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Do you spend your commutes dreaming of the corner office? Do you take the stairs rattling off a list of your key skills and qualities? No matter where you work, at some point or another, nearly all of us want to progress in our careers.
It can be easy to know if you’re ready from a skills point of view. Maybe you’re excelling in your role at the moment and could complete your daily to-do list in your sleep. Or perhaps you’ve completed all the necessary qualifications that are needed for that next step up the career ladder.
But are you ready in your own mind? Are you mentally prepared for the additional stresses and commitments that come hand-in-hand with a promotion? This isn’t always as easy to determine as checking off your skills.
Francesca Sieler, Marketing Director at luxury cashmere brand Chinti & Parker, says: ‘There’s so much more to moving up the career ladder than just ticking boxes on a plan. It’s important to make sure you are ready in your own mind for the changes a promotion can bring to your life. Being mentally prepared will ensure you are ready to take on your new challenge with passion and enthusiasm. It’s all a case of asking yourself the right questions beforehand.’
To that end, here are eight ways to tell if you’re mentally prepared for your next promotion.
1. You can work well under pressure
It’s easy for you to think that you’re ready for a promotion if you haven’t faced any conflict in your current role. But smooth sailing can lull you into a false sense of security. Any new position will come with its own set of challenges and stresses, so if you’ve proven that you can weather storms, then you should be all set.
Managerial gigs come with their fair share of challenges, so the better equipped you are to handle difficult times, the more mentally prepared you’ll be for that next step. If you know that you have the poise, inner strength and aptitude to successfully navigate tricky terrain, communicate effectively and reach a calm resolution, then you’re ready for a new challenge.
2. You’re flexible
It takes a humble person to recognise that they need help and to ask for it. Unfortunately, those who excel into senior management and beyond aren’t always the best at doing this. Nor are they great at creating alliances with other departments and handling conflict well. Asking someone for help, even if they are ‘below’ you, isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it’s a sign of great mental strength.
3. You’re ready to put in the extra time
Every boss loves a person who is willing to step up and put in the extra graft when it’s needed; sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. As you take on more responsibilities you might need to put in additional time that eats into your lounging evenings, chilled out mornings or even your weekends.
Of course, we’re not advocating that you work non-stop, but showing you’re willing to give up certain things at certain times can work wonders for your professional reputation.
4. You’re ready to put work ahead of your personal life
If you’re willing to put in the extra time as we’ve talked about above, then something’s gotta give, and for a while it’s more than likely going to be your personal life. Before you go and turn into a workaholic – remember that there is a balance to be struck here – think about what’s most important to you and prioritise from there.
There are certain sacrifices that come hand-in-hand with stepping into any kind of management role. Are you ready to give up your evening yoga class to travel to an important client meeting? Could you say goodbye to your relaxed mornings to get in ahead of everyone else? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, and can do it enthusiastically, then we’d say you’re ready.
5. You’re able to take criticism
Knowing how to listen to criticism and use it constructively in the future all while keeping your emotions in check is a skill that not many people end up mastering. It can be incredibly difficult not to take things personally but trust us when we say that you will be a lot better off in your career if you can become a constructive criticism expert.
Instead of viewing it as someone tearing apart your hard work, look at it as an opportunity to grow and develop. Without constructive criticism, you can’t learn and advance your skills, and that person could have an incredible perspective that you’re missing out on. Learn how to take criticism graciously and you’ll be a lot better for it.
6. You’re confident
Being a manager isn’t just a change in job title; it often requires you to step up and lead a team. That means being confident enough to tell people what to do and delegate tasks, but also being humble and approachable. Nobody likes a dictator.
You must be confident in making the right decisions. This could be having the final say on a client’s budget, or sending a blogpost back to the writer with some changes. Knowing that you’ve done the best thing for you, your client or your customer and having the knowledge to back that up will stand you in good stead for your next role.
7. You’re proud of the work you do
When the opportunity for advancement comes up, it’s common for people to develop tunnel vision; they only focus on their goal and forget everything else around them. But we cannot stress the importance of keeping a strong sense of pride in your existing work.
Yes, it’s important for someone who is promotion ready to always seek out more and strive to reach further, but it’s also important to be someone who goes above and beyond where they are right now.
Do you get distracted easily at your desk and find yourself browsing through social media to kill time? Do you crumple up your work uniform and leave it on your bedroom floor? Or are you laser focused? Do you wash and iron your uniform with care? Someone who is ready for the next step up the ladder is proud of what they do right now, and uses it as a strong foundation on which to build their entire career.
8. You really really love your job
This last one is actually the easiest. We all know, deep down in our hearts, how we truly feel about our jobs. Does the thought of getting up to go to work fill you with anxiety and dread? Or do you actually enjoy getting your teeth stuck into a new project? Only you can know if your job is your passion, but if you don’t, it’ll be obvious to those around you.
There’s only one thing more contagious than enthusiasm; negativity. So if you can be a beacon of positivity and light to your team, then it’s a sure sign you’re ready for the next position of authority. Trust us when we say it’ll make a strong difference to the future of your department, and your company.