Monday, April 2, 2012

When is the Right Time to Ask for a Promotion?

I received a query recently asking when is the right time to ask a boss for a promotion. When a person decides it is time for a career change, they need to tell someone, namely their boss. My mind immediately went to one question--what has this person done to be noticed and deserve to ask for a promotion? Herein lies the biggest mistake when people seek promotions in their jobs or when entrepreneurs ask a customer for more business. This is one of the things that employees and beginning entrepreneurs (and even seasoned entrepreneurs) have in common.

Focusing too much on what we want as opposed to providing the best service possible is the shortest path to disappointment. The trick is to become indispensable to your boss and view him or her as your customer. So the question to ask is, "What can I do to provide more and better service." In other words, what can you do to "get noticed" and stand out from your peers? Only then can someone entertain the thought of asking for a promotion. Most people do the opposite. They ask for a promotion or a change in position before proving they have out grown their current position. Those who focus on service often get noticed and tapped for bigger and better assignments without asking.

I saw this recently while working on a project for one of my customers who happens to be a government agency. There was an employee who clearly stood out from the crowd and saw his job as servicing his "customers." That is the exact language he used. Everyone else around him complained of how much hey hated their jobs and the bosses. One day his boss got a call from the commissioner of the organization requesting a meeting with this employee. In the meeting, the commissioner commended the employee for his excellent work. This is extremely rare in this organization. I suspect if he wanted a promotion or a change in career path, he could have asked for it then and there and could have gotten it or at least been put on a short list. Those who provide stellar service will get recognized without asking and this is the time to ask for that promotion.

If after doing all of the above the company does not appreciate the service you provide, then perhaps it is time to look elsewhere. However, when done correctly and with sincerity, the service oriented person will always get what they want.

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