Question: I was passed over for a promotion even though I was more qualified for the job. What can I do to ensure I am considered next time?
Jo Miller answers:
If you were the best-qualified person for the job, then you are dealing with a perception gap. You are perceived as less valuable to your company than you are in reality.
As a person progresses up the corporate ladder, successful career advancement strategies become less like doing well in school (where a good work ethic and getting high grades for your work will guarantee recognition) and more like running for political office (where success depends on building a coalition of supporters, managing how you are perceived, and letting people know why you are qualified for the position).
Rather than working hard and hoping for the best, you need to embark on a grassroots campaign to re-invent how you are perceived as a candidate for the position.
1. Throw your hat in the ring
Too many women wait to be granted a promotion, while their competitors go ask for it. Let your managers know you are interested in advancement and solicit their advice on what you have to do to be considered.
2. Work less
Take 5 to 10 percent of your working time and reallocate it to activities that make you more visible.
3. Make yourself visible to decision-makers
Build relationships with senior leaders who have the power to champion you and your career.
Increasing visibility also means being vocal in meetings, participating on task forces and committees, bringing attention to your accomplishments, walking the hallways to build relationships with key decision-makers, taking on high profile projects, and seizing opportunities to give presentations to senior management. If you do all this, you’ll be “top of mind” when they consider who their up-and-coming stars are.
4. Act as if
“Act as if” you are already in the higher-level role, so you are perceived as someone who is operating at a higher level than your job requires.
Offer to take higher-level tasks off your manager’s plate, volunteer to take on broader scoped responsibilities, bring decisions or solutions to your leaders rather than bringing problems, and step in to lead meetings and projects.
Jo Miller is CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc. Through leadership workshops, coaching programs and webinars, Jo helps women create their roadmap into leadership positions in business.