You’ve had your eye on that promotion for some time now. You’re bound and determined to get out of your office worker status into a supervisory position you’re certain you’re well suited for-- but apparently no one else is convinced. You watch others from your work group move on, out and up, and you’re getting seriously depressed. “What’s wrong with me?” you wonder. All your supervisor says is “There’s a lot of competition for those jobs,” as if you didn’t know that already. You know the work you do in your current position is good, your reviews are proof of that, but how do you qualify yourself for work you’re not doing yet? You can’t very well start supervising your peers--they would resent it!

True enough, they would, so that’s not where to begin, although you have the right idea. If you want something, you have to in a sense become it, so others can recognize you as a viable candidate. No, you can’t supervise your peers, but you can, in many other ways, demonstrate supervisor capabilities.

Observe the supervisors at your work: how do they dress? Talk? Interact with others? Is there an attitude or manner you’d feel comfortable adopting? You are not trying to imitate or clone the supervisors, you are figuring out which of your attributes and traits come closest to what your company values in supervisors so that you can emphasize those traits. This isn’t any different from what you learned to do in school: if you wanted to be a good student, you emphasized your traits of self-discipline, concentration and focus, leaving your day-dreaming and kick-back traits for your out-of-school time.

Once you learn what supervisor traits are valuable and make sense to what is comfortable for you, practice those whenever appropriate. Perhaps it means speaking up more often in team meetings, taking the initiative in finding ways to get a project done more efficiently than usual or offering to help others.

Pay attention to the nature of a supervisors' work, and ready yourself accordingly. Be proactive: take the classes or training that would give you supervisor skills, acquire the knowledge you need as a supervisor.

When the time comes to apply for the position, be ready, not just in attitude and skills, but also in how you present your effort. Put together a well-written, professional resume, if you will, of how you have prepared for the position, why you are interested in the position and how giving you that supervisory position would benefit the company. Writing all this out will clarify your own thinking, so that when the hiring executive asks you pointed questions, you’ll be confident and secure in your answers.

In the event that you do not get the position, have the courage to ask the hiring person what you can do to assure your promotion the next time a similar position comes up. Since you have already demonstrated your willingness to work on yourself to better your skills, as well as enthusiasm for the job, the hiring individual will most probably respect your efforts by answering you honestly and giving you the information you need to succeed.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D. is a respected psychologist, consultant, speaker and author. Her most recent book is "The Power of Appreciation in Everyday Life (Insomniac Press, 2006). For more than a decade, she has helped people live happier, healthier lives--at work, at home and in relationships. Dr. Nelson welcomes your comments via email ( You can visit Dr. Nelson anytime at .