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
Is every other day a tense, anxious, angry misery as you watch people around you, who couldn't even think their way through a game of Jacks, win at workplace politics and steal the credit and glory for just about everyone's best work including yours? Read 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics, filled with tips and techniques for succeeding in workplace politics. More info
For more on promotions, see "How to Get a Promotion: the Inside Stuff," Point Lookout for August 16, 2006, and "How to Get Promoted in Place," Point Lookout for August 23, 2006.
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More articles on Workplace Politics:
- Devious Political Tactics: Mis- and Disinformation
- Practitioners of workplace politics intent on gaining unfair advantage sometimes use misinformation,
disinformation, and other information-related tactics. Here's a short catalog of techniques to watch for.
- Some Hazards of Skip-Level Interviews: III
- Skip-level interviews — dialogs between a subordinate and the subordinate's supervisor's supervisor
— can be hazardous. Here's Part III of a little catalog of the hazards, emphasizing subordinate-initiated
- Bottlenecks: I
- Some people take on so much work that they become "bottlenecks." The people around them repeatedly
find themselves stuck, awaiting responses or decisions. Why does this happen and what are the costs?
- Grace Under Fire: I
- If you're ever in a tight spot in a meeting, one in which you must defend your actions or past decisions,
the soundness of your arguments can matter less than your demeanor. What can you do when someone intends
to make you "lose it?"
- Look Where You Aren't Looking
- Being blindsided by an adverse event could indicate the event's sudden, unexpected development. It can
also indicate a failure to anticipate what could have been reasonably anticipated. How can we improve
our ability to prepare for adverse events?
See also Workplace Politics and Managing Your Boss for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming June 14: Pseudo-Collaborations
- Most workplace collaborations produce results of value. But some collaborations — pseudo-collaborations — are inherently incapable of producing value, due to performance management systems, or lack of authority, or lack of access to information. Available here and by RSS on June 14.
- And on June 21: Asking Burning Questions
- When we suddenly realize that an important question needs answering, directly asking that question in a meeting might not be an effective way to focus the attention of the group. There are risks. Fortunately, there are also ways to manage those risks. Available here and by RSS on June 21.
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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.
- Wikipedia has a nice article with a list of additional resources
- Some public libraries offer collections. Here's an example from Saskatoon.
- Check my own links collection
- LinkedIn's Office Politics discussion group