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Want that promotion? Let the boss know

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “In my company, applications for promotion are not confidential. If I apply for a position in another department, human resources will send an automatic e-mail message to my boss. The policy also says that I must let her know if another manager invites me to interview. I have a degree in management and several years of supervisory experience, so I am interested in becoming a manager. Should I tell my boss that I plan to apply for jobs in other departments?"  Looking for Promotion

Marie’s Answer:  Broadcasting an external job search would be politically stupid, but an internal search is a different matter. Here are some things to consider:

•    "Never surprise your boss” is a basic workplace commandment. If you are planning to transfer out, your manager needs to hear it from you, not via the grapevine or an unexpected e-mail from HR. 

•    Managers sometimes take it personally when employees indicate an interest in leaving.  However, your boss will probably understand your desire to be promoted. After all, she sought advancement herself.

•    If you treat your boss like a mentor, she may be able to suggest some strategies for achieving your career goal. Talk with her about your interest in management and remind her of your qualifications. Perhaps she will put in a good word for you.   

If you fear that your manager might block your application, ask your human resources specialist for help. I can guarantee that you will not be the first person to raise this issue.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mohan M Prasad February 11, 2010 at 12:44 am

Well, I do not see an issue here, unless I have not heard the full story.

It’s a very healthy practice .speaks about the organization commitment to transparency. Even if there is no such policy it will be in the greater interest that your Boss is aware of your career aspiration either in the same vertical or through lateral opportunities.

The last thing any Boss would like is to hear of these issues /matters from anybody outside his/her team member concerned.

In fact, by having an open chat with her, you may also be able to elicit the support in your career plans.

Besides, even if hypothetically, you have decided to conceal it from her, eventually, it is her consent which will be required to relieve you of the current assignment.

Why wait when things have materialized in your favors and lose sleep over her approval; rather “take the issue by the horn when it’s green” (initial stages) and get ahead with her support and guidance.

I would go a step further to get her to be your sponsor; for this will create tremendous amount of emotional equity and the entire organization will appreciate your approach as thoroughly upfront professional.

All the best


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