How much does your visibility matter when you’re chasing a promotion?
Over the next few blogs, I hope to provoke some thought, or even debate, on how much our physical characteristics influence our career, compared to our capacity to do the job itself. It’s often a common assumption: that the confident and beautiful climb effortlessly up the ladder (whether they’re capable of doing the job or not), whilst the faithful workers who continually over-achieve – but who keep their heads down – are always overlooked.
In this post, I’m addressing the key factor when it comes to deciding who to promote. What would you imagine made the top of the list? Men/women with the best figure? The person who wears the most expensive suit? The most committed flirt?
Despite stereotypes and misassumptions, image (which concerns more than just how we look) accounted for only 30% of any promotional decision.
A survey carried out by Harvey Coleman, that spanned a number of large organisations, found that three main factors were prevalent when awarding a promotion: visibility, job and image.
Sixty percent of the companies that participated in the survey said that visibility was the most important factor.
What do we mean by ‘visibility’?
It’s feasible for any manager to wonder if an employee actually wants to be promoted. If a team member seems happy enough to get on with their work, and doesn’t show any sign of wanting to progress, is it any wonder they slip under the radar when it comes to choosing who to put forward for promotion? Increasing your visibility boosts your chances of moving up the ladder. Follow my tips below, regarding how best to get noticed:
- You’ve got to sell yourself. You’d know your value, measure your skills against others in your industry, and look to fill any skills gaps you had if you were applying for a role outside of the company you currently work for – so why should this be any different when applying for a promotion? Take a strategic look at your skills, strengths and weaknesses and plan how to rise above the competition – just as if you were job-hunting elsewhere.
- Don’t be a wallflower. Speak up in meetings and put forward your ideas. Take the initiative to approach your manager with strategies that would help your team become more efficient. Be more involved with your company by attending their events and supporting marketing campaigns, for example. If you continually put yourself forward for things, and you become familiar with your superiors, the more you’ll increase your chances of promotion. Managers promote those they know, and whose track record they’re aware of. If you’re unknown to the decision-makers, take the initiative to change this.
- Do your research. Keep up to date with industry and company news; look at the bigger picture. Don’t just see any networking or making new contacts as something you need to do with people outside your organisation – research the key people in your organisation and gain/strengthen ties with them.
- See yourself as a brand. You’re effectively selling yourself – your ideas, your work and value. Think of how you appear online and within your team. What would your manager and colleagues say about you? How do you come across to people you’ve never met before? How do you overcome your weaknesses or challenges/obstacles in your career? Rather than let those you interact with brand you, consciously look to improve and steer your ‘brand’ and the perceptions people have of you.
- Be pliable. The more flexible you appear, and how well you adapt to new ways of working with little fuss, will win over your superiors. If you demonstrate how resilient and independent you are, the more your manager will believe how easily you’d fit into a new position. The last thing they’d want to do is promote someone who buckles under pressure or who needs their hand holding. Show you could cope – ask to take on more responsibility in your current role.
- Build your confidence. If you don’t feel confident that you can do a higher-level job this will be apparent to those tasked with choosing the most suitable candidate. If your confidence is an issue look at employing a coach or implementing common techniques to improve it.
The reality is that a promotion isn’t going to hunt you down – you have to chase opportunities. If you don’t bring your successes to anyone’s attention, how can they ascertain how capable you’d be in a more demanding role? If your manager can barely remember your name, would you imagine it would be first on the list of who to promote?
Next time I’m going to discuss image, appearance and perceptions in the workplace. If you’d like some career coaching or help with your confidence, to boost your chances of promotion, please get in touch with me on 01302 220021, or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be back with the next blog post in a couple of weeks. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.