In the corporate world, we’re all interested in rapid promotion. It’s the key to greater responsibility, rising income, and more career mobility.
But how can we make it happen? We all know an executive who says, “The only way up is through my boss’s job, and it looks like he’s going to be happy in that spot for years.”
The keys to rapid promotion are actually pretty simple:
1. Delegate as much as possible to your reports.
It might be helpful to make a list of your current tasks and then identify a candidate for each one, someone whose strength matches the task. Here’s how you benefit when you delegate:
a. You accomplish more
b. You demonstrate leadership
c. You demonstrate capacity for taking on more responsibility
d. You demonstrate management skills, such as properly aligning tasks with people’s natural strengths
2. Perform the remaining tasks as quickly and efficiently as you can.
Efficiency demonstrates an increase in productivity. And when your superiors see how much you can accomplish, they’ll view you as a candidate for promotion because you can get a lot done. Efficiency also aligns with the company’s values because getting more done in less time saves money.
3. Demonstrate your proficiency.
It’s one thing to be proficient—but it’s another thing for your proficiency to be noticed. On one hand, you don’t want to come across as prideful and pompous about your achievements. But on the other hand, you don’t want your value to go undetected. Develop a way to communicate your measurable results. For example, graphing your progress is a quick and easy way to show your boss the contributions you’ve made.
4. Ask your boss to teach you the elements of his or her job.
As proficient as you might be in your own job, your likelihood of getting promoted might be determined by how much of your boss’ job you know. Even if you’re not going to get your boss’ job soon, you’ll still be an asset. The more you know how to do, the more your boss will want to delegate to you. Taking the initiative to learn from your boss demonstrates in a tangible way that you have a higher capacity than what your current job requires.
You might object, “My boss won’t yield knowledge of his job so easily!” If that’s the case, it might be a sign that your path to upward mobility at that company is blocked. And it’s better to find that out sooner rather than later. Another company might be a better fit for you if it has more opportunities for mobility.
(Note: The author of this post, applying this method, was promoted 9 times in his corporate career, starting as a manager of labor relations and culminating in his first of three CEO positions.)