More Responsibility Doesn’t Always Mean a Promotion

Q. I’ve been told by my manager I am “in line” for more responsibility, which I read as a promotion. What can I do to get out of line, get promoted, and get the raise I have been waiting for?

A. Employees and managers don’t always agree on when the time is right for additional responsibility on the job. To better your chances, you need to communicate clearly, and perform your current responsibilities at the highest level.

Schedule a time for a performance review with your manager. You don’t need to wait for the annual schedule. To prepare, you need to gather information on your accomplishments over the last 6 months or longer. Your manager may not be aware of these successes, but do make sure you have data to support the value of your contributions. Just “doing your job” is most often not enough to warrant a promotion, or a raise. You need to show your impact on your team or your company, or both.

After you discuss these accomplishments, you might point out areas where you can take additional responsibility to add to the success of the organization or address challenges your group or department faces. Don’t overlook areas your manager may not prefer to deal with, or situations that have high visibility for success or failure. If you have taken the initiative to deal with challenges already, make sure to discuss these areas and their outcome.

Your manager may see these activities as part of the job, as opposed to new responsibility. Make sure to clarify which responsibilities your manager sees you in line for, and if these new duties are part of a promotion which includes a raise. Often a change in duties does not come with additional compensation.


If the timeline is slower than you had hoped, make sure you are confident your manager supports your desires, and agrees with your capabilities and future role within the organization. If there are areas you need to address in your development, get your managers support and help in designing opportunities to get the additional training or experience you require. If you do not get that support, you will want to know sooner rather than later to review your options.

Managers are responsible for succession planning within their organizations. You will want to ensure you know what your manager has in store for you, what the timeline is, and the skills you need to demonstrate to make sure you move out of line, and move ahead instead.

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