The secret to getting your next promotion

I'm Jenna

With over 13+ years experience leading people and a HR designation, I have heard and seen it all when it comes to interviews. I'm here to share my interviewing tips, guidance + perspective on prepping for your next job interview.

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Getting promoted at work can be one of the most incredible experiences in the workplace. It’s a time when you’re acknowledged and recognized for the efforts you’ve put forward. It often comes with a raise and validates that you’re doing something right! And while celebrations are in order for some, our efforts sometimes don’t equal promotions. You work hard, you put in the time and then, crickets….

While there are many factors in getting a promotion and some out of your control, I want you to consider one skill you have 100% control of and one of the most significant catalysts to landing a promotion. It’s self-management.

To dive deeper into this, let’s play, True or False.

True or False:

  • You are productive at work with little instruction and/or guidance.
  • You are organized with your tasks and responsibilities.
  • You are aware of when extra time is needed to get something completed.
  • You solve challenging tasks and/or navigate challenging scenarios leveraging your problem-solving skills.
  • You are mindful of when you’ve taken on too much and know when it’s time to ask for help. 

If you answered TRUE to the majority of these statements, your self-management skills look strong!

Now you may be wondering, how do I apply this to getting my next promotion!?

By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll understand the power of self-management in landing your next promotion, interview questions that get asked to uncover a candidate’s self-management level and 3 ways to hone your self-management ability. Let’s get started.

Self-management is a soft skill that indicates to managers and peers that the team member is reliable, self-aware and likely produces greater results than the average person. As you read in the T/F statements above, team members with strong self-management skills prioritize their time, ask for help when needed, and take the initiative to get the work done even when they have little to no direction. 

As a past manager, when I thought about promoting our next employee, you better believe having strong self-management tendencies was at the top of my list of must-haves.

According to the Linkedin Global Talents Trend, 75% of talent professionals use behavioural questions to assess soft skills, like self-management. So if you’re interviewing or up for your next promotion, here are some behavioural interview questions you can think on and answer using your best examples of exhibiting self-management.

  1. Describe a situation where you minimized distractions during the workday to meet a deadline.
  2. Describe a situation when you had to exercise a significant amount of self-control.
  3. Tell me about a time you asked for help.
  4. Tell me about when you had to step away from traditional methods to solve a difficult or complex problem. Can you describe your approach? What was the outcome?

BTW, if you struggle with answering interview questions, check out the article,
How do I answer interview questions in a clear and concise way?

In addition to reflecting on these questions, we know that continuous learning and growing in our roles (and life!) are so important, so here are some ways you can hone your self-management skills: 

Get organized.

Make time to consciously plan the work ahead at the beginning of your week. Consider what needs to get done, the time it’s going to take and what’s realistic for you to accomplish. Communicate with those who ‘need to know,’ share timelines and get on with your week. 

Practice reflection and self-awareness.

Recognize your feelings and desires. Step back and objectively bring curiosity to your behaviours; why do you do what you do?

Create time to reflect on what you’ve been learning about yourself on an ongoing basis.

If you need a little support in reflection, I’ve created a career reflection workbook to help you with the ongoing review. You can download it HERE.

Exercise your problem-solving skills.

The next time you want to seek help, stop and consider all your options. Lean into your problem-solving skills. Not quite sure how to move forward in a tricky situation? Here’s what you can do. 

  • Pause and brainstorm possible solutions.
  • Bring two or three options to a peer or your leader. 
  • Share the challenge and your different ways to move forward. 
  • Ask, “Based on what I’ve shared, I’m leaning towards Option (insert your top pick). Do you have an opinion or recommendation on the best path?”

Can you see how critical the soft skill of self-management is within your career journey? And how it just may be the secret to your next promotion? 

If you’re feeling stuck around your career trajectory, read this article for some inspiration. 
If you’re looking for additional career tips or interview prep resources, check out other articles on the OTI blog.

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Hi, I'm Jenna.
Your new career and interview prep coach.

I'm incredibly passionate about supporting people to walk into their job interviews with confidence. With 13+ years experience leading people and a HR designation, I have heard and seen it all when it comes to interviews.

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Make bold requests and be your own greatest cheerleader xo, Jenna

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