Unexpected promotion opportunity may just be too soon

Q: This might strike you as an unusual scenario. An unexpected promotional opportunity has certainly taken me by surprise. Just two months ago I started a new role and I’m only finding my feet. However, the company is expanding rapidly, and our department comprises an experienced manager and five of us who have joined the company in the last year. Now the manager has announced he’s leaving. I’m tempted to go for the role even though I am the last person in. Should I? (TR, email).

A: In theory, why not?

But theory is one thing. Do you feel you could do the role? Have you gained enough experience to date to lead the rest of your department in a month’s time? Have you confidence in your ability as a manager, or would that side of it all be new to you as well?

Unwanted pressure

The main point I would say is that you should not feel under any pressure to go for the job. Sometimes in a company, it is good to be seen to go for positions even though you’re unlikely to get them, as it displays ambition and perhaps loyalty to the company.

However, after just two months, I would feel you are not under pressure to go for it.

My hunch is that you should stay away from it now. I think it would be a good idea to approach the next few days in that mindset. If you are going to apply, you have to have very strong reasons to do so.

Is there somebody else there who can take on the role? Or are you the most likely person to make a go of it?

Has somebody senior in the organisation tipped the cap to you, so to speak. Sometimes the word can percolate to a candidate that they should go for something and, in that instance, you would have to give it very serious consideration.

Is it the right time for you?

But managing people is a stressful occupation, and you owe it to yourself to only seek out the position if you are fully comfortable that you can do the job, and that this is the right time for you.

It might well be that the company may find somebody else from outside your department to come in and fill the position. If their rate of expansion is creating a problem of this type, chances are they have considered how to get around logjams like this so that they are not left vulnerable.

As I indicated above, the traditional way is to throw your hat in the ring just to be seen to do that. I wouldn’t feel that pressure if I were you.

You could, of course, gain some positive value from the process by approaching somebody in management with ideas you have for the smooth functioning of the department. With the experienced manager going, they’re going to need to know who they can count on to help them through the next stages.

By talking with management, you show yourself as someone with an interest in ensuring the department runs effectively, even if you are not the person to steer the ship just yet.


Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.


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