The harsh reality about promotions is a different story. Many times, people are promoted into roles that aren’t a good fit for them, or demand of them behaviors, actions and communications that turn out to be unsustainable or intolerable. Before you accept a promotion, or any internal or external role that’s at a higher level, these are critical things to weigh and consider. This article will give you some insights into what those are.

#1: Understand the true nature and culture of the organization

Do your due diligence and make a thorough assessment of the culture of the organization, to ensure that you personally can thrive there and in this new role. At higher levels, you’re exposed to things you’ve never seen before – the underbelly of the leadership and management team. Make sure that there’s no pattern of age, gender, racial or other forms of discrimination, or any other impediments to your potential success or the success of the organization.

#2: Get very clear on the character and style of the people you’ll be working most closely with

You’re not working in a vacuum – you’re working with and for a group of people who can make or break your successand can limit or expand your potential for growth (and well-being) in this role. Don’t have blinders on. Do your research and ask around to get strong intel on who the people are at their core that you’ll be dealing and collaborating most directly with.

#3:  Obtain in writing exactly what you’ll be expected to achieve, create and produce

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Don’t be in the dark about what is required of you to be considered a success in this role. There may be elements of your performance that involve your having to say things you don’t want to say, or behave in ways that you may find unacceptable, or damaging to your reputation, or are simply bad business.

#4: Weigh all the variables, especially those that will shape who you are in and outside of work

Promotions sound great, but they can be a damaging step in your career and life if you haven’t been honest with yourself in weighing all the costs and variables. It may demand of you things you’re unwilling to do for those perks. The wrong promotion may force you to turn your back on the values and beliefs you hold dear, and/or on the family time you’ve committed in your heart to, in order to be the parent or caregiver you want to be. If your work clashes with your core values, you’ll suffer.

#5: Recognize it’s a “system” – are you a fit? 

Realize that any organization you work in operates like a “system” and systems are homeostatic in nature  –meaning, they work hard to maintain the status quo. If you think you jump into this role and quickly revise how things work there, you should think again. Understand that the work you do isn’t just about functional tasks – it’s also going to touch on your ethics, integrity, communication, leadership, management, risk-taking, and more. If you aren’t in alignment with the system you’ve engaged in and the approach, style, or outcomes that your boss or organizational leaders are pushing for, then you simply can’t succeed in the long term, and it can backfire terribly.

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#6: Make sure the person you’re working for is mentally and emotionally healthy and stable

Finally, there are many people in power and in high positions today who are not mentally and emotionally stable or equipped to lead effectively. And there are thousands of terrible managers who are abusive and manipulative in their behavior and language. If you’re working for someone who has a personality disorder and/or is emotionally unstable, you’ll have a very hard time being successful in your role. And executing your role, if you work for a true narcissist, can do great harm to your career, personal life, and your health and well-being.


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