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How to Surpass a Superior with a Promotion

What do you do when a superior has run out of ambition and settled in for the long-haul? Do you stay by their side, a humble subordinate, or do you face the discomfort and move on with your career path to bigger and better things? I remember a piece of advice I was told once: with the way the job market is today, employers will throw you out as soon as you stop being beneficial, so don’t be afraid of doing the same to them. What this means is that you have to look out for yourself when it comes to your career path because you can’t expect others to do it for you. It’s the new way to be professional.

Likewise, if a superior has stopped moving up you should not feel bad about wanting to get the promotion to pass them up. However, it isn’t always obvious how to go about doing this since your course of action differs for every situation. There are some overarching guidelines that are applicable no matter what the circumstances though. Here is a brief list of what you have to do in order to be seen as more valuable than your superior while still remaining professional.

Work Harder
If you want to be the boss of your boss, then you have to put in the work of someone who has already gotten the promotion. It isn’t enough to just do the things that your superior is telling you to do; you have to start doing the things your superior is being ASKED to do. If you prove you can do their job better and in a more professional manner than them, chances are you will move down your career path. While you will likely not receive a promotion immediately, you will move up to at least the same level as them.

Innovate
Show the people upstairs that you can think differently and in a more professional manner than the current employees they have under them. For the promotion, don’t just show them that you are faster and more efficient. Show them that you can show everyone else how to be faster and more efficient too. The point of a superior is to manage and train underlings to be in their image, so let them see the benefits of having an army of you.

Lead
It’s not enough to stand out from your coworkers. You need to take charge of them in order to go further down your career path. Spearhead projects and prove that you can manage both yourself and others through both long-term and short-term projects. A promotion means more responsibility over subordinates, and if you want to pass your superior then you have to at least be able to manage your coworkers better and in a more professional manner than your superior can.

These three guidelines should serve as the spine of any plan you make to get a promotion and move beyond a superior. Considering there are many different scenarios that can occur, you’ll have to assess your specific situation to figure out how to best apply the three guidelines. Regardless of your plan of action you must work harder, lead better, and innovate like you never have before. How can you expect to move down your career path if you just keep everything the same?

What are some things you think would work in surpassing a superior for a promotion? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by M_Shahab

Bane Srdjevic

Bane is a Purdue graduate and has been through a lot of the trials and tribulations every job seeker goes through. He is looking to spread his knowledge so that other job seekers don't make the same mistakes. Learning by doing is fine, but knowledge is king.