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6 Reasons You Aren’t Getting Promoted to Leadership
I was reviewing the Classy Career Girl survey results and noticed that a lot of CCG readers were frustrated with not moving up into a position of leadership or supervision. Many of you were fearful of not being able to grow and develop into higher level positions. Valid concerns.
Sometimes we get stuck in a job, and it’s hard to break out and rise above a certain level. I have no idea who wrote the responses on my survey since it was anonymous. But if it was you, well done for acknowledging your desires, goals, and fears. You can’t move past your fears and frustrations without acknowledging them first.
Since I received so many of these same responses, here are some reasons to think about why you may not be moving up. These may be tough to hear, but some of them may be valid. Don’t ignore them.
But, before I get into the reasons! You first have to take responsibility for your own career success. Say this, “I am responsible for my own career success, and no one else.”  Many times I hear people blame their career growth on other people or circumstances, and that means you aren’t accepting responsibility. Even worse, you are pretending that you are powerless in being able to change your circumstances.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles R. Swindoll

You can’t control the circumstances of your career such as a bad boss, downsizing or mean co-workers that make your life miserable. But, you can control how you respond to them. You can create your life and career success.
That is why each of the reasons below are not circumstances that are out of your control. You can take action to change each of the reasons that I listed below.  Successful people create their own success, it didn’t just miraculously happen, and you can create your own success too.

Here are six reasons you aren’t getting promoted to leadership:

1) No one knows you want a leadership position.

People can’t read your mind and help you if you don’t ask. In my first leadership position, I didn’t have a “leader” title so my boss didn’t really know how many leadership activities I was doing. When assessment time came around, I told him I deserved a promotion and he didn’t believe me. So I put together my case for a promotion and presented my boss with feedback from all of my teammates so he could see that I really did deserve the promotion.
Most importantly, I let him know that I wanted a promotion. If I didn’t, he never would have thought that I wanted one and I would never have been considered for one.  Not everyone wants to be in leadership, so if you don’t express your desire to move up and grow, your management might not think you want it. Also, your manager is probably very busy and might not take the time even to ask you.
Action to take: Set up a meeting with your boss and ask him/her what you would need to do to get promoted to a leadership position. Tell them you are very interested in your career growth and development and are ready for a challenge. Ask if there are any leadership opportunities that you can start helping within your current assignment so you can start developing your leadership and people development skills.

2) You are not exceeding expectations in your current role.  

Are you coming in early and staying late? Are you doing everything possible to ask for more opportunities and challenges? Do you do things without being asked? These are all requirements to take it to the next level.  Being a manager requires a lot of self-sacrifice. If you are acting selfishly in your current job and only doing the tasks that you have been assigned, you won’t be seen as someone who can go above and beyond to really succeed as a manager.
Action to take: If someone you work with is still working when you are about to leave, don’t leave. Instead, ask if you can help them get their task done so you can both leave at the same time. Review your job description and ensure you are completing everything required. Then, brainstorm ways that you can go above and beyond your current job description. Ask your boss if they have any new assignments or challenges that you can take on or if there is anything that he/she needs help on. Ask how you can help on a daily basis.

3) You aren’t providing extra value to your company.

The clients I have coached to promotions all gave their management a specific dollar amount or justification for promotion. Have you brought in new clients or new revenue?  How have you helped the company? You have to be prepared to present this if making a case for your promotion. At our company, in order to get promoted we would have to bring in new clients or new revenue for the company. This could be more of a sales position at your company and may require you to step outside your comfort zone or take some classes to get the skills you need.
Action to take: Review your company’s revenue goals and determine how your job plays into how the revenue increases or decreases. Then, determine actions you can take to increase that number. It could be that your job is more of a support function and you aren’t directly involved in sales. Then, determine how your support job affects the bottom line and what you can do better from a supportive function so that the people actually doing the selling can bring in more revenue. No matter what your job is, you do make a difference in the big picture of the goals of the company.

4) You aren’t liked or trusted.  

Let’s face it, people want to reward people they like. If you can’t be trusted to do your job right now, you won’t be trusted to manage a team of people. The more credible you are, the more confidence that people will have in you. Integrity is critical in the workplace, so if you say you are going to do something, do it. Distrust happens when you are a different person at work than you are at home and you aren’t authentic at work.
Action to take: Be yourself at work and get to know people. Instead of burying yourself in your work all the time, walk the halls and check in on people. This is practicing a key leadership trait. The average executive spends three-fourths of their time dealing with people.  Start building relationships with everyone you work with.

5) You have a small network within the company.  

You can’t be promoted if no one knows you. Your boss can only do so much to share all of the great things that you are doing when trying to give you a promotion. If your boss goes to present your promotion criteria to the rest of the leaders and none of them have even heard your name, you probably won’t get the promotion. But, if there are a few other people in the room that are also vouching for you, besides just your manager, you will be much more likely to get it.
Action to take: This action is different from #4 because here you need to strategically build your network. So instead of just knowing everyone on your current team, start brainstorming ways you can develop key relationships with people on different teams at your company or with your the boss of your boss. Think of the job you want someday and set up a 15-minute meeting with the person who is already in that job.
Ask them how you can grow into a position like theirs someday and get introductions to other people in the company. Once you start, it will be like a domino effect and your network will just keep growing. And remember to build your network outside of your current company because, to get a leadership position, you just might have to make a leap to another company. Don’t ever rule this out!

6) You don’t have an attitude of a leader.  

If you project a poor attitude, you will prove to be a poor leader. Employees will notice and copy the attitude of their leader. A leader’s positive attitude will create a positive work environment, and this is a huge criterion for getting promoted.
Action to take: Think about how you respond to stressful situations. Do you have a nervous breakdown or can you think clearly and take actions to improve the situation.  Start learning how to handle problems and stresses with a positive outlook.  Whenever I was approached with a problem, I would go for a quick walk and clear my mind so that I could come back in and delegate or complete the steps that needed to happen to resolve the problem quickly. Develop a stress release approach like a walk, a trip to the bathroom or a coffee break so that you make sure you are always displaying an attitude of a leader. Trust me, when you get into a leadership position, your problems and stresses will multiply! 🙂 You have to be prepared and ready to handle them.

Homework: 

Which reason jumps out at you? Start taking that action outline above this week to reach your career and leadership goals this year.

Hi, I'm Anna!

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