You’ve Just Been Promoted. Now What?

Promotions are an incredibly validating and exciting time in a career.

But Up the career ladderpromotions also bring uncertainty, vulnerability and exposure. Once the congratulations and high-fives taper off, a new reality sets in. The stakes are higher, and the transition can be rocky.

What Everyone Should Do After A Promotion

Kristin Zelkowitz, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer at Trustmark Companies, offers three pieces of advice after a promotion:

Don’t be too critical of how things have been done in the past, and never disparage your predecessor. You’ll be expected to improve on the past, so engage your team by demonstrating an interest in learning about why things are done the way they are, and work together to drive improvements.

Invest time in building relationships. We’re often anxious to demonstrate we deserved the promotion by getting things done, but don’t let your focus on results or deliverables prevent you from investing the time required to build and nurture new relationships. The longer you wait, the harder it will be.  

Learn how to lead through others, rather than doing it all yourself. If this is your first time leading people, you’re going through a transition that many find quite challenging. Delegating and managing the performance of others is crucial to your success and your reputation as a leader. Books like What Got You Here Won’t Get You There or The First 90 Days: Strategies for Getting up to Speed Faster and Smarter are a good place to start. Seek advice from a trusted coach, mentor, boss or peer.

To ensure a smoother post-promotion transition, Karen Pinks, Director of People and Change at the Claro Group, suggests these additional actions:

Observe or ask what other people have done to be successful in your role. Conversely, what can you learn from your boss/team about those who haven’t been successful?

Check in. Clarify what is expected of you in the new role. Understand the unwritten expectations because they definitely exist. Schedule a checkpoint with your new boss/team after the first 30, 60 and 90 days. Be available and open to suggestions.

Be sensitive to promotion dynamics. It’s OK to feel excited about your promotion, but be conscious that your peers may not have been promoted.

Acknowledge those who have helped you get to where you are. Rising up the career ladder is not a solo mission. Thank the people who helped you. A phone call, personal email or handwritten note go a long way to show your appreciation.

Your first few months are critical so be sure you are crystal clear on your priorities. Spend time on building trust and relationships. Don’t expect too much, too soon.

Congratulations and good luck!

Marta Steele is a partner @People_Results. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele.