'Mindful Monday': 7 Tips to Managing Up for Your Career Promotion

Jan 09, 2017


Nancy Fredericks

Nancy Fredericks pens IWLC's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at

There is a promotion discrepancy occurring in corporations according to Lean-In and McKinsey & Company research—with men being 30 percent more likely to receive promotions from entry level to manager positions than women.

Wow! That is a big gap, and this inconsistency continues throughout a woman’s career as statistics reveal women are underrepresented at every level of the organization.

Many women believe their work speaks for itself and it alone will earn them a promotion. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works—if it did, after all of these years of striving, women executives would account for greater numbers at the top of the heap; and they don’t.

Men operate under an entirely different premise. They understand how critical developing relationships upward are to achieving a career with no limits. Big time!

The Center for Talent Innovation discloses that 83 percent of men readily acknowledge that ‘who you know counts’ for a lot! The LeanIn/McKinsey report confirms that men are more likely to be mentored by senior executives, whereas women are more likely to have junior-level mentors and 57 percent of these men perceive their own recent advancement to be a function of personal connections.

Are you beginning to appreciate how important high-level relationships are to your ongoing success? Truly, the secret to reaching upper management and to becoming a power producer is to become a powerful connector.

It’s hard to imagine anyone rising through the ranks without the ability to build strategic relationships as part of their proficiencies. It’s just too tough to navigate the corporate ladder today without partners throughout the organization.

Now, stand back and study your company with new eyes—eyes that are open to interactions leading to relationships that open doors because the senior level executives at your organization know who you are and what you’re capable of doing.

So, begin applying these attitudes to your professional journey: 

1. Know Your Boss’s Style and Your Own, then use the knowledge to determine the most effective approach and adjust your style—while remaining faithful to your values—to be heard. Also, understand communication preference (Face-to-face, written material, email, Skype, Phone Call, etc.)

2. Communicates Powerfully (Senior Management, Bosses/Peers/Subordinates):

  • Receiver-Centric (An eye on the receiver’s preferred style)
  • Show appreciation
  • Update project and issue status
  • Ask for help or advice

3. Look for what’s there, not what’s missing. It is easy to identify what is wrong with someone; it requires leadership mentality to discover the greatness in others.

4. “Waterdrop” your point of view clearly and concisely, without putting it in the right/wrong context. Identifying solutions for problems is a leadership attitude.

5. Be Helpful (It’s Your Job to Support!), remember no matter how collegial a work environment, most companies are hierarchal so take your lead from your leaders. 

6. Be a Solution Maker. Not a Problem Maker; this is a leadership mindset no matter where you work within the organization because an important aspect of your job is to identify improvement ideas and share that knowledge with those who have the resources to make it happen.

7. Be Loyal to the leaders of your organization. They deserve your support. And remember, being considered a Team Player is a critical element of the promotion assessment!

You get to choose.