Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

Answering This Question Before You Say Yes To A Promotion

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist 

“I want to say NO to a promotion. Am I crazy,” said the subject line of the email. The question from my reader is rare but should be a lot more common.

Have you faced this dilemma

Everyone knows of you as a high performer. You work hard and you get fabulous results. This is the month where your colleagues know that the announcement will be made. You will be promoted. You know everyone will insist that you celebrate. Should you turn down the promo?

To answer that question, you first have to discover if you have a sweet tooth.

Career Hack: Discover your Dark Chocolate

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Imagine your career path to be like a buffet. You have to discover what makes you go back for seconds. Do you sample everything from appetisers to chocolates and like them all? That sounds like a generalist.

Specialists want to try out everything in one section. In my case, I hover around the dessert counter. That is how I discovered that I love chocolate. Then one day I discovered that it dark chocolate that made my cells light up.

I tried all the aspects of HR before discovering that my passion lay in simplifying complex ideas. So learning and development seemed to give me the most thrill. That was my “dark chocolate”.

When the headhunter spoke to me about another role as a CHRO, I knew it was time to choose dark chocolate! I opted instead for the role of a Chief Learning Officer (CLO). I was clear what I wanted to do.

Will you enjoy learning what the new role will offer?

The role of the CHRO would be very stressful for me. A large part of the CHRO role would be about doing things I did not enjoy. The CLO role would give a chance to learn more and sharpen my skills. The culture of the organisation gave me a chance to try unusual approaches to leadership development. To help senior leaders learn the skills of storytelling, in 2012 I took the senior leaders to experience the magic of storytelling at the Jaipur Lit Fest. Our experiment appeared on the front page of The Economic Times. Serious! <see the headline>

There was so much to learn in my new role. I learned to manage scale. I used film making as a way to teach leaders about managing uncertainty and ambiguity. <Read about it>

When should you say NO to a promo?

  1. Ask if your readiness is less than 60%: When you are 60% ready for the role, it is worth taking it up. The chance of success is higher than the chance of failure. If you are less than 50% ready, it will be too stressful. The learning curve will be TOO STEEP. Don’t say yes right now.
  2. Ask if your readiness is more than 80%: If that is the case, you will quickly get bored. The role is not going to challenge you adequately. It will not trigger your creativity. Your learning curve will be FLAT. You will feel that you are rusting. Don’t get swayed by the title and perks.
  3. You can do the role, but it will be stressful: If you are right handed, and the role requires you to use your left hand, it will be stressful. You will be able to pick up things with your left hand but will not be able to throw anything far enough. Using the same example, if the role is meant for a left handed person, say NO and walk away. That role is not for you. Everything that you can do, you may not WANT to do.

If you cringe every Monday and look forward to Fridays because it means being away from work, then ask if you are in the right role. Work with a coach who can ask you these questions and help you discover if you go crazy about dark chocolates too. (read more)

I wrote a book about it. It is called Don’t Hire the Best 🙂

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If you have a question I can answer, email me at abhijitbhaduri@live.com

Thanks to the person whose question triggered this newsletter. Your question was so powerful.

Republished with permission and originally published at Abhijit Bhaduri’s LinkedIn

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