How to Guarantee You Won’t Get That Promotion

Getting promoted is more of an art than a science. Long gone are the days of simply counting the number of days you’ve been in your role before getting bumped up to the next level. Unless you’re working for the government or a relatively small number of companies, your tenure in your position will not automatically qualify you for a promotion.

My guess is that if you have not yet been promoted, you are going about it the wrong way. Here are a few sure-fire ways to guarantee you won’t get that promotion… and what you should be doing instead:

1. Thinking Your Work Speaks for Itself

This is the biggest mistake you can make in your career — sitting back, hoping your work will speak for itself and be recognized. Thinking other people are noticing how awesome you are will get you passed over for a promotion, each and every time.

Think about it: in our culture, we tend to only take notice when things aren’t working well, not when things are going swimmingly. You’re expected to deliver at a high level — that’s the basic expectation your manager has for you. So unless you drop the ball, your manager isn’t really noticing — or talking about — your incredible work.

You may get noticed by a few people by sitting back and doing the work, but it will not put your name at the top of the conversation when leaders are seeking someone to fill the shoes at the next level.

Action: No one cares about your career more than you do, and that includes your next promotion. It’s time to put on your PR hat and start talking about the work you’re delivering. Not in a crazy annoying way, but you can subtly start mentioning the results you’re delivering, new ideas you’ve implemented and ways you’ve contributed as a team member during team meetings, casual conversations or recap summaries. Be your own advocate — don’t wait for someone else to see you.

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Response to Performance Reviews

I have yet to come across an employee who is genuinely gleeful when it comes to discussing their performance review. Even if you are a top performer, there always seems to be zingers included that come from left field, hold no merit, or are completely unrelated to your overall performance.

We’ve all been there… how you respond to your performance review is critical for your long-term success at a company, and your career. Regardless if you perceive your review as good or as bad, here’s how you should respond to your Performance Review.

During the Conversation

1. Detach yourself from the situation – create some objectivity.

While having the conversation, treat it as though it were any other meeting. Remove any and all personal attachment you have to the discussion. If you need some help detaching, reframe the meeting in your mind around someone else’s performance. With someone else in mind, you are able to give yourself some space and distance and start hearing the words that are being delivered.

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Performance Management 101

So you are back from the summer slump and heading into the busiest time of the year – fourth quarter. And for most employees, fourth quarter means one thing is coming… performance reviews (otherwise known as annual reviews, bull&h!t feedback updates, and so on). Depending upon where you work, performance reviews formally take place annually and impact your overall compensation in scary ways – any annual increase in base salary, bonus payouts, and/or promotions.

What is Performance Management?

Essentially, it is a grading system for the workplace. There are many ways that performance excellence is applied within work environments, but the “best” systems tend to evaluate each employee based on objective (goals) and subjective (competencies) touch points, core job responsibilities, and allow for various feedback providers. And regardless of how fantastic your company manages the performance management process, it will still be flawed (we are human, after all).

The process provides a way for your manager and other leaders, to get a snapshot view of your performance and how valuable you are to the company. It also provides you with the opportunity to add your perspective about your performance and see where you need some assistance.

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