What to think about before promotion

You’re thinking about the next step in your career, but how do you know if you’re ready? And how can you prove your worth to interviewers? The questions in this guide will prompt you to reflect on the learning and support you might need as you seek promotion. It can also help prospective mentors guide you.


Many of these questions reflect likely interview questions, so they will help you decide whether you are ready for promotion, are able to prove it and have considered the implications of the role.


Why do you want this new role?
·         Why are you looking for a new role?

·         How do you define success?

·         Do you understand the political, governance and financial context of the service?

·         Do you truly understand the responsibilities that come with this new role?

·         Have you talked to the current postholder(s) about the role’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities?


Managing people for the first time
·         Have you considered how it will feel when you can’t be ‘one of the team’ in the same way?

·         How are you going to look after yourself and your personal resilience? Where will you get support?

·         What is your approach to work/home integration and its wider impact on family and friends?

·         What does your support network look like?

·         Does your support network appreciate the level of support you may need on occasion?

·         We all know things can be overwhelming at times. How will you create a trusted network so you can access support when you need it? Seeking trusted advice at an early stage could help avoid some issues or at the very least provide much-needed support.

·         Do you have any additional responsibilities at home, such as caring responsibilities, that you may need to balance with a new role?

·         Have you thought about the ways in which leaders are often more open to scrutiny? What coping mechanisms do you usually rely on?

·         How are you identifying any blind spots? Who is giving you the relevant feedback, and are you corroborating it with others?

·         As a leader, how will you earn the trust of your team?

·         More senior staff often have to live with more ambiguity and uncertainty. How do you handle unknowns? What can you do to update your approach?


Leadership skills: While many questions are worth considering for new roles at any level, some are particularly helpful for more senior positions.
·         What are your strengths as a leader, and what leadership behaviours are most needed in your organisation now?

·         Are you able to adapt your leadership style based on the context?

·         How will you share leadership across your team?

·         How will you develop trust and ensure open debate?

·         What do you think you will be good at in a leadership role?

·         How will you ensure your team has the right mix of expertise and skills?

·         How are problems in the team raised to you and other leaders? How big is the problem before it surfaces, and what does that say about trust and culture in your station or team?

·         What’s the biggest ‘people problem’ you’re trying to solve right now? How do you know/identify when you have a people problem?

·         In your team, how is performance measured, both individually and as a team?

·         How do you introduce and maintain change? How do you plan to help people cope and ultimately embrace change?

·         What role do you want to play in communication? How will you handle situations when you have to deliver organisational messages that you may not fully believe in yourself?

·         How will you celebrate individual and team success?


Moving into a supervisory management role
·         When you move to a supervisory role, you tend to move away from your team and this can create the potential for isolation. How might you avoid feeling isolated from your team, and how will you learn to deal with being occasionally unpopular when you make decisions?

·         How will you learn to be more comfortable when trying new things and possibly failing?

·         How will you learn to chair meetings?

·         How will you deal with performance issues in the team?

·         How will you delegate work?

·         How will you develop your team?

·         How will you manage your time as a manager?

·         What type of manager/leader do you aim to be?

·         How will you develop/learn as a manager?

·         If you find yourself micromanaging, is it a sign that you’re uncertain of the team or you’re uncertain of yourself?


Moving from supervisory to middle management
·         When moving to middle management, you’ll need to learn to meet the needs of many people. How will you manage multiple stakeholders, from corporate stakeholders to the team(s) you support?

·         When you chair a meeting, do you have to know the answer to every issue? Should you even try?

·         Do you have to fight the urge to do the work for the team because you know they are busy?

·         If you find yourself micromanaging, is it a sign that you’re uncertain of the team or you’re uncertain of yourself?

·         How will you approach being a member of several different teams? For example, your own team, a leadership team and a project team.

·         How will you manage different members of staff in different locations/teams/areas or even remotely?

·         How will you change your focus from operational/tactical concerns to more strategic thinking?


Moving from middle management to senior/strategic leadership
·         One of the most important skills at this stage is your ability to lead and sponsor projects. How will you approach this?

·         How will you manage different loyalties – to your team, peers, corporate management team or the community? How will you reconcile potential conflicts?


·         How will you add value to the people you serve in the community?

·         How do you assure yourself that things are on track, you are providing a professional service and your people are safe and competent?

·         How do you ensure your team learns from others (inside and outside the sector) and your operational response is moving towards excellence?

·         How do you ensure your team puts the public at the centre of everything they do?

·         How do you intend to evaluate your plans and progress?


Influencing and decision-making
·         How would you rate your political awareness?

·         Who are your main stakeholders?

·         How do you share your vision and intentions with your team and people?

·         How do you balance the views of others across the service?

·         How do you help your people to influence you?

·         What relationship do you have or want with your manager and more senior managers?

·         How will you approach decision-making?

·         What are your internal governance arrangements, and how does that translate into your role and responsibilities?

·         How does your team approach decision-making and deal with conflict? Are all decisions passed up to you?


Learning and development
·         What is your approach to managing and encouraging talent in your team?

·         How do you train new managers?

·         How will you be maintaining your own learning and development?

·         What elements of knowledge about the role do you feel you are missing – governance, programme management, media training, legal aspects, workforce and so on – and how will you address that knowledge gap?

·         How are you incorporating succession planning?


Behaviour and values
·         What is your ethical code?

·         What did you say and do the last time someone brought you bad news?

·         What culture do you want to create about bad news and reporting issues?

·         How important is inclusion to you and why?

·         How well do you and your team embrace difference in all its forms and what will you do to develop and embed inclusion?


Networks and relationships
·         How will you manage personal relationships and friendships at work? What are your boundaries?

·         What relationship do you have with the unions? How will you balance that with your professional/management role?

·         How are you going to manage relationships with partners and other agencies?

·         How do you forge relationships with your peers?

·         Are you aware of the wider organisation/teams/departments?