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4 Mistakes That Are Keeping You From A Promotion….. And How To Fix Them

David Law

Tue, 18 Dec, 2018

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes

When you pour your heart and soul into a project, you clearly want to see it succeed. But it’s never just about the objective results— of course, you want to feel good about it. And that often means getting that well-earned recognition in the shape of (you guessed it) a promotion.


So why is it that you’re going above and beyond in your work, but still aren’t rising through the ranks? 


Since getting promoted is not guidebook material, it can be a grey area for most, and people often end up making mistakes that hinder their chances. Here are some of the most common errors you can easily avoid.


1. Playing the comparison game

When you are frustrated, it’s really easy to look at your colleague’s grass and think it looks greener. If someone else just got promoted over you, you need to remember: you don’t know the whole story. Maybe your colleague has been working for longer, or has previous experience that is necessary at their new position.


Everyone’s journey is unique— and yours is as valid as anyone. Keep in mind, though: it’s a big mistake to bring up someone else’s promotion as a reason you should receive one too.


Never criticise a colleague: it makes you look less professional and doesn’t help your case. Try to focus on delivering your own best work and make sure the right people see it.


2. Having the wrong image of the business

Where is the company right now? Maybe business is soaring but you feel stuck in your old position, or conversely, you feel that you could help lift sinking results in a different one. 


It is not true that you can only get promoted if the company is growing. That said, you are not an island— you need to show you are in touch with the global needs and goals of the business and not just looking after your own interests.


How? Make sure you have the right image of the company in your mind: what is crucial right now? Where is the ship heading? Once you know that, figure out how your professional strengths and abilities will be more strategically used if you are promoted. Be clear on how you will help the company navigate its situation and reinforce its values. Remember— you are more likely to get a promotion you can show how, specifically, it will suit the current needs.


3. Focusing on the negatives

If you face your manager, ask for a promotion, and get a negative answer, chances are you will be frustrated and angry. The key is to not let that overwhelm you or worsen your performance.


Think of it this way: now, your manager knows you want a new position, which means they will watch you more closely. It is also likely that, when they rejected your case, they gave you feedback— the reason for that decision.


Don’t let frustration cloud your judgement: analyze those observations and try to apply them to your everyday work. The next time you ask for a promotion, your manager is bound to see your hard work and development.


4. Not asking!

Let’s look at the basics: you do your best on a daily basis, but never get promoted like other colleagues are. Why?


The truth is not everyone needs or wants a promotion. If you don’t talk about it, your manager might think you are not interested in such a career move.  


First of all, you need to be clear on what you want and why you want it. What are your goals in the middle and long term? How does a promotion in your company further those goals? Is your current work and know-how “promotion material”?


Once you have gone over these questions and checked your approach for the previous mistakes, you are ready to let your manager know you want to work towards a new position. They will help you set goals and journey on to a well-deserved and fulfilling promotion.

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