What you need to know BEFORE you get your promotion

This is the second in a series for emerging leaders focusing on tactics to manage your career. You can read the first one here, if you missed it.

Are you an (emerging) leader anticipating a promotion? Perhaps your boss has even intimated that a promotion is in your future. Or, are you interviewing at other companies with the express purpose of taking a higher level position?

You want this new role, you know you deserve this promotion, and you have worked hard and had success. Now what?


It is important that you can quantify your achievement in your interviews. What measurable impact has your work made on revenue, employee engagement, team work,  As with any good interview, it is as important for you to interview the hiring manager as it is for her to interview you. What should you ask? Knowledge about the company is a starting place, but, even if you are being promoted within your current company, you will want to find out what’s different in this particular group. Consider asking questions like these:

  • What are your potential boss’ overall expectations?
  • What specific deliverables are needed from you?
  • How can you make an impact in this new organization?
  • What skills are necessary for this role?
  • What is the team dynamic like?
  • And, perhaps most important of all, what does success look like?

It’s easy to believe that you are ready. After all, you have been preparing and dreaming of this new responsibility. But don’t let your enthusiasm get in the way of the due diligence you have demonstrated in the past. Think specifically about what the supervisor will need to know about your capabilities, talents and style to be convinced that you are the one for this role.


A good company will have a plan to effectively develop high potential leaders to the next level. But, just in case your company doesn’t have all of these promotion steps solidified, here are some suggestions for your on-boarding. And don’t assume you know it all already.

Sure, you may know the company if you were promoted. You may even have worked with this group before. Even if this is the case, you should expect some sort of formalized training as you take on the new role. I hope this expectation of training goes without saying if you have come in from outside.

The training should begin immediately and include hands-on experience with process-specific work, along with tips on “how we do things here/in this group.” A best practice would include specific objectives for your training, as well as for your first 6 months in role. After all, you cannot perform at your highest level without knowledge, tools and experience.


Whether you are internally promoted or have taken a new role in another company, request a short-term mentor or coach. These leader coaches can help you understand the different level of challenge and contribution that you are facing in your new role and provide tips, coaching and accountability to help support your learning and integration.


This is one of the trickiest aspects of a new role to navigate successfully. How do we work together on this team? What are the norms under which we all behave? Understanding personalities, internal “ways of behaving”, how we have fun together, how we challenge and how we support one another should be a key goal in your early conversations and experiences. All of these aspects of a team are essential to understand when joining a new team. This is another place where a mentor, coach or trusted advisor can help you integrate successfully.


Ensure you identify and meet your most important stakeholders throughout the organization early. This includes peers, senior leaders, employees on other teams, etc. These are the people whom you support, need information from, interact with regularly and who owe the same to you. They should be able to help in your on-boarding also, as they will be essential to your understanding of how people communicate, work together and drive success in the organization.

So…you want to be promoted. To ensure success, remember:

Be very clear about what is expected in this new role…what new skills you need…who can provide guidance and mentoring…how the group works together…and how they communicate.

And then bring your own unique blend of skills, experience, personality, strengths and potential to the position…and kick ass!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *