I’ve taken on an acting manager role, but I feel underappreciated and undervalued in this role. What steps can I take to improve this situation and make this a permanent managerial role?

Elaine Varelas advises on the best ways to advocate for yourself and your worth when tasked with additional managerial responsibilities, but no additional income.

Q. My company put me into an “acting” manager role but has not increased my compensation (or my title officially). I am now doing the work of my past manager who left, as well as many of the responsibilities I had before, but with no additional pay or recognition. They have not made any indication of when this will change. It makes me want to leave because I feel unappreciated. What advice do you have?

A. Congratulations on being given a role with increased responsibilities. This obviously shows that the organization believes you are capable and can fill in for someone with different and more senior responsibilities than you had. Because this is the work of your past manager, you have been elevated in the organization. Often the opposite happens, which is a manager loses a person and becomes responsible for their duties while a new search is happening. In that situation, the person is typically not given additional compensation. In your situation, by being elevated into the role, recognition is due to you as well as an increase in your pay, especially if this is for a prolonged period.

Prior to your accepting this role, I wonder if there was a conversation where you were asked about taking on these additional responsibilities. At that time, you had the opportunity to say, “I'm flattered and honored that you'd see me as competent to take on additional responsibilities. Tell me a little bit about the timetable you have in mind, whether I am going to be considered a candidate for the position, and the additional compensation you have in mind for taking on this additional work”.  It sounds like you've missed that window, but all is not lost. You can absolutely go back to your manager and say, "I've been in this role for X number of days or weeks or months, and I believe I'm doing a very good job. Hopefully you believe that as well. I’d like to discuss additional compensation for the work that I’ve been doing since we didn’t discuss this when I first took on these responsibilities.  I’d also like to discuss my candidacy for moving out of the acting role and into a permanent promotion.”

If you aren’t a candidate for the role, then ask about the development that might make you a candidate in the future AND compensation from when you took on the responsibilities until you leave them behind and return to your previous role. These are all reasonable conversations that people are typically very uncomfortable having. Compensation continues to be one of the most challenging conversations people have when interviewing for a job and on the job. The more you practice, the more you develop a tolerance for the discomfort. You also see that more often than not you do have something to gain.  Take the time to research industry standards and salary ranges not only for your current role, but also for the managerial position you're temporarily filling.

Now is not the time to be passive. If management hasn't made any indication of the next steps in the process, arrange the meeting with your manager and with HR. This is a great time to compile a list of the accomplishments made  while in this role and how these have positively impacted the organization. This list should include all the tasks, projects, and results you have achieved in your acting manager role. This is also your best opportunity to make a case for a salary increase and official title change based on your performance and added responsibilities. I encourage you to decide whether you really want compensation or appreciation, and I encourage you to go for the compensation first.