Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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Should You Accept Every Promotion That Comes Your Way? Maybe Not

Predictable Promotion. Good idea or bad?

When it comes to accepting a promotion, any offer is a good offer, right? Not always. If you’re made an offer, it may be tempting to accept right away. But before you say “yes,” assess it thoroughly. Here are some questions you need to consider and the conversations you need to have (both with your manager and yourself) before you accept.

Is this a job you really want? I’ve seen lots of people accept promotions into management without stopping to consider if the job they were offered is one they really want. Some have said yes, thinking they really had no say in the matter, while others accepted because they thought this was their only option. This happens a lot when someone is promoted for the first time into management. They have no interest in managing the work of others, nor do they share the traits that are common among great leaders. Yet, they say yes and soon regret doing so.

Think long and hard about where you want to go in your career. If the newly offered position is aligned with your goals, then proceed. If not, consider opting out until an opportunity that is better aligned with your objectives presents itself.

Does this promotion come with a raise? Promoting people without offering any additional compensation seems to be a new trend gaining popularity among employers. I recently posted about this on LinkedIn, and as of this writing, over 164,000 people viewed my post and 310 people commented. Most, like me, are enraged by this trend. Here’s why.

Money is a matter of priority. Here’s what I mean. You’re offered a promotion, which generally means you will be taking on considerably more responsibility and investing more time at work, at least until you master your new job. In the meantime, the company decides to increase spending on snacks, company cars and executive pay. The message here is you’re not a priority. We don’t value you enough to give you more money, even though we want you to take on more responsibility.

If you feel you have little choice but to go along with these shenanigans, then accept the promotion. Then immediately update your LinkedIn profile with your new job title and be on the lookout for an organization that values people for the work they do.

Is this new job worth the money? Let’s assume for a moment that you’ll be given a pay raise with this promotion. Is it a token raise or will your new salary compensate you for the additional responsibilities you’ll be handling?

If you don’t feel you’ll be compensated fairly, then do your best to negotiate a better deal. Check with people who have similar experience or are in comparable jobs and ask them for advice regarding starting pay. Search online for salary information, as well. Then be prepared to ask your new boss for what you deserve.

Is the timing right for you to accept a promotion? After accepting a promotion, you usually have to put in extra hours while you master the skills required to do your new job. You may even need to continue to do your former job while looking for a replacement to fill the position you’ll be vacating. Will you have enough hours in the day to do this? Perhaps you’re attending night school to complete your degree or you’re the primary caregiver for an aging parent or a young family member.

Do you have the capacity to take on more, or will a new job push you over the edge? Think about this before saying yes.

Can you fully meet the expectations of this new role? Now is the time to have a heartfelt conversation with your new boss and your current boss. Ask your new boss what the expectations will be in terms of the new performance metrics that will be used to measure your success. Once you know this, you can then go back to your current boss for feedback regarding specific steps you need to take to ensure success in your new job.

Is your new boss willing to provide you with a coach? When I was first promoted into management, I was fortunate in that my boss gave me a coach. If he hadn’t, I doubt I would have lasted more than a few months in my new role.

If you think you would benefit from having a coach to help you swiftly transition into your new role, then now is the time to ask. Your potential new boss wants you to say yes to the opportunity being presented and may very well agree to your request.

The time to ask for what you want is now—before you accept a promotion. Just don’t act too surprised when your new boss says yes to your requests.

© Matuson Consulting, 2019.

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