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How to get promoted at work more quickly

By Atip Muangsuwan

How to get promoted at work more quickly

“Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.” Mireille Guiliano, French-American author and former corporate executive.

One of my executive clients came up with his coaching topic: “How to get promoted at work more quickly?” He told me that he performed his job very well and his direct boss and the boss of his boss also gave positive feedback to him frequently on his performance. He could sense that both of them personally liked him, too!

He also shared with me that he was considered a one of the top stars in his organization. However, his problem was… he didn’t know how to ask for a promotion from his boss without appearing too ambitious in his boss’ eyes. What more obvious was that…he didn’t even dare to ask for a promotion.

So, we began our coaching session by exploring into his story. My client said he wanted to move up a career ladder to another job grade; however, he didn’t want to appear too ambitious in his boss’s eyes. He told me that he’s a modest person by his nature. So, if he directly asked for a promotion from his boss, then he might appear “not so modest” anymore. And that would also be a big conflict in his personal values.

I asked to share a story with him. I told him that there was one former colleague of mine. He currently held the highest position in a multi-national company. He started off as a common engineer. Then, he started climbing his career ladder one step at a time. His close colleague shared with me that… his top secret was… he always asked for the expectation list for the next job grade from his boss. Then, he kept completing the list for the next job grade and certainly he did for the next, for the next and for the next job grade until currently, he could reach the top position in the company. It’s as simple as that! 😊

To make a long story short, we also discussed about other things like the key success factors to get him promoted and his insights and action steps from our coaching conversation.

He shared his key insights as follows:

  1. To get promoted, he must ask for the expectation list from his boss, then make it as a checklist for his action steps and complete that list sooner.
  2. He will ask for a guidance or some suggestions from his boss about how his boss could get to where he currently is. By doing so, he could let his boss know that he’s interested in a promotion, but not ask for the promotion directly.
  3. He will use of the art of good communication skills with his boss, his boss’ boss and the influencers who can influence his promotion to let them know that he’s interested, but not too ambitious about a promotion.
  4. By applying the insights no. 1-3, he won’t have a conflict between his personal value of being modest and appearing too ambitious for promotion.

My own insight from this coaching session is that… “The shortcut of getting promoted is to ask for the expectation list from the key decision-makers, then complete that list sooner not later.”