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How To Ask For A Promotion And Avoid Making These Common Mistakes

You’ve been thinking about leveling up for awhile. You’ve been putting in the hours, taking on extra work and feeling great about the progress you’ve made. You feel ready and you are absolutely sure your manager can see it but…. They haven’t put you up for promotion.

Newsflash!! Managers don’t read minds. They are too busy with their responsibilities to worry about your career progression. It’s harsh, but true. And it’s not because they don’t care, it’s just not at the top of their priority list.

If you want to get promoted, you need to ask for the promotion.

The problem is most people don’t like asking for what they want. They are afraid it will make them seem greedy and ungrateful, or just afraid to hear “no”. But the reality is closed mouths don’t get fed.

Simply put - you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

If you are ready to level up, you need to figure out how to put your promotion on the agenda and get your manager’s support.

Today I’ll show you how to make your ask and feel good about it. Before we dive into HOW you should ask for a promotion, let’s make sure you avoid some of the most common mistakes.

What not to say to your manager

One of the biggest mistakes people make when asking for a promotion is making it about them and what they need. A promotion is a business decision. That means you need business reasons to justify your promotion, not personal ones. Here’s what you want to avoid:

  • I worked really hard

  • I’ve been here for x years

  • It’s my turn

  • I could use the raise

Bring up any of the above in your promotion conversation and you won’t get far.

A promotion is about the company and what they stand to gain when you level up.

If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to make it about the value they get.

How to ask for a promotion the right way

Positioning yourself to level up is a process. One conversation is not going to land you a promotion. That means the first conversation you have with your manager is all about planting a seed and setting things in motion.

1. Give your manager a heads up

The last thing you want to do is surprise your manager with a career conversation. Let them know in advance what you want to talk about and give them time to prepare.

2. Eliminate their biggest fear

When you initiate a conversation about career growth it may raise a red flag for your manager. It could be interpreted as a sign you are not happy and looking to leave. Losing a great team member is a manager’s worst nightmare.

Kick off the conversation by telling your manager how much you love your job and explain you are looking forward to growing with the company.

3. Share your vision - but make it about them

Career growth means different things to different people. Make sure you and your manager are on the same page by sharing your goals and aspirations. Focus on the next few years and the role/s you could grow into with the company and talk about the impact you could make as you level up.

Instead of talking about what you want, flip the script and focus on what the company stands to gain.

Turn “I want to lead a team and get closer to revenue” into “ I would use my leadership skills to empower team member and exceed our revenue targets”.

4. Ask your manager what it would take

The requirements for leveling up vary from company to company. Align with your manager about what it would take to level up. What skills will you need to learn, what results will you need to deliver and get clear on what success looks like and how you will measure it.

5. Handle objections and mitigate risk

The promotion conversation may not go smoothly. It is possible you’ll have to push back on objections like “you are not ready”, “this isn’t the best time” or “we don’t have the headcount”. These objections may be temporary excuses, but they may also be real blockers.

Dig deeper to get to the bottom of these objections to decide whether you have the potential to grow with the company or whether it’s time to look for a new opportunity.

6. Get your manager onboard

Driving your promotion forward is 100% your responsibility, but your manager can help.

Make it easy for them to support you by ‘project managing’ your own promotion. Take charge and drive the process forward by setting up check points, following up on action items and asking for help.

You have to ask for what you want You’ll have to initiate plenty of conversations when you are working toward a promotion. It’s crucial that you get comfortable with talking about yourself and aligning your work with the company needs.

If this is something you are struggling with, let me help you.

In my new digital course The promotion Accelerator I share email templates and conversations scripts to help you make every conversation a successful one.

Learn more here.


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