Strategies to showcase your strengths in the office – Dr. Muneer Muhamed


Promotions and salary increments were not feasible in 2020. However, with the vaccination drive on the upswing and safety protocols in place, things are looking brighter. Consumer confidence is improving and the economic scenario has some green shoots although some commentators dispute this.

Overall, the prospect of getting a promotion this year looks better.

While a promotion need not define you, it’s a visible recognition of your efforts at work. It is not about working harder or meeting key performance indicators (KPIs); often, it’s about the right timing and boldly asking for a promotion. People are anxious about being rejected and often shy away from asking for one.

Use the opportunity to reframe the question – i.e. for positive feedback on what would enable you to gain a promotion and take on a new role. Delving into the consideration set of potential candidates for promotion is a success in itself; asking for it can only improve your chances.

How do you prepare to pop the question?

While experience, achievements and skills are important to be considered for promotion, they aren’t sufficient. Here are some possible steps you can take as gleaned from several senior executives who have found success during adverse times.

Give the organisation what it wants. Most businesses want their employees to add more value than simply doing what they are paid to do. So get involved in broader areas of the business to find ways to add more value to its growth and profitability during this period.

Learn new skills that will broaden your ability to innovate or find fresh ways to serve customers. Reimagine processes or identify new units of business to reposition competition. Any growth of the bottom line will always be noticed.

Get into the minds of the decision makers. Identify who will be the ultimate decision maker for your promotion. It could be your boss, or his or her boss. Start building a relationship with this person by showcasing your work and ideas for future growth. You can ask him or her in a subtle way to mentor you… so that he or she will take a special interest in you.

Remember, all this will succeed only if you continue to work hard and perform in your assigned role.

When asking for a promotion, be specific about what you want and why – don’t be vague.

Network internally and externally because evidence shows that this activity is essential to career success. Author Dr. Ivan Misner says that people should spend eight to 10 hours a week building professionally relevant relationships.

Sociologist Prof. Mark Granovetter notes that people tend to find jobs through others with whom they have only weak ties – such as those they may have met casually once or twice, seen infrequently or were simply acquaintances.

The reason for this is that those that have strong ties may be more likely to have the same information and contacts as you do. It is those with weak ties who tend to have worthwhile information and contacts.

Despite the new virtual world of work, spend time embracing the idea of networking within and outside the organisation for that promotion by looking for opportunities where you can demonstrate your knowledge, offer to lead new projects, have access to regular informal feedback or project a personal brand that stands out meaningfully.

Establish yourself as a leader and problem solver. Higher positions need more leadership skills, and this can be honed by becoming a role model for your colleagues and gaining their respect. Step in to lead teams whenever the need arises, show meticulous execution capacities in projects and acquire skills that result in effective leadership.

In addition, it’s important to position yourself as someone who can solve problems in a crisis. Step in to take up critical initiatives in business processes, people issues or diversity challenges. For instance, find areas such as productivity or workplace safety that have bottlenecks – and reverse the curve.

Every organisation loves self-starters, and you’ll have a clear edge if you take on problem areas without being asked to do so – and of course, solve them!

Always demonstrate strong work ethics because after everything has been said and done, performance matters most in the end.

Creating an image of a hard worker with a strong work ethic is critical. Mastery of the current position can be demonstrated by differentiating yourself from your peers. Pursue better results, show excellence in what you do, and focus on execution and critical reasoning.

Be on time for work and meetings, and meet project deadlines. And take on new initiatives that you believe in, which have a direct link to adding value.

So will it be easy to get that promotion this year?

It won’t be hard for those who understand how the workplace has changed and are agile enough to adapt. So face up to the challenges and follow the aforementioned guidelines. If you still don’t get that promotion, your employer doesn’t deserve you!