What are the differences between the corporate world and the rest of the world? Well, not as much as you might think.
- The first step in being promotable is to recognize what skills are essential for your job. A manager who thinks you're falling short in this job isn't going to consider you for the next one. You don't have to be perfect, but you do need to be good at the essentials. For example, if your job is to develop new products, you need to be creative. If your job is to sell software, well, you have to be good at sales. While these necessary skills vary between jobs, there are three skills you have to master that are job agnostic, and these are deadlines, communication, and what we call connecting the dots.
Let's look at these in a little more detail so you can evaluate how you stack up. First, deadlines. Now every job has deadlines, whether it's a quarterly number to hit, a daily report to fill out, or just your boss saying, "Get back to me tomorrow." And making these deadlines often goes unnoticed, but missing the deadline causes a big problem for other people. You don't want your name brought up in the conversation about whose report we're waiting on, and the higher up you go, the more important the deadline and the less supervision you have in meeting them.
In our work with organizations, we can spot the people who consistently have excuses and the people who are always on time. Now the second area to evaluate yourself on is the accuracy of your communication. Now, communication is a little harder to define, but it's critical. Your communication is your verbal, nonverbal, and electronic communication. And to be considered promotable, your communication needs to be both timely and accurate.
Here's a way to evaluate yourself. How many unread emails do you have? And how often do you get the email saying, "Just following up on?" When you speak up in meetings, do people listen to you? And when you provide information, do people say, "Thank you," or do they have to ask you a lot of questions? And we'll cover more about your language in specific situations throughout this course, but for now, think about how people experience you. Do you provide them with what they need in a timely and accurate way? Do they leave your exchanges feeling satisfied? If you think you may be struggling with communication, the LinkedIn Library has tons of courses on how to improve your communication.
Third, look at your ability to do what we call connect the dots. It can be easy to feel like your days are just spent putting out fires or dealing with that overflowing inbox, but think back to why you were hired. What results are you supposed to be getting for your organization? Why did they create your job and what kind of value did they want you to add? Are you fulfilling that? If you want to be promoted, you need to be proactive, not reactive. You need to connect the dots between your daily activity and how you further the organizational goals.
You want to demonstrate that pattern of results, not just showing up every day for a rinse and repeat of last week. And when considering someone for a promotion, leaders are looking for someone who is valuable and strategic, and when you're evaluating your own potential for a promotion, you need to do the same. Being promotable means doing the job you have today well. It means being someone who meets deadlines, and it also means someone who communicates in a clear way and connects the dots between their job and the big picture.
These skills give you the foundation you need to go get that promotion.
- Knowing when to step up and when to step down
- Dialing into leadership language
- Listening actively
- Creating supporters
- Interacting with your peers, your boss, and senior leadership
- Owning a failure, even if it was not your fault
- What to do when you are promotable, and your peers are not
- When and how to ask for the promotion