After you’ve been in a job for a while, work that once felt challenging may begin to feel mundane. You know the ropes and some of the luster of the role is wearing off. Frankly, you’re ready to move on to other things—tasks and responsibilities that will provide more personal satisfaction. In fact, according to Gallup, talented employees are precisely the ones to “seek out better opportunities where they can grow and develop their skills.” If you fall into this category, you may be thinking about looking around for potential new jobs. But don’t be too hasty. Your boss may actually have you pegged for promotion.
There are certainly signs your boss wants to promote you—and signs that you either are or aren’t, ready for a promotion. What should you be on the lookout for to determine whether you’re about to be tapped on the shoulder for a new role and more responsibility?
Here Are 5 Signs Your Boss Wants to Promote You
1) Your Boss is Paying Attention to You
Bosses are busy people. So when your boss starts to pay more attention to you, or spend more time with you, that’s a good sign you’re on his or her radar. Dave Lane, CEO of Inventiv, says: “If you’re next in line for a promotion, you may notice them devoting more time to conversations with you—inviting you to meetings, asking to bounce ideas off of you, or individually coaching you to improve your leadership skills.”
2) Your Boss is Turning to You to Take on More Work
This might include, says Mason Harris, VP and practice partner with The Tolan Group, such things as including you in meetings with levels of people that are higher than those you’ve met in the past, or asking you about your ability to take on more important projects.
Preparing yourself for these types of opportunities requires that you are clearly conveying a “can do” attitude and not falling into the trap of being, or seeming, overwhelmed. Those who are constantly complaining that they have “too much to do” are not likely to be given opportunities to show how much more they could contribute.
3) Your Boss Is Inviting You to Management Meetings
In most organizations, says Lane, it’s not just your direct boss who will be involved in promotion decisions; in many organizations, promotions require buy-in from senior management, he says. That means that your boss will look for opportunities to let you shine in front of the key decision-makers. “Regularly inviting you to management meetings to contribute to higher-level decisions—or even giving you assigned responsibilities to report on during management meetings—” is one of the clearest signs your boss wants to promote you.
4) Your Boss is Giving You More Constructive Feedback
Those who are poised for promotion shouldn’t expect that the only feedback they receive will be positive (therefore conveying their strong position and likelihood to be tapped to move ahead). It may seem counter-intuitive but, actually, says Ketan Kapoor, CEO, and co-founder of Mettl, a talent assessment firm. Constructive criticism, says Kapoor, “helps you seal the gulf between where you are and where you want to be.” Importantly, your boss should accompany the feedback with information and options for further career development to help you address these identified needs. This interest in investing in your career development is one of the clear signs your boss wants to promote you.
5) Your Boss Has a Clear Focus on the Future—Yours!
Amanda Gulino is the founder of A Better Monday, a firm that works with business owners to help them grow their teams. Bosses whose conversations focus on the future—yours—are giving clear tells that they believe you have the potential to do bigger and better things. Future-facing questions like “What’s next for you?,” or “What do you see yourself doing in a year?,” mean that they’re thinking about you and the role you will play on their team, says Gulino. “Smart managers will be aware that great talent will get scooped up and they’ll want to promote you ahead of the curve when possible,” she says.
Listen carefully to how your boss talks about the future, says Gulino. “Do they say things like ‘I see a lot of opportunity for you here’ or ‘let’s talk about where you want to go next?’” These are signs, she says, that the boss is “thinking ahead about future roles you might be able to play on the team.”
If you’re observing one or more of these signs your boss wants to promote you, that’s great. But, cautions Lane, be careful. “You cannot take anything short of an explicit offer as a definite indicator of promotion. Don’t let the extra attention get to your head. It’s difficult to take a promotion back, but it’s easy to choose someone else if you fail to demonstrate the temperament your boss is looking for.”
Once you’ve been identified as a potential candidate for promotion, the next step will be an interview—an internal interview requires a slightly different approach than interviews you might participate in with another company. An upcoming post tells you what to expect and how to ace an internal interview.
Looking for more Support with Performance Reviews?
Check out our Collection of Leadership Articles