3 Signs Your Boss Doesn't Think You're Ready For a Promotion

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Kristy Busija289
Executive Coach & Talent Management Cosultant
May 29, 2024 at 3:2PM UTC

Promotions and career advancement can, at times, appear to be a great mystery. Who gets promoted and why? Are you being considered for a promotion? Does your boss think you are ready for a promotion?  While there is both an art and a science to how promotions work, here are signs that the promotion is not as close as you would like, and, more importantly, what you can do to show you actually are ready for one.

1. Development conversations keep getting delayed.

You are eager to get feedback and want to discuss how to succeed at the company (and be promoted).   You and your leader keep planning to discuss your development and path forward, but the conversation never happens. Or it keeps getting moved. Either something comes up and you need to re-purpose the meeting to talk about work or the conversation gets moved to another time. This is something that, from my experience, those who are being groomed for another role or promotion do not often encounter.  

Development plans are put in place and resources are given to those being discussed for expanded roles.  But all is not lost. If development conversations are regularly delayed, get in front of it and take ownership of the conversation. 

What to do:

  • Schedule the meeting (and keep rescheduling)
  • Remember that your direct leader isn’t the only source of developmental feedback.  Reach out to peers and mentors and ask for feedback.

2. Your boss tells you that headcount is frozen.

As disappointing as it is to hear, there are times when the reality is that headcount, promotions, etc. have been frozen due to budgetary reasons. Use this time to understand the requirements of the next role and prepare.  

What to do:

  • Schedule time with your manager and/or HR to understand career paths and progression requirements.    
  • Evaluate your current skills, knowledge,and experience against the role(s) you want and map out where gaps exist. Use this to create a development plan.
  • Consider what you can ask for instead of a promotion, including a raise, new responsibilities or new projects.

3. You are on a deserted island.

You work diligently for the company and move mountains to make things happen, but there is deafening silence and no recognition. Projects are assigned to everyone else but you. You have little, if any, exposure to others outside of the team. You are the last one to know what is going on. You are out of the loop.  All of these signs may indicate that you are not viewed as someone adding significant value to the organization.  

What to do:

  • Ask your manager how you can showcase your contributions more.
  • Invite feedback on how you can contribute more to the success of the team and the organization.

Understanding others’ perspectives, be it your manager or others, will help you know if the signs you are seeing are accurate and if there is anything that you can do now to be ready for future opportunities.   Embrace the opportunities to grow and develop so you are ready for the next adventure in your professional career. And don’t hide your journey – share your progress, invite feedback from others – make it visible so that they can see your readiness when that next opportunity arises.

What’s your no. 1 piece of promotion advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.

Kristy is an executive coach and talent management consultant, who is known for helping individuals, teams and organizations unleash their optimal potential, one conversation at a time. What is your Next conversation? Check out Next Conversation Coaching to see how she can help you today.

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