Becoming A Manager: How to Get Promoted and Be Recognized for Your Potential

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In a study by MIT Sloan associate professor Danielle Li she finds that female employees are less likely to be promoted than their male counterparts, despite outperforming them and being less likely to quit. The reason she believes causes this is performance rating systems that are biased against reading women’s potential. How can you ensure your potential is being properly measured and recognized in your company? Several ideas are below.

"People find it difficult to imagine women as leaders because the qualities stereotypically associated with effective leaders—e.g. assertiveness, competitiveness, ambition, and an orientation toward execution—are also stereotypically associated with men.”

 – Danielle Li,  “’Potential’ and the Gender Promotion Gap

Steps to getting a promotion:

  1. Know Yourself

    Why do you want to be promoted to manager? Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and values. Reflect on how the promotion aligns with your long-term career goals and personal growth, ensuring it is a meaningful step for you. The more clarity you have on where you want to go and more importantly why the easier it will be to get there.
  2. Increase Your Skills

    Invest in your professional development to enhance your leadership abilities. Increase your knowledge of management principles through books, courses, or mentorship opportunities. Proactively seek growth experiences and apply your learnings in your current role. If there are any opportunities to show your organization that you are taking leadership courses or are working with a coach, this can greatly increase your potential as a future leader.
  3. Act the Part

    Show that you’re responsible and able to work well with your team and step up when given the opportunity. Keep your promises for deadlines, don’t show up to the office in sweatpants and a hangover, show initiative and strive to outperform yourself. This also means you need to learn how to promote yourself watch for next month’s blog to learn more about that!
  4. Make Your Intentions Known

    Don’t keep your cards tight to your chest. Let your supervisor know at an appropriate moment like your yearly review that you want to grow in the company. Express your aspirations, discuss your career goals, and express your eagerness to take on new challenges and responsibilities. Don’t keep it to yourself that you want a promotion; the intention alone can increase your potential in the eyes of your boss.
  5. Strengthen Your Network and Relationships

    Cultivate strong professional relationships both within and outside your immediate team. Skills are not the only determinant of being given the opportunity to lead. Soft skills and being able to get on professionally with a wide variety of people is the difference between being a leader and being a specialist. Building relationships within and outside of your team builds your reputation and gains supporters.

If you want to rise the ranks in your company and be given a leadership position, putting in the effort to perform well and grow in your current role is a great start. To go above and beyond, you need to seek out opportunities to show your potential to your higher ups. With a solid relationship with your direct supervisor, your career goals and aspirations on the table with your superiors, you give your organization the opportunity to support you – which is in their best interest, too. Organizations want to have enthusiastic leaders, staff that are putting in the work to perform well in their roles and are seeking to improve. 

If you don’t get the promotion, if you aren’t supported in your career at your organization – it may be time to reevaluate things. If you want to figure out what you should do to get promoted, I can help you with that and hop on a call with you.  You can read more about what to do when you don’t get the promotion here.


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