How to Embrace the Challenge and Enjoy your Promotion

Posted by martin.parnell |

Congratulations! All your hard work has paid off and you’ve been given promotion at work or even joined a new company, in a better job. Once the celebrations are over, however, the prospect of the responsibilities of your new role, can be daunting.

It will certainly mean that people will assume you have a great deal of knowledge and experience. That is most likely true, but now you have to put your skills to work and convince those around you that your new position is well-deserved.

One of the most important skills to have is time management. If this is not something that comes easily to you, why not make a list of all the aspects of your new role and prioritise.

In her article Shifting Expectations: How to Adapt to New Job Responsibilities, on the 99U website, posted   Nov 29, 2011, Elizabeth Grace Saunders suggests a way to do that:

“First, write out all of the activities related to your job. Then, categorize each of them as an investment, neutral, or optimize activity:

  • Investment: Spending more time on these activities could lead to a significant increase in the benefits you receive. Example: A significant career-enhancing project that helps you grow your skill set.
  • Neutral: These activities give back as much as you put into them. Example: Billable hourly work, where you aren’t building out your portfolio or developing new skills.
  • Optimize: More time spent on these activities results in decreasing benefits. Example: Routine email or paperwork.

As you scan your completed list, you will want to:

  • Complete the “Optimize” activities as quickly as possible.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on “Neutral” activities.
  • Maximize the time you spend moving forward on “Investment” activities.
  • Re-evaluate as necessary.”

It’s also important to learn how to delegate. Make sure you understand the roles of all of your colleagues and the skills they offer, in order to take full advantage of the pool of expertise available to you. Saunders addresses this under the section More Management:

“Increases in the number of people who report to you should mean that the overall output of your team increases, if you’re delegating properly. But more management responsibility also means, of course, that you have to “let go” of some tasks.

To understand how much of your time different staff members receive from you and what you can delegate to gain back time for your creative projects, try this type of assessment:

  • Make a mind map or list of all of the different people reporting to you.
  • Detail out what each one of these people needs to receive from you such as:
    • Monthly one-on-one meetings (1 hour/month)
    • Weekly feedback on their current projects (2 hours/week)
    • Emotional support when they have a setback (varies)
  • Brainstorm all they could give back to you. The possibilities are endless. Your list might include things like:
    • Absorbing regular maintenance tasks, which could be anything from managing social media to writing blog posts to prepping files to answering customer emails, and so on. (4-8 hours/week)
    • Completing a major research or archival project. (5 days)
    • Taking over leading a committee or a regular meeting. (3 hours/month)
    • Attending a professional conference or seminar on your behalf. (1-2 days)” 

Depending on your type of work, you may find that you have to travel more or, if that hadn’t been an aspect of your previous job, it may be something else you have to adapt to. To limit the disruption of travelling for work, make sure your colleagues know when you will be away and that they are fully aware of what you expect them to do, during that time.

Allow time to prepare properly for any meetings scheduled or presentations you might have to give. Do you have all your information? Do the people you are visiting know what you may need? Are your travel plans all in place?

Also, if exercise is part of your regular routine, make sure you allow time for that on your trip. Do allow for time-zone changes and make sure people in the office and at home are aware, too. Let them know of best times to contact you and times when you will be unavailable. When you return, make sure you are quick to follow up on leads and submit any receipts.

Hopefully, your new job will be exciting, challenging and fulfilling, but if you feel it becomes overwhelming, seek help. There will be people who can support you and if there is skill that you feel needs improving or any area that you feel you are weaker, you can always ask for extra training.

For those of you who find yourselves in a managerial position, for the first time, I’ll leave you with some extra advice from guest writer Samuel Edwards, in the Under 30 network section of Forbes magazine, October 31st. 2016, in his post entitled 4 Things To Do After Landing Your First Promotion:

“When you launch your career, one of the very first goals you set for yourself is getting promoted. While it may take a few months, or even years, to get there, the day will eventually come when you’ll get notified that your hard work has paid off and that you’re moving up.

When you first get a promotion, the number one thing on your mind is how much more money you’ll make. Will it be a substantial pay raise or will you get just a small bump? Will you get a new office or will you remain in the same place? 

But as these details get fleshed out, suddenly your attention will shift to your impending responsibilities: What are your new responsibilities? Who do you report to? What does your new schedule look like? And more.

What you’ll quickly learn is that, along with a promotion, comes a huge learning curve that goes along with a move up the corporate ladder. The key is to understand what you’re getting into and handle it gracefully so that everyone around you feels like it was the right decision. Specifically, heed the following advice:

1. Proceed With Caution in Managerial Positions

If you’ve been promoted to your first managerial position, you need to resist the temptation to move fast and put your mark on everything you touch. You’re going to take on a lot of new responsibilities – many of which you won’t have experience with – so surround yourself with other managers at the company and pick their brains from time to time. Go to them for help when you’re uncertain of how to handle a situation. One thing savvy and experienced managers will tell you is that you need to slow down.

As human resources expert Donald Nickels advises in PayScale “Try not to immediately implement changes unless they’re absolutely necessary. Change is made even worse when supervisors move in and immediately begin scrambling processes that may have been in place for years.”

2. Gain Some Quick Momentum

Your first few weeks will set the tone for the rest of your time in that position. Your boss will be looking for affirmation that she or he made the right decision, while your subordinates and peers will be evaluating your performance and whether they like your leadership style.

You should begin looking for some quick and meaningful “wins” as soon as you start your new position. “When you’re having one-on-one meetings with team members and your boss, try to find out what some of their major pain points are in their day-to-day jobs,” career blogger Celine Tarrant suggests. If you can discover ways to address these points of friction, you can gain some momentum and people will begin to rally behind you.

With assuming your new role, you’ll have to balance taking action and holding back. The key is to find easy opportunities to make adjustments that will please the greatest number of people while saving bigger, more controversial decisions for later.

3. Write Down Your Goals (Immediately)

As soon as you accept your new promotion, things will start moving pretty fast. You’ll be learning new things, meeting new people, shuffling your daily routines, and dealing with problems left behind from the individual who vacated the position. That’s why it’s important that you immediately begin thinking about your goals.

Let’s say you get promoted on a Thursday afternoon and your boss tells you that you’ll be starting your new role the following Monday. On Friday, the following day, gather as much information as possible about the new position, what you’ll be responsible for, and where different matters currently stand. Then, over the weekend, start to set some short-term and long-term goals – both for yourself and for your new position. These goals will obviously change over time, but having some sort of roadmap will help you tremendously when things inevitably get hectic.

4. Respect Everyone

Depending on your personality type and the unique situation that you’re in, getting a promotion may make you feel accomplished – and it should. But it’s vital that you don’t let this self-importance go to your head. If you want to have a successful career, you’re going to need more promotions down the road. The only way to avoid burning bridges – and to keep paving new ones – is to give a little respect.

“Treating anyone like they are beneath you because you’ve gotten a promotion will hurt you in the long run, "writes career bloggers Kate Matsudaira and Kate Stull. Even when others confront you with negativity, attempt to steer things in a positive direction.”

Whether or not you encounter teething problems, as you adjust to your new position, do remember, you were appointed for a reason. Embrace the challenge and accept that you have been chosen for this role because it is felt you are the best person for the job and enjoy the work and chance to prove yourself.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

comments powered by Disqus