Six Questions to Answer Before Taking a Promotion

Posted by

There are those people who find a job, love it, and stay with it for their entire career. Even though there may be opportunities to take a promotion or make a lateral move, they are content to stay with the familiar. They become experts, the “go to” person, and become trainers and mentors for others who work the same job or position for the company.

There are pros and cons to “moving up.” Here are six questions to answer before making a career move within your company.

1. Are you qualified for the new position? Your boss may feel that you are his right-hand, and you’ve dazzled everyone with your skills and abilities. You may know your job inside and out, and taken on other related responsibilities. But the next rung on the ladder may be a little bigger leap than you are ready for. Do you have the education, training or related experience that will help you be successful at the next level? New supervisors are the least likely to get sufficient training, especially in building teams and management skills, and the most likely to fail in their new jobs. Assess the skill levels of your new peers and see how you measure up. If you decide to take the job, negotiate training and mentoring before you sign on.

2. Do you want the hassle of managing people? Many assistants are great organizers, multi-taskers, technicians and communicators. They are used to taking care of the needs of others in a supportive role. Supervisors, on the other hand, have to manage, direct and lead a group of people, build cohesive teams and be good listeners, problem-solvers, coaches and counselors. Making the shift from a supportive to leadership role can be uncomfortable and often stressful. Taking on policy administration, disciplinary actions is not for everyone.
3. As a supervisor, you are responsible for the work of the entire team, not just your own. Your manager, with her own responsibilities, most likely won’t have a lot of time for mentoring and training. You will now be responsible for seeing the work gets done on time and up to standards. Instead of going to someone to solve problems, you will be asked to come up with solutions and implement them with your work team. Your performance will be judged to a great extent on the success of your team.
4. Moving up means you will need to distance yourself from the social group you built with your co-workers, some of whom you may now be supervising. It can be at least awkward, but also uncomfortable and lonely. You will not only be taking on a new set of responsibilities but a new peer group. Is the social network at the next level right for you?
5. How does your company regard those who don’t take advantage of an opportunity? Depending on the company culture, turning down a promotion can take you out of the running for other opportunities. You may be considered complacent without initiative or drive to excel. In some high performance jobs or industries, this decision could affect your good standing with the company.
6. An increase in pay, more perks, an office and a laptop can fall on the plus side of a promotion. A company Smartphone or Blackberry may be a symbol of success, but it’s also a cord that keeps you tied to the job and your boss 24/7. Will the increased hours, being “on-call,” and working at home on that laptop make the job financially and personally rewarding? Consider how these changes will affect your personal and family life. Weighing all the options can help you make the decision that is right for you.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and workplace consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," “BiS Magazine” and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at, and on the web at

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch