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How to Get Promoted in Middle Management

Updated on February 6, 2015
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Ms.Treadwell is a licensed attorney and the author of "How Do Hurricane Katrina's Winds Blow: Racism in 21st Century New Orleans."


I have 25 years of professional work experience. I worked entry-level positions and in middle management. In almost every job I had I was blessed to get promoted. Folks have asked me, “How do you do that?” Listen, if you want to have a successful career you have to put in your time and effort. You have to be patient; and you have to be prepared. There is just no easy way. Employers don’t hand out middle-management jobs like candy, especially, in this current economy.

In my “Top 10 Style,” let me share with you what you need to know about getting promoted to middle management.

Top 10 Ways to Get Promoted to Middle Management

  1. Don't be afraid to ask for a promotion. Many people who want promotions and don’t get them just have not asked their employer about “moving on up.” Many think that the employer will just come to their desk one day and say, “Sam, you’re a damn fine worker, I’m going to give you a promotion.” That’s not usually the way it works. Get over the nerves. Think about all the positive qualities you have as a person and employee. It will pump you up and give you the confidence you need to ask for the promotion. If the employer says no, then, ask further questions on what is necessary for a promotion so you can work on those specific aspects of your performance.
  2. Look at your job description. Are you meeting the current requirements and goals? You keep the job you have for meeting the expectations of your current position. You get the promotions for going beyond expectations. Demonstrate that you want to move up and that you are not just complacent in your current status by seeking out opportunities to do more than what is expected.
  3. Be prepared to talk to your supervisor about your worth. List all the things you do outside your job description to help others or the company. Then you will have evidence to discuss with your supervisor that you are ready to ask for a promotion.
  4. Pay your dues. The amount of time you spend with a company is critical in getting a promotion. If you have only been on the job a few months, you are unlikely to get a promotion. Give yourself at least 1 – 1 ½ years on the job – demonstrate an excellent attitude, work ethic, and drive. Then you can ask for a promotion.
  5. Find the promotion: Check with the company’s human resources representative and find out if there are positions available in middle management and what the requirements are for the position. Do you need more time in on the job? A degree? Recommendations from your current supervisor in the company? Then set yourself up to meet the qualifications before asking or applying for that promotion.
  6. Continue to educate yourself whether that means researching your industry, competitors or taking classes for a certification or degree program that relates to your job. It’s another feather in your cap for you to discuss with your supervisor in getting the promotion.
  7. Talk to your supervisor about what the company needs and how you can make that happen with a promotion. Do not talk about your own needs for more money, prestige or authority. For example, present the statement: "I can do XYZ for the company if I am in a middle management position.”
  8. Be professional, well-dressed, and well groomed during your tenure in the lower ranks. In fact, do better than that and dress for the next level up. Your supervisor will notice your level of professionalism and will make a mental note of it. There is some truth in that if you do not take care of the way you look it’s because you do not care enough about yourself. (Don’t fight me here.) If you do not care about yourself, you probably do not care enough about anyone else, let alone the responsibilities that go along with the job.
  9. Keep a good attitude when you are given a more-complex-than-usual project from your supervisor. Take it all in stride and give it your all. He or she might just be testing you to see if you’re ready for the next level in the company.
  10. Volunteer for more complex projects. Don’t ever sit around with nothing to do. Keep asking your supervisor for additional work and complete it with diligence and accuracy. Your supervisor will see you as a “go-getter” and will see you in a favorable light when you ask for the promotion.

Congratulations on having a job, no matter what level you're in now! Good luck and best wishes on getting the promotion you deserve.

By Liza Lugo, J.D.

(c) 2012, Revised 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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      5 years ago

      What jobs are typically considered middle management? For example, would a President for a specific country for a corporation be top or middle management?