I am making two assumptions in this post. The first one is that you want a promotion. There are sometimes legitimate reasons people may not want to get promoted right now. You might have decided that it is not the focus for you right now. You like your current job that you are in and want to take your time to establish yourself and learn more before you reach the next stage. You might be juggling work with other important personal goals and do not want the added responsibility of a new position. That is where you are and that is okay.
The second assumption is that you are doing your part. You are good at what you do, are continually developing yourself. You get good feedback, and you have a decent relationship with your boss and colleagues. However, the promotion still eludes you. In that case, here are some of the reasons why you are not getting promoted.
Reason 1: You have made yourself irreplaceable in your current position.
You would think that doing well in your current position could never disadvantage you, but it could. Working so well in your job such that it looks like no one else can do the work but yourself. Might make your superiors reluctant of removing you and leaving a vacancy in that post. You can do your job so well that no one else can do it better and most importantly, no one can imagine you doing anything else this well.
I am not advising that you should not do a good job but be careful of making yourself irreplaceable and therefore un-promotable. See this from your boss’s point of view. They manage many variables and it can be a comfort to have a stable area that is doing well without needing their interference. Hence the saying ‘don’t fix it, if it’s not broken.
You may have positioned yourself to have job security but that is all you have done. You have not given people a reason why they should promote you. You are not showing that your current skills are transferable and applicable in areas with more responsibilities. You might have positioned yourself as a specialist that cannot be a generalist, which is essential for a leadership position.
Reason 2: You Don’t Punch Above Your Weight
You are not giving your employers the impression that you can do more than what you are currently doing. You are simply good at what you currently do but have you demonstrated your ability to do more? You might have heard about the concept of dressing for the job you want, and not the job that you are in. Although that is not key, it is also not a point that you should neglect. How we dress creates an impression about ourselves.
What’s more important though than how you dress, is how you think about your work and your position, in relation to the company. How can you connect the dots to bring more value to your team above just what is required of you? Taking initiative beyond your current job says to your employer this person is underutilized and is ready for the next stage.
Number 3: Being Operational and Not Strategic in Your Thinking
You know what you do, you do it well however you are not thinking at the level of your manager, or even better at the capacity of your CEO. You must imagine what these people are worried about and how your role or what you do can help lighten that load.
You have to think about how your role fits in your department. Think about where your department fits in with the company. Over and above that, you need to consider where the company stand within the industry, the country, the continent and maybe even the globe. This will up level your thinking. Which will in turn, influence what you say and how you do your job because you see yourself as a strategic part of the company and not just a worker filling a spot.
Number 4: Working Only on Your Technical Skills And Not on Your Leadership Skills
You are technical but unable to interpret what you do for the business and the other way around. I have seen this demonstrated quite well with IT people. IT people can be good at what they do technically yet often struggle to interpret their skills to speak to the business in a way that non technical people can understand. Even worse, not realising how technical decisions impact the business. The other challenge, specifically with IT professionals, is not displaying the ability to lead people who are not technical. It’s essential to learn how to lead a cross-functional team and manage the conflict and politics that result from leading people. You must show that you can lead and inspire a team to understand the work from a technical and a strategic point of view.
Number 5: Not Seeing Yourself as a Brand
The final reason is that you are just focusing on performing but not enough on your whole brand. Just as much as you need to be technically competent, perform well, you also need to work on the other skills that form part of your whole brand. This includes the confidence you embody, how you articulating and carry yourself. You should be able to see yourself not just as an employee but as a brand. What often helps is if you see yourself as a service provider rather than an employee. A service provider is always aware that they have to manage their reputation with the company who is a client.
For guided lessons, visit the ‘Reimagine The Next Stage of Your Career Program’ to help you position yourself for the next stage of your career.