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When asking for a promotion, timing is EVERYTHING

Originally published on Career Experts

 

Any successful manager knows the hallmark of effective career management: sound planning and initiative. Managers who are serious about climbing the corporate ladder set goals and then charge ahead. (If you’d like a handy format for doing this, here’s one I’ve developed.) But the danger for many managers is not realizing this isn’t enough. One of the most important factors affecting career development is identifying the ripest time for requesting a promotion.

 

Why is timing so important? When you ask for a promotion, you’re not doing it just for fun. You’re doing it because it’s important that you get that next position. So it’s crucial that you increase your chances as much as you can.

 

You might be wondering if there really is such a thing as the “right” time to ask for a promotion. Indeed, there is and it is one of the most important factors affecting career development.  The right time is after you’ve prepared well for your candidacy.  Let me illustrate through an analogy you’re already familiar with.

 

One bright day, you wake up with a brilliant idea you’d like your department to adopt at the next meeting. You basically have two options:

 

1.    Spring it on everyone at the meeting and hope for the best. After all, you’ve got a good reputation and anything you bring up will probably be considered worthwhile.

 

2.    Prior to the meeting, speak with key stakeholders to get their feedback. In this way, you can fine tune your idea to increase chances of its acceptance at the meeting.

 

I hope it’s pretty obvious you wouldn’t choose the first option. And you shouldn’t when it comes to asking for a promotion, either.

 

So why do so many managers actually end up going for the first option when it comes to their career? Ironically, it’s often easier for them to promote ideas they think will benefit the company than it is to promote their own careers. It might be because they feel uncomfortable tooting their own horn or because it might be viewed as pretentious or arrogant. So these managers (falsely) wait for their coworkers’ recommendations...and wait.

 

Instead, I want to suggest that you approach asking for a promotion more like the second option. Before applying, gather a few key backers and let them know about your plans for promotion and why you think this is a good time. Get their feedback and if needed, fine tune some of the things you do so that you’ll receive their stamp of approval. When you’re ready to finally submit your candidacy, you’ll already have garnered much of the support needed - and your chances of success will have increased greatly.

 

Of course, there will be decision makers that will be harder to approach, but if you view your promotion as just as mission critical as a game changing idea for your company, it’ll make talking to them easier. And if you need more motivation, consider what’ll be harder to swallow: an uncomfortable conversation or a rejection.

 

So use the great management skills you already have and begin managing your own career. You have a lot of work to do before you actually ask to climb that next rung up the corporate ladder.

 

And always remember:

 

Great managers are made. Not born.

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