Don't get overlooked for promotion

21 January 2019



Feel you’ve been passed over for promotion? You may need to jump the ‘ladder gap’ and recalibrate, says leadership coach Tara Fennessy.

If you’ve successfully risen through the ranks in an organisation, there can come a time when the promotions start to dry up and you see less experienced, even less talented, peers and external hires being promoted above you. In this situation, it may be tempting to look elsewhere to chase that more challenging, and lucrative, ‘top echelon’ financial role.

However, with news that the London jobs market is cooling, jumping ship may no longer be a viable option. Chasing that internal promotion can prove a lot more beneficial, in terms of stability, employee benefits and a CV that demonstrates your employer’s confidence in you. So, how can you make it happen?

Having coached hundreds of finance professionals over the years, I believe that progressing through the ranks is attainable for just about everyone, providing they put some time and effort into closing what I call the career ‘ladder gap’. This ‘gap’ appears at the crucial career juncture where only certain leaders are selected to join the top tiers of their firm.

This is when I tell my clients that all that hard work and impact limited to their silo are the problem.


Reaching the very top requires something very different. Leaders are promoted to the top echelons of an organisation only when their messages inspire, their impact across the business is outstanding and they make their job look easy.

These individuals act, think and look like the brand ambassadors partners or directors want for their senior leadership teams. Those who don’t are overlooked for promotion every time.

If this sounds familiar, take heart. You’re not as far away from career-defining success as you might think. A theme I see throughout my work is that the smallest changes can have an enormous impact on performance.

What matters most is taking the time out to consider and put into practice opportunities for ‘recalibration’.

This involves three key steps:

1) knowing your message;

2) making an outstanding impact on ALL your stakeholders; and

3) improving your wellbeing so you appear (and feel) relaxed, focused and resilient – in other words, you make your job look easy!