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Am I management material?

An employee asked to take on managerial responsibilities ought to be ready to make the case for a promotion after three months of solid performance as a manager.

Q. I've been employed with the same company for 10 years. My official job title is financial analyst, and I report to the financial operations manager. For the last year and a half, the manager and I have been working at both locations, rotating throughout the week. The company decided it is inefficient to have us rotating plants, so I was informed that I would take over all of my manager's duties at one plant and she will handle everything at the other plant. Since these are two small plants, we handle all HR-related issues, all financial issues, benefits, general office management, etc. I now also manage the administrative assistant at the plant. All of these are increases in responsibility, but I did not receive a promotion or a salary increase.

I've been in the position for a little over a month and have completed the office remodeling project and handled many other crises effectively. I'm doing the same job my manager and all of the previous managers were doing. I've been putting information together to ask for a promotion to at least assistant financial manager. What do you think I should do and how should I handle it?

A. There are two things you should consider before you ask for a promotion. First, if you are functioning as a manager, ask to be promoted to a manager. An assistant manager is someone who helps a manager perform his or her job responsibilities. Someone responsible for one of two plants could be seen to be managing the plant, not assisting someone else in managing it.

If you are truly functioning as a manager, you should ask your supervisor and/or HR department to classify you into the new job.

The second issue to consider is whether you have the necessary skills and experience to function as a manager.

You could be functioning as a manager, but without all the necessary skills to be classified as a manager. If that's the case, use this opportunity to learn and observe as much as possible as a manager. In about three months, remind your manager or HR department that for three months you have been performing as a manager, and would like to know when the company plans to promote you to the new role. Also use the meeting to ask for additional HR training, and other courses that will train you to be a good manager.

I'm suggesting that you wait three months before you talk to your manager because it will let you show your company that you can function as a manager. It will also show that you are willing to take on new responsibilities to support the overall objectives of the company. In addition to portraying you as a team player, waiting three months makes it difficult for your company to tell you the role is temporary.

So give it some time, then speak to your HR department. Remember: ask to be classified as a manager, not an assistant manager.

Good luck.

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional

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