The simple secret to getting that promotion


You sit and you stew about the promotion you didn’t get and know you deserve. Your attitude is becoming bitter, and others are starting to notice and ask you if there is something wrong. In your mind (and only YOUR mind), you’ve been passed over.

You want to take action but you’re so far down in the dumps that you can’t see your way out of the situation. You’re stuck, big time. So what’s the solution to this dilemma?

It’s actually very simple and it’s a secret that’s used by your peers who are getting promoted ahead of you.

Here it is: just ask for what you want.

Lots of talented people are overlooked for promotions because they didn’t ask. Your peers are moving ahead because they’re asking to be considered for the next level. Asking is a way to get your manager to begin thinking about how you can prepare for that coveted promotion.

Your boss has lots of people to consider for further development and promotion, and she may not have thought about you yet (sad but often true). The simple act of asking can turn her attention to consider you for that next step.

Leaders need to demonstrate courage. So stop stewing. Start showing your bravery and ask:

When can I expect a promotion? Some organizations have guidelines around how long you’ll need to be in your current role before a promotion can happen. You might find out that you haven’t been in your role long enough. But at least you’ll know what to plan for. Or maybe the guidelines can be “flexible” enough to accommodate your promotion sooner (another secret: it’s been known to happen).

What do I need to do to get ready? Get the job description for the position you seek to see what it requires and make a plan to take action to get ready for it. Have a discussion with your manager about how you can prepare for the next step. And then get to work demonstrating that you’re ready for that next move.

It’s surprising how many leaders are just sitting back waiting for someone to notice them and magically grant that promotion. The simple act of asking for what you want just might turn heads your way to consider you for that next step. Just ask!


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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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