How Can A Manager Get A Promotion?

The secret is to think about what your boss needs
The secret is to think about what your boss needs
Image Credit: David Blackwell

Sure you are enjoying your manager position, but wouldn’t you like to receive a raise? There is a problem with getting a raise: when it comes to using your manager skills to ask for a promotion or raise, most of us focus the conversation around the same thing: ourselves. All too often this does not get us the outcome that we want. What we really need to do is to listen to what social science research has found out about how we can make it one more rung up our career ladder.

How To Prepare For A Promotion

Before walking into that high-stakes meeting with our boss, we carefully pore through advice on how to convince our boss that “I really deserve this.” We learn the importance of appearing confident, trustworthy and respectful—all in hopes that it will make our boss see that we have the expertise and leadership skills to justify a better job with higher pay.

Of course, convincing your boss of your competence and expertise is important. But it often not enough. Even the most deserving among us often walk away from these meetings feeing disappointed. One survey found that only 39% of employees got the raise amount they requested, with “budgetary constraints”—not whether the employee deserved it—cited as the most common (yet least believed) reason bosses give for their decision. Is there no manager training about how to go about doing this?

How can you move the needle in your favor? How can you make it more likely you leave that meeting with what you ask for? Surprisingly, research suggests that the way to get more money or a promotion is to stop thinking about yourself, and start thinking about your boss.

The Secret To Getting Promoted

In order to get that next promotion, the key is to be able to answer the following three questions:

How much social status does your boss have? Social science has taught that one of the biggest factors in getting what you want out of people at work is our status: the respect, esteem and prestige that you hold in the eyes of others within the organization. So it makes sense that if you’re asking your boss to get you something, it’s the boss’s status that you need to worry about, not your own.

What does your request “cost” your boss in social capital? There’s a good chance that every request your boss fulfills costs him social capital. And some requests cost a lot more than others. When we focus on whether we deserve something, we often lose sight of how costly our specific requests are.

What problems does your request solve for your boss? Learning how to convince other people to give you what you want requires that you first figure out what scratches their itch. This means figuring out how to frame your raise as a win for your boss. The more closely your promotion is tied to fulfilling the boss’s needs, the more successful you will be. Think of this as team building you’re doing with your boss.

What All Of This Means For You

The secret to getting your next promotion is to take some time off from thinking about yourself and instead spend some time thinking about your boss. If you can determine what your boss really wants, then you may find yourself getting promoted.

Any time that we want to be promoted, we always spend some time boosting our self-confidence. However, just feeling good about our skills and talents may not be enough to convince our boss to promote us. It turns out that if we want to get promoted, we need to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about our boss. We need to determine how much social status our boss has. We need to understand how much our request for a promotion is going to cost our boss in terms of social status. Finally, we need to realize what problems our request will solve for our boss.

The good news is that we can convince our boss to give us a promotion. The trick is that we need to know how to go about doing this. If we can stop thinking about ourselves and instead think about what our boss both wants and needs then we will position ourselves to get what we are asking for. Give this a try the next time you go asking for a promotion.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What’s the best way for you to determine what your boss’ social status is?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

There are a lot of parts of being a manager that are tough. One of the most challenging is when it comes time for us to hire someone to join our team. The world is filled with a lot of people and there will probably be many who want to get a job at your company working on your team. As a manager, it’s going to be your job to use your manager skills to sort through all of the candidates in order to find the best match. This is not an easy thing to do. However, there are three key secrets that you need to keep in mind when you are looking for that next new hire.