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:
- The Costs of Threats
- Threatening as a way of influencing others might work in the short term. But a pattern of using threats
to gain compliance has long-term effects that can undermine your own efforts, corrode your relationships,
and create an atmosphere of fear.
- Not Really Part of the Team: I
- Some team members hang back. They show little initiative and have little social contact with other team
members. How does this come about?
- Suppressing Dissent: II
- Disagreeing with the majority in a meeting, or in some cases, merely disagreeing with the Leader, can
lead to isolation and other personal difficulties. Here is Part II of a set of tactics used by Leaders
who choose not to tolerate differences of opinion, emphasizing the meeting context.
- The Utility Pole Anti-Pattern: I
- Organizational processes can get so complicated that nobody actually knows how they work. If getting
something done takes too long, the organization can't lead its markets, or even catch up to the leaders.
Why does this happen?
- The Discontinuity Effect: What and Why
- Counterproductive competition is more likely in group-group interactions than in one-to-one or one-to-group
interactions. Why does counterproductive competition happen?
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming January 29: Higher-Velocity Problem Definition
- Typical approaches to shortening time-to-market for new products usually involve accelerating problem solving. Accelerating problem definition can also help. Available here and by RSS on January 29.
- And on February 5: Unrecognized Bullying: I
- Much workplace bullying goes unrecognized. Three reasons: (a) conventional definitions of bullying exclude much actual bullying; (b) perpetrators cleverly evade detection; and (c) cognitive biases skew our perceptions so we don't see bullying as bullying. Available here and by RSS on February 5.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
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.