Whatever your reasons for seeking a promotion are, whether status, pay or perks, making the case is key. While the promotion is about and for you, your case is strongest when built around your boss and the company, and how you can contribute to their objectives and goals. "While your past performance tells the company much about who you are and the type of work you can do, as far as they are concerned, you've been paid for that and it's water under the bridge," says Donna Kent, a Schaumburg, Illinois, business consultant. "Focus on what you have to offer moving forward."
Your case for a promotion starts long before discussing it with your boss. "Your past performance is going to follow your pursuit of promotion," says Kent. "How you're regarded by your manager and others in your work group has a large impact on your chances, and that's not something you can easily spin. Past performance review files will be pulled. If these shine, then you shine." When your file shows areas for improvement, sincere effort to address these work in your favor, Kent says. "If there are items you haven't addressed," she advises, "consider postponing your drive for promotion until you've had a chance to show you're working on improvement."
Ask Your Boss
Promotions do sometimes fall from the sky, but waiting for the rain may not fit your schedule. Making the case for a promotion is often a process, rather than an event. Kristi Hedges writes in "Forbes" in 2013 that requesting a meeting and giving your boss time to prepare is an effective strategy for requesting a raise, and it's one that applies to your promotion case as well. Having your boss on board with your promotion ambitions is easiest when you present it as a collaboration, rather than a demand or request you leave with her," adds Kent. Think of it as a dialog, working toward a team goal."
Presenting Your Case
When you're discussing promotion opportunities with your boss, negotiation coach Jim Camp suggests inviting your boss to say "no." Writing for "CIO" in 2007, Camp says that telling your boss you're OK with a no answer starts negotiations on an open and honest basis, that you're sincere about combining your personal ambitions with hers. Since there's a good chance that your boss knows of opportunities and company needs that you don't, Camp advises that you should never let an adversarial tone creep into discussions. Keep your discussions businesslike and focused on what you can offer the company, moving forward,.Kent adds, "Your past performance is on record, and your boss knows your previous work. Focus on what you can bring to the new position."
Camp says that emotions have no place in this type of workplace negotiation, calling neediness the number one deal breaker. Your negotiating power comes from being able to walk away. Camp also adds that trying to close the deal on a promotion is inappropriate for the same reason -- exposing your need. He suggests focusing on what you can control, and that's your own performance. A meeting that ends with a "no" answer may be a step toward a "yes" in the future. Author and consultant John Beeson says in Fortune in 2013 that having your boss on board positions you for opportunities down the road, when the timing is right.