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Why aren’t you getting promoted?

Are you an executive who has been in a holding pattern in the same role for some time? Are you hoping for an internal promotion that never seems to eventuate?

Executive Interview Coaching founder Richard Elstone says when executives don’t get promoted, it’s usually for one of two reasons. Let’s take a look.

There’s no obvious successor

One of the main reasons executives don’t get promoted is that they haven’t developed a clear successor to take over their role, says Richard.

“That means that management can’t promote you from this role into another role until they find a successor,” he says. “That’s potentially a major issue.”

Richard says the number one priority for executives when they’re first appointed to a new role should be to immediately start grooming their successor. It might sound premature, but you want to be ready to take the next step in your career when the time comes.

So, how do you do that?

Richard says it’s all about delegation. “You need to delegate work and responsibility for work with senior members of the team,” he says. “That way, they’ll understand what’s going to be required when doing the role.”

“The other thing is, have a good look at your leadership team,” Richard says. “If you don’t have the talent in your team, then you need to re-organise that team. Tell your manager that you don’t have the talent you require and get their encouragement for you to hire externally.”

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

The other reason executives don’t get promoted is simple: they don’t ask. “They sit back and wait for somebody to take notice of them,” says Richard.

Richard says the key is to put yourself out there and to let your boss or other department heads know that you would like to do more or move into different areas.

You may need to show tenacity and be proactive, but often this is how some of the most successful careers are built. Sales representatives who move up the ranks and become marketing managers and then CEOs, for example.

Richard says sometimes you also need to be open to accepting a sideways move, because it can ultimately help you work towards your dream appointment.

“There’s actually nothing wrong with accepting a sideways move if it’s going to give you some other skills in another area,” he says. “Whether you work for a major bank or a pharmaceutical or mining company, there are loads of opportunities for you to do some work in different areas. Take advantage of that to help develop your skills.”

A word about counter offers

Say you’re offered a role elsewhere and your current employer makes a counter offer to retain you. Richard says keep in mind that these rarely pan out. “Usually within six months, they’re gone,” he says. “Once the trust is gone, it’s hard to move on from there.”

Richard’s advice is if you’re toying with the idea of changing companies, you need to be serious about actually taking the plunge and moving on from your current employer.

Like to know more?

If you’re looking for an internal promotion, you need to get the basics right. That means making sure your resume is first-class and you are 100% prepared for the interview process.

“A lot of people blow the dust off their old resume then add in their current role and hope that’s going to get them a promotion,” Richard says. “Then they approach the interview without preparing properly. It doesn’t work that way.”

Whether you’re planning an internal or external move, Executive Interview Coaching can help. We offer expert advice about how to prepare an external resume that will also work for internal opportunities, as well as how to fine-tune your interview skills.


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