Career Coach: If you want that promotion, begin auditioning now

September 7, 2016

Are you hoping to be promoted when a position becomes available? Assuming the answer is yes, what have you done to be awarded that position? Many managers just don’t realize that they have to act the part for that next position now, before it is awarded. An actor must audition for a part before it is awarded to them. An athlete must compete for a starting position on their team. It’s the same for you. While you are in your current role, you are auditioning for your promotion along with numerous other managers.

The competition is tough and you must identify ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Let’s look at your work ethic. Are you showing through your daily actions a best-in-class effort? We all know that “time is money” and you want to be as productive as possible with every hour you spend on your work. Stay committed to delivering first-class work. Anything less than that falls short of a successful audition.

You must be committed to effective collaboration and teamwork. Organizations are generally integrative in nature, requiring effective coordination and collaboration with other departments and co-workers. What you do at work is not all about you. It is actually about doing everything you can to enhance shareholder value. This means working well with others to address company challenges and initiatives, and working effectively with others for excellent execution. Show others on your team and other teams that you want to do all that you can to contribute to the company’s ongoing success. It’s not about what we say, but more about what we do to contribute to a company win.

Focus on being a great leader. Being a great leader requires many behaviors. An important behavior is awareness. You must consistently behave in a way that sets you apart from your team. This is not a suggestion that you are better than them. It’s about you making an effort to remove any bias and maintain objectivity. A great leader must be decisive. This means you must make difficult decisions in difficult situations. This means you must maintain your firmness and authority in the wake of tenuous situations. However, you should not operate in a vacuum and work unilaterally in these situations. Instead it is important to be collaborative in decision making, showing your strength and leadership along the way. You should be empathetic and supportive of others. You may have heard the well-known expression, “praise in public and offer objective and productive criticism in private.” Of course, not everything runs seamlessly all the time and people will make mistakes. Never resort to assigning blame. You win or lose as a team. Show others that you care and be sure they learn from their mistakes. If you are a strong leader, you hold yourself accountable for your team’s performance. When you see weaknesses you address them right away to improve performance, all in a productive and non-threatening way. Great leaders are excellent motivators and exude confidence. Enthusiasm and confidence will permeate an organization when this is consistently projected by a leader.

Operate with honesty and integrity. At the end of the day, it is all about your reputation. It is important that you earn the trust of others. You want to be known as a manager who is honest, transparent and ethical, setting a wonderful example for others.

Follow the Golden Rule. We all learned the golden rule when we were kids, otherwise known as the law of reciprocity. It is critically important in your daily activities to treat all others the way you would like them to treat you. This is such a simple concept, but certainly doesn’t happen enough in the workplace, or for that matter the world.

All these behaviors will put you in the best position for earning that promotion. Maintain a strong work ethic, be a collaborative team player, commit to the traits of great leaders, stay positive, motivated and enthusiastic, and support others every step of the way. Good things will happen.

By Gary A. Cohen

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