Have you ever been so frustrated about not getting something you thought you deserved, that you blurted out, “But, I earned it!” That’s the experience of many individuals who have sought a promotion and been passed over. The frustration is real but unnecessary. It’s caused by an entitlement mindset that just doesn’t fit in the world of business and career development. It is a frustration born out of bad thinking, which must be removed from our minds. You’ll never earn a promotion.
My past three posts have been about how to get promoted. I’ve talked about the big picture of How I Finally Got Promoted. And then I shared some specific tips about getting promoted by volunteering and how to make sure decision makers know who you are. Today I’m going to talk about how your frame of mind can help or hinder your ability to get promoted.
Your Frame of Mind Makes the Difference
Now, there are libraries full of self-help books about having a positive frame of mind, but one thing good coaches are always looking for is self-limiting thoughts. When a young woman says “Why would anyone want to marry someone who looks me,” that’s a self-limiting thought. When an older man finds himself out of work, he may think the self-limiting thought, “I’ll never get a job, I’m too old and overqualified.” To find joy and success in life, we must have a positive frame of mind, and we must point out the falsehoods of those thoughts that limit us and hold us back without justification.
We also must avoid those thoughts that tend toward self-sabotage, and when a person seeking promotion adopts an entitlement mindset, they are adopting a frame of mind that will lead to their downfall.
Several years ago I was growing frustrated about not getting promoted. I was working hard, exceeding all my metrics, leading my teams in results. I was even working beyond the boundaries of my job requirements, taking on responsibilities that belong to higher levels of management. Yet, promotion opportunity after promotion opportunity came and went. I began to grow frustrated, I even articulated in my thoughts out loud a few times to people who would listen. I argued that I deserved to get those promotions. I earned them after all.
It seems pretty obvious to me now, but it wasn’t obvious then. The fact of the matter is, I was feeling entitled, and because my leaders were not giving me what I believed was my due, I fell into a hole, a pit really. I went down the slippery slope that so many aspiring professionals traverse. The results were devastating.
- I grew angry and bitter
- I began to neglect my work and miss my metrics
- I complained allot
- I got passed over again, and this time, I was told – “you just aren’t ready”
Getting a Promotion is About Being Ready
You see the problem is that getting promoted isn’t about whether you’ve earned it or not. It’s about whether you are ready, and your attitude speaks volumes about your preparedness for additional responsibility and higher compensation. If you think about it, you’ll probably agree that all the things I did to “earn” a promotion where the very things I was paid to do.
It’s like the person who gets perfect attendance at work and expects a bonus for doing so. Did you get paid for every day you showed up to work? Then why should you get a bonus for doing something you got paid to do. And why should you get promoted for doing your work with excellence and integrity when that is exactly what you are paid for?
So, what is the attitude that your leaders look for as an indication that you are ready? Well, they are looking for an attitude of ambition balanced with humility and selflessness. They want to see someone who desires more responsibility but is humble enough to work extra hard, not for promotion, but for the growth and success of the organization and the people within. Why?
Because the more responsibility you possess in an organization the more you are required to put others first. A business owner is responsible for the success of the company because she is responsible for the people whose families depend on that income. That’s why she typically works more hours and carries greater stress than anyone else. A person who walks around with an entitlement mentality won’t make a very good leader, and therefore won’t likely get promoted.
What’s your frame of mind? Do you feel entitled to a promotion or are you thankful for the work you have and the impact you are able to make? The difference between two is often the difference between getting promoted and getting left behind.