How to ask for a promotion

Anthony Mangos
2 min readMar 4, 2021
Image source: Joshua Ness, Unsplash

One of our worst fears as humans is rejection.

Unfortunately, that fear is one of the biggest drivers behind our sense of vulnerability when we ask for things at work, like that promotion.

Because we’re asking for something we want, we’re scared of the answer…or at least one of them.

Sadly, it’s impossible to get rid of those thoughts and fears, but with the right approach and mindset, you can mitigate against them.

Here are three key things to consider when asking for a promotion:

Make sure you know what you want

That means having a point of view on the type of role you think you should have, what you should be responsible for and how you’d like to work with your peers in this new context. You should also have a clear idea of what you believe fair compensation should be — i.e. a sense of your value now and the value of your potential being realised.

Build a case

Think about all of the reasons why you should be promoted and prepare a memo that outlines your strengths, successes, and impact. But don’t finish there, also think about the team you work with and the business you’re in. Add to the memo reasons why the role you want is required and how it will help the team and the business deliver on it’s strategic goals.

This process will also help you understand the perspective of the person you’re asking meaning you can begin to anticipate what might drive their decision.

Take your time

Promotions can take time. Financial planning, team dynamics and transition periods are just some of the considerations being made. So, don’t see the first time you ask as the be-all and end-all. This is about planting the seed and then reinforcing your argument through continued good performance. You could even set a timeline for the conversation with the person you’re asking. Knowing that this is a process can also help steer away from the initial fears of rejection as not right now doesn’t mean not ever.

Feeling vulnerable is always going to be part of asking for a promotion, but by starting with some of the above approaches you can embrace it rather than shy away.

If you are stuck on some of these key steps to prepare yourself in asking for a promotion, why not book a session with a Mavin. Sometimes the clearest perspectives can come from an outside perspective — especially one who’s been in your shoes, and the shoes of whoever you’re asking