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  • Writer's picturePatricia Lopez de Andujar

When & How Should I Ask for a Promotion?

Updated: Apr 5, 2023


It is so easy to see things clearly when it comes to looking at a friend or family member´s work situation, yet we tend to be filled with doubts when it comes to assessing our own situation regarding career progression. One of the reasons is that when emotions are involved, it tends to be harder to have clarity of vision. Even the most confident leaders will at some point be unsure of whether the way they see themselves is aligned with how their bosses see them. This in turn can lead to doubts about their own abilities to progress and whether the business appreciates the value they bring enough to consider them worthy of a big role.


As a general rule of thumb, a great moment to ask for a promotion is after you have presented strong results. When you add value to the business, your profile will be automatically elevated internally and if the stars are aligned, it could be the perfect time to push for growth within the business. There are, of course, other elements to take into consideration. You could be doing a fantastic job yet there could be a hiring freeze or a hierarchical structure that does not allow for growth at that moment in time. If this is the case, pushing for a promotion might not be the smartest move. It is crucial to analyse the external factors around you to understand when the right time is otherwise your request might be seen as an unwise move at the wrong time. Being opportunistic is key when evaluating the best timing. A positive environment for a career upgrade, could be a time of change when the business is looking to reorganise its structure. There are also differences to take into consideration depending on the size of the business. You might be part of a large structure with continuous opportunities to gradually progress, or you might be in a smaller entrepreneurial environment where you might need to be more astute when evaluating the right time to have certain conversations.


A positive way to put a healthy dose of pressure upwards is to challenge your direct manager on what opportunities they see for you to progress within the business. One should never be afraid of asking this question as in most positions, you would be expected to have the ability to challenge others and be driven to achieve your business goals and KPIs - why would it be any different when tackling your own career? It might not be advisable to start putting this pressure 5 months into your role, but once you have proven yourself and have achieved great results, you are in a prime position to ask this type of questions.


So, how exactly should you ask for a promotion? The answer of course varies depending on each individual situation. However, there is certainly a subtle art in mastering these conversations with slight nuances that can make a world of difference. Whilst threatening your boss with leaving if they don´t give you that desired promotion might not be advisable, letting them know that you are in demand at the same time that you communicate your desire to progress could be highly effective. A very direct and straight-forward message can be delivered in the most positive and charming manner. Leaving possible feelings of frustration to one side is crucial in these situations in order to play your cards right with a colder and clearer head on your shoulders.


Showing your worth is unfortunately not only about achieving great results. You also need to ensure that the right leaders are aware of your achievements and desire to progress. Your direct manager might have specific reasons for not wanting you to progress at a certain moment in time. In this situation, it is critical that the higher hierarchy is fully aware of the value that you add to the business. This might not always be easy depending on the line of communication between stakeholders. Having a clear vision of the internal dynamics and key decision makers should allow you to develop a smart strategy to convey those achievements in different ways depending on your circumstances. Whether this is achieved by having a casual coffee or copying in the appropriate person in an email that highlights some of your successes, communication is a key piece of the puzzle.


Fear of rejection is a natural feeling and many people put off asking for a promotion based on this. Overcoming this fear and finding the confidence to have these conversations at the right time and in the right way will add tremendous value to your career progression and open doors that you may not even know existed!


If you are struggling to tackle these situations at work and would like support, you can email me at patricia@mayainterviewcoach.com.


You can also read this article and many more on our Linkedin page When & How To Ask For An Internal Promotion | LinkedIn

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