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Prove you’re ready for a promotion

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Getting promoted is tougher than it used to be, writes Anne Fisher. The global recession and a tendency to reorganize businesses to decrease layers of management have reduced the number of open positions for workers to rise into.

“Companies are being extremely cautious about moving people from one level to the next higher one,” observes Stu Crandell, a senior vice president at leadership development and coaching firm PDI Ninth House.

Researchers at PDI Ninth House set out to analyze exactly what leads to a successful upward move, resulting in two reports: one about the specific kinds of experience that prepare people to rise and the other examining the personality traits that help or hinder performance at each level. “Some traits, like high levels of energy and the ability to think strategically, are common to every company as people take on more responsibility. They’re constants.”

Extreme attention to detail could actually hold ambitious admins back. As you move ahead, you may need to learn to let go of the small stuff and focus more on the big picture.

“You don’t have to change your personality,” says Crandell. “You just have to alter your behavior at work. You can learn to consciously delegate the details to others, and keep track of their activities without doing everything yourself.” And make sure the boss knows you’re doing it.

Crandell suggests looking around for ways to build up leadership skills, like negotiating with key stakeholders, helping to fine-tune strategy or seeking out highly visible assignments.

Another tip: Don’t be irreplaceable. “Our coaches often hear senior executives say, ‘We can’t promote so-and-so, there’s no backup,’” Crandell notes. “You have to be outstanding at your job, but try to train and coach high-potential people under you, so there will be someone who can step into your job if you get a bigger one.”

— Adapted from “What it really takes to get that next promotion,” Anne Fisher, CNN Money.

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