Promotions in line typically entail accepting responsibility for supervising people in positions like the one you hold now. Promotions in line, like other promotions, aren't about reward or recognition — they satisfy employer needs. When employers promote people in line, they're trying to fill positions with the right people, at the right time, for the right price.
- The right people
- People promoted in line usually know the organization well. They've established valuable relationships and they know what's needed and what's expected.
- The right time
- Most organizations do require that the position be open to any employee, and complying with that policy does take some time. But hiring from within or promoting someone in line is usually faster than hiring from outside.
- The right price
- Promoting in line saves money. A shorter and simpler search process, a shallower learning curve, and zero recruiting fees make such moves attractive to employers. But most important, we can often avoid the premium compensation that might be needed to attract highly qualified people from elsewhere.
Here are some tactics that help you land a promotion in line.Do your current job well,
but seize opportunities to
demonstrate that you can
handle the responsibilities
of the job you seek
- Demonstrate capability
- Do your current job well, but seize opportunities to demonstrate that you can handle the responsibilities of the job you seek. Don't pursue such opportunities too aggressively, but grab them when they come by.
- Be replaceable
- If you're critical to organizational success in your current position, you're difficult to replace. Not so good if you want to be promoted. Share what you know. Be ready to leave your old job behind, and be ready to move into the new job.
- Make the people you work with look good
- Promotion in line can sour relationships with those of your current peers who would be reporting to you. Making the people you work with now look good helps them, helps the organization, and dampens many of their concerns about your promotion. And it makes your about-to-be-peers comfortable, too.
- Be flexible about relocation and travel
- Be willing to relocate and travel. Balance your own needs with the needs of the company, and keep in mind that the balance you choose affects both your chances for promotion and your personal life.
- Keep a working journal
- Enter in your working journal contributions you make that bear on your target position. You probably won't be conveying this information to anyone else, but the writing motivates you to look for — and do — things you can write about.
Two final tests are perhaps most telling. How would you like working for someone like you? And how would you like supervising someone like you? If you have some misgivings about either question, you probably have some things you want to change. Today would be a good day to start. Top Next Issue
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More articles on Workplace Politics:
- Stalking the Elephant in the Room: II
- When everyone is thinking something that no one dares discuss, we say that there is "an elephant
in the room." Free-ranging elephants are expensive and dangerous to both the organization and its
people. Here's Part II of a catalog of indicators that elephants are about.
- Kinds of Organizational Authority: the Formal
- A clear understanding of Power, Authority, and Influence depends on familiarity with the kinds of authority
found in organizations. Here's Part I of a little catalog of authority classes.
- Preventing Spontaneous Collapse of Agreements
- Agreements between people at work are often the basis of resolving conflict or political differences.
Sometimes agreements collapse spontaneously. When they do, the consequences can be costly. An understanding
of the mechanisms of spontaneous collapse of agreements can help us craft more stable agreements.
- Embarrassment, Shame, and Guilt at Work: Coping
- Coping effectively with feelings of embarrassment, shame, or guilt is the path to recovering a sense
of balance that's the foundation of clear thinking. And thinking clearly at work is important if you
want to avoid feeling embarrassment, shame, or guilt.
- Workplace Politics and Social Exclusion: I
- In the workplace, social exclusion is the practice of systematically excluding someone from activities
in which they would otherwise be invited to participate. When used in workplace politics, it's ruinous
for the person excluded, and expensive to the organization.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming December 13: Contrary Indicators of Psychological Safety: I
- To take the risks that learning and practicing new ways require, we all need a sense that trial-and-error approaches are safe. Organizations seeking to improve processes would do well to begin by assessing their level of psychological safety. Available here and by RSS on December 13.
- And on December 20: Contrary Indicators of Psychological Safety: II
- When we begin using new tools or processes, we make mistakes. Practice is the cure, but practice can be scary if the grace period for early mistakes is too short. For teams adopting new methods, psychological safety is a fundamental component of success. Available here and by RSS on December 20.
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Beware any resource that speaks of "winning" at workplace politics or "defeating" it. You can benefit or not, but there is no score-keeping, and it isn't a game.