of success in your current role. You can do this by consistently meeting or exceeding your targets, delivering high-quality work, and demonstrating your leadership skills.

2. Cultivate strong and loyal relationships.
Building strong relationships with your colleagues, peers, and other stakeholders within the organization is important. Work to enhance your reputation as a collaborative and effective leader who works well with others. Offer assistance to others that helps them become more successful.

3. Continuously improve your leadership skills.
Most people have some leadership skills, and it’s important to continue developing them. You can do this by taking on more responsibility, seeking out new challenges, and taking leadership courses or attending workshops.
Right now, I am working with several groups who are using casual book clubs to help people stay on track and focus on improving leadership skills. These groups meet over Zoom for just 15-20 minutes per week, and they discuss one book for a full month, so it is not too time-consuming (so they get more participation) and no one feels awkward if they have not picked up the book since last week.

4. Network to promote others.
Networking is an essential part of any career advancement strategy, but most people network primarily to promote themselves. You know what real leaders do? They promote others. They show up to introduce people to other people, and they actively listen to learn how they can be even more helpful. If you have taken my Leader’s Blind Spot Assessment, these natural networkers are the CONNECTORS. If this skill is more difficult for you, attend industry events, join professional organizations, and make sure you reach out to help others.

5. Show initiative.
Look for opportunities to take on new projects, initiatives, or volunteer roles within your organization. Someone needs to plan the holiday party, put together the retirement event, or start a book club. By demonstrating your willingness to take on new challenges, you show that you are ready to take on more senior roles.

6. Communicate what you want.
Make sure that your boss is aware of your aspirations to move up the ladder. Ask what else you need to work on to become a better leader and then work on that. Sometimes, just planting the seed helps people visualize you in that new job.

7. Ask for proponency.
Ask the people around you for help. Ask how they would respond if you were promoted and listen to their answers. The time to build proponency is before you need it.

Remember that positioning yourself for a more senior role takes time and effort. Keep focused on your goals, work hard, and be patient. By demonstrating your leadership skills and building strong relationships, you will be well-positioned to take on a more senior role when the time comes.


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