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15 habits that will increase your chances of getting promoted

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Success comes in many forms, and there are a million avenues you could take to achieve it. If for you, success in your career means getting promoted and advancing the corporate ladder you have come to the right place. Getting a promotion takes more than just doing your job well. When talking about how to get promoted we could talk about the benefits that learning certain skillsets can have in your career advancement or what are the books you should read to become a better leader. While of all that is important, and I love to talk about all those things, in my opinion, true success comes when you develop good habits within the workplace. Today I want to share with you 15 habits that will increase your chances of getting promoted, and most important to help you grow personally, build a brand for yourself and achieve success.

Set and communicate career goals: Be goal-oriented

At least once a year sit down with your boss to set and discuss your professional career goals. There are a ton of people looking for promotions, but very few of them actually tell their manager that’s what they want. Carve out some time in your next 1:1 or development session, and tell your manager your goals, and where you want to be, and the work you’re willing to put in to get there. Be open about where you see yourself six-months or a year. By being upfront about what you want, you plant a seed in your manager’s head that this is what you’re striving toward. A good boss will help you achieve these goals by giving you opportunities to grow and provide support to keep you on track. Throughout the year keep the conversation top of mind by sharing updates with your manager showing that you are determined to achieve your goals and you are putting the work to get there.

Do what needs to be done, and then some

In other words, do more than your job description says. Rather than supporting – take the lead. Just because your current job description says you need to do XYZ, doesn’t mean that’s what your confined to. The key here is to make your boss’ job easier – not harder. Take things off their plate and get the job done yourself. Most important part though, is that you’re able to execute properly. If your manager sees you taking things off his / her plate and doing a damn good job – it shows you’re competent enough to potentially get that promotion.

Be comfortable going beyond your job description to get the job done (the one that is needed)

It’s important to master what you have in front of you, which are your day-to-day tasks. But maintaining some flexibility and offering to jump in to help with a project here and there won’t go unnoticed. It could also show management that you’re ready for more work or responsibility if you’re able to manage your job description and then some.

At work, we regularly encounter messy problems, i.e. complex, cross-functional issues that fall outside defined job boundaries. Impact Players don’t just do their assigned jobs; they do the job that’s required. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and go out of your own way to get the job that needs to get done, done.

Find the “White Space” at your company

White space is essentially the unoccupied area (or areas) in your company in which no manpower, budget or authority is designated, the rules are vague (or just nonexistent) and there is a ton of potential room for growth. Make it a personal mission to find and curate a solution to any white space you encounter within your organization.

Don’t be afraid to take charge: Show leadership potential

When talking to people this is one that I hear the most excuses. A lot of individual contributors that want to become people managers usually see themselves trapped on the chicken and the egg dilemma. They think they need to have formal leadership experience to get a leadership role but they can't get that experience without be given the opportunity to step into a formal leadership role. I call that BS! Let me ask you something: Do you display passion, trustworthiness, decisiveness and confidence? Possessing these types of leadership skills is essential for getting promoted. After all, the first step in being a leader is acting like one. Don’t get involved in office politics or develop bad habits, like being late or missing deadlines. Leaders need to be great role models for the employees they manage and work with, and without these skills, it will be hard to get a management promotion. Don't wait to be given the opportunity, take initiative and look for non-conventional ways you can display your leadership potential.

Network with the right people and stay connected

Take advantage of every networking opportunity you have, even if it’s a small get together with new co-workers at lunch. Networking with others within your organization and otherwise will allow you to get to know the people who can provide support now and in the future. It’s also a chance to promote yourself and your skills as well. You can reap similar benefits by getting involved with groups in your organization, like those who help plan events or keep the office stocked.

Be an engaged employee: Get involved

Being engaged goes beyond paying attention or taking notes in meetings — both of which are also important. It means being an active member of your organization, attending every optional “Lunch and Learn” or coming up with new ideas for sharing successes in the workplace. This shows your commitment to the company and the success of your co-workers.

Keep learning & take initiative

Show your boss that you’re committed to continuously improving and developing your skills by finding learning opportunities, both within the office and outside of it. This doesn’t mean you need to get your Masters or PhD, unless that’s relevant to your job. Instead, enroll in one webinar each month, use your own money to attend conferences, or ask to be put on projects outside of your department. This shows that you’re serious about your career, and aren’t waiting for someone else to get you where you want to go.

Be Solution-Oriented

This point sounds obvious, but be especially self-aware during the workday when you speak. Not only do you need to be solution-oriented in the moments that count (like meetings or project proposals), but also in casual banter (like when your coworker is venting about her dog sitter). Unless your boss is totally unaware of every conversation you’ve ever had, you can bet they’ll pick up on your tone, and being solution-oriented in every situation will work to your advantage. Stay positive always.

Make yourself indispensable

I have learned that everyone is replaceable, no matter how much we want to believe the opposite. The key is not to try to make yourself unreplaceable, because in trying you will just get frustrated or lie to yourself. Instead, focus on being indispensable. How can you make yourself an indispensable member of your team? One way is to become the go-to person for something specific, like designing dynamic sales decks to dealing with challenging customers. People in positions like this are not only sought after by coworkers, but also seen by leadership because they naturally stand out as someone people are always looking for and who are adding value to the organization.

Encourage and celebrate your team members’ successes

Of course, highlighting your own accomplishments to your boss is important. But even more appealing than a high performer is a high performer who lifts up the team, too. Every time a colleague experiences a win, big or small, celebrate with them. Empowering your coworkers will strengthen your organization as well as get you noticed as a true team player.

Be resilient and finish strong

Every organization faces unforeseen obstacles, i.e. unexpected setbacks and unknown unknowns. You can’t predict such challenges, but you can handle them responsibly. Impact Players don’t escalate issues or simply pass them on to others; they finish strongly to deliver results reliably with an upside surprise.

Be hungry for feedback

Feedback is a gift, start seeing it as such. Be proactive and ask others around for feedback, not only to those you know will give you positive feedback (I know that feels good) but also and maybe most importantly those that you know will have some critical feedback to share. Be open to listen to the feedback and afterwards reflect on it and decide what you will do with it. You don't have to act on every piece of feedback you received, but is important that you look for patters and you take the time to reflect and be open to make changes to improve and continue to grow.

Listen, stay open minded and adjust

A dynamic environment often means fast-changing conditions and moving targets that make existing practices obsolete. By the time you figure things out, the situation could’ve changed again. In fact of uncertainty, Impact Players don’t stick to what they know; they ask for guidance and adjust their approach

Document your success and advocate for yourself

When asking for a promotion, leadership is going to want to know what kind of value you bring to the business. Rather trying to think back at all you’ve accomplished, build a “working” portfolio throughout the year. After you’ve completed an important project or performed a record sales month, document it. When noting your successes, focus on the most important details:

Keep a record of everything you do that enhances the company’s bottom line, that puts the company or your department in a good light, that is creative and innovative, and that shows your loyalty and commitment to the organization. This tracking shows that you’ve been successful and improved the company, and are invested in the work you’re doing. If you are looking for a way to build this into your habits, check out my Own Your Career Notion Journal. This Notion Template is effective tool that will help you actively embrace (and track) your progress to help you take charge of your career.

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