Regional Director, Michael Page Hong Kong
Claiming what you deserve and are entitled to
Before I joined this company six months ago, I was promised a promotion to marketing manager. Unfortunately, the boss who hired me has since left the company and the new boss doesn’t seem like to promote me just to fulfil the promise of his predecessor. “More time is needed for me to evaluate your performance,” he said. I’m not ready to abandon my hopes of promotion without a fight just yet. But I am also fully aware that it might be a futile cause. I am tempted to extricate myself from a bad situation, but I am also worried about how unfavourable it my look on my CV. Is it worth sticking around for a bit longer or should I go?
I am sorry to hear about this predicament you have found yourself in. It can be tough facing a situation like this, especially after working hard to attain a promotion that was well within your grasp just weeks ago. While I understand your frustration and disappointment, it does not have to be the end of your time at the company, and there are useful steps that you can take to mitigate this situation.
Firstly, was the promotion promised to you by your former boss based on achieving certain targets and key performance indicators. Was there also any proper documentation of the terms and conditions for this promotion? If these terms were clearly drawn out, a good starting point would be to share this document with your new boss and to have an earnest conversation about your contributions to the company over the last six months. Bear in mind that your new boss has not had many opportunities to work with you at this point, and it is important to give both you and your boss a chance to foster a good working relationship.
Another step that you can take to help your situation is to rope in a credible third party. If there was another manager or leader from the company that had spoken to you about the promotion, they may be able to put in a good word for you with your new boss and vouch for your capabilities and leadership qualities. However, it is important to be mindful of the manner in which you include this third party, as you do not want your new boss to feel like you are overstepping boundaries and attempting to override his or her call. In all your discussions, focus on wanting to contribute more as well as the unique abilities and skills you bring to the table.
In the unfortunate event that there is no written document to back up the promotion and no other credible third party to vouch for you, it would be difficult for your new boss to justify promoting you at this early stage. However, you do not have to lose hope. Approach your new boss and find out what he or she expects of you as a member of the team so that you can help to achieve the shared goals for the company. If possible, set targets for a promotion within a timeline that is agreeable with both parties. While you may think that you deserve this promotion, it is vital to understand and clearly demonstrate how to meet the needs and requirements of your boss so that they can see why you deserve it.
Last but not least, work with your boss to establish a development plan for yourself to support long-term learning goals. This will show your boss your commitment to excellence, not just to achieve this one promotion, but to continually and effectively contribute to the company in the long run.
At the end of the day, if you are learning and progressing with the company, and passionate about your job, it would be a great disservice to yourself to leave at this early stage without giving yourself a chance to succeed with your new boss. Relationships take time to build, so give your new boss time to learn your strengths and to recognise that you can be trusted with managing projects, people and situations effectively. If the only caveat at this point is the delayed promotion, all you essentially need to do is to work out targets to achieve your goal.
Here’s wishing you all the best in securing that promotion in the near future.