While the credentials on your CV are obviously important, your success in gaining a promotion will ultimately come down to two points, according to Dr Peter Fuda, management consultant and thought leader with The Alignment Partnership (TAP): substance and perception.
“Substance refers to your ability to actually make a contribution that is valued by your key stakeholders – in particular, up-line managers,” he said.
“Perception refers to how well you understand the impact you are having on your key stakeholders. It doesn’t matter what you believe, or what you think you are contributing, it comes down to what your key stakeholders perceive.”
For HR business partners, the process of gaining a promotion can be even trickier. If the perception held by key management is that you spend the bulk of your time developing HR initiatives and devising talent-focused business strategies, how you can demonstrate that you can effectively run a team?
Fuda said it all comes back to the perception your bosses hold of your role and your potential, so if you want them to see you in a certain light, it’s up to you to engineer that outcome.
Want them to see you as a leader? Develop some HR initiatives that demonstrate your leadership skills.
Keen to show off your calm attitude in a crisis? Then be sure to communicate clearly and proficiently when putting out fires.
“If you’re an HR manager, and HR has a reputation for not delivering, for instance, then that is the starting perception you are working with,” Fuda added.
“Perception will always be your starting point for navigating your way to a promotion.”
HR people are naturally good at managing their own career, as talking about issues to do with career growth, up-skilling and succession planning are part of their daily business life. But putting your theoretical knowledge into practice isn’t always easy, particularly when other people’s perceptions are at play.