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The Top 10 Workplace Behaviors to Help you get Promoted

by: Shiv Sharma
The Top 10 Workplace Behaviors to Help you get Promoted

Be a good communicator, network with the right people and show leadership potential. The mantra to get promoted is an open secret. It’s not very helpful though. We all know what traits to aspire for, but what specific behaviors at work can we start adopting right away that’ll increase the chances of getting promoted. That’s exactly what this post is about. No lofty ideals, just simple workplace behaviors

0. Figure out what kind of career you want

Before getting a promotion, you need to figure out what kind of job you want to be promoted within. Do you see yourself in a leadership role (like a team lead, manager, or CEO) or developing into more of a specialist? A lot of professionals don’t want to become leaders in their organizations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. You can have an enriching and satisfying career by developing deeper expertise in your technical skills. The following tips are more relevant though if you are aiming for a leadership role.

1. Tell your manager

If you want to get promoted, book a meeting with your manager and tell them about it. As easy as this step sounds, most people never do it. Firstly, this shows initiative. Secondly, it helps your manager understand what sort of career you aspire for. It makes their jobs easier as well. 

This will guarantee at least one thing – an action plan. Your manager will let you know how close you are to your promotion and what steps you need to take to achieve it.
Remember that you are on the same team as your manager, and that approaching the negotiation like a heated argument might put them on the defensive — ultimately it could make the negotiation more of an uphill battle.


2. Don’t pretend to be busy if you’re not

If you feel you don’t have much meaningful work to do, don’t force yourself to be busy by procrastinating or wasting time with mundane tasks. Don’t feel guilty when it’s raining “ I am swamped” and “crazy busy” all around you. 

Instead, look for gaps to fill in your organization. These gaps refer to opportunities to create impact, that no one else is paying much attention to. Such opportunities are always around. Look for those that you can solve even if they might not be related to your job profile and pitch them to your manager. 

3. Don’t hog all the credit

While it’s important to own your achievements similar to your mistakes, always beware of turning into a credit hogger. It is a fairly common, but immature form of office politics, and management can usually see right through it. Even if you get away with it a couple of times, it doesn’t help you in the long run. And once your manager realizes that you have the tendency to hog credit, it will be next to impossible to shed that tag. 

4. Document your achievements

Keep a log of your achievements at work. Whenever you feel you’ve made a difference and have some stats/evidence to support it, note it down. Often when it comes to discussions around salaries and promotions, people tend to only focus on recent events. Once you’ve built a solid case for promotion, don’t be shy about discussing it with your manager. When you are meeting with your manager, it’s good to be prepared. If there are solid KPIs you can track for your role, or consistent project turn-around time, you can use that as negotiation ammo. It’s pretty hard to argue against when you can clearly demonstrate the value that you’re bringing to your team and company. 

5. Practice listening 

Needless to say, solid social skills boost your chances of being promoted; and one thing you can start doing right away to really grow them is to listen better. Instinctively all of us listen to retort. When we hear someone talk to us, our mind starts working on our response even before the other person has stopped talking. With practice, we can minimize doing that. Next time, you listen to someone, simply focus on hearing them in the present moment. Consciously try to forget about what you will say while listening. In time, this will increase the amount of attention you pay to others. Naturally, this will also lead to better, more measured responses from you. 

6. Work towards getting your manager promoted

Work towards getting your manager promoted. How? By picturing yourself in their shoes and gradually acquiring the skills required for their job. As you free up your manager’s time, they’ll be able to focus upwards on more strategic issues. If your manager succeeds in getting promoted and you’ve trained yourself to do their job, your promotion would be inevitable. 

7. Calm people around you

One of the most striking traits of leadership potential is the ability to absorb pressure and be a calming influence. This too, like most leadership traits can be acquired by anyone through practice. The most effective way to practice it is behavior no.5 that we discussed earlier. When people feel comfortable around you to open up, it goes a long way in transforming you into a leader. 

8. Improve reporting skills

A vital yet underrated skill at work that can really assist with furthering your career is reporting. Too often we make reports for management with tight deadlines and tend to focus solely on information. It always helps to invest some time into sprucing up your reporting skills. Concise reports, that are structured well and look easy on the eyes represent an organized and mature mind. Bug Success has some great tips on this subject. 

When your project work has day-to-day or weekly visibility, the accomplishments that you present aren’t surprising.

Your manager should be well informed of how well you are doing along the way, and reporting helps you back that up.

9. Ask this one question to yourself, every day

We, humans, are emotional beings. Often at work, self-assessment of our performance is driven by emotions. We ask for a raise when we feel it’s the right time. It can be especially challenging to detach one from oneself and view things objectively. One question that truly helps put things in perspective is this – If I disappear from work today, will it make any significant difference? Ask this question to yourself every single day. It helps not just in an objective self-assessment but also prevents us from riding high on past accomplishments.

10. Persist

Despite all the behaviors that we discussed, it’s still quite possible that you might not get the desired result. In such situations, most people stop pushing and eventually start looking for a new job. However that doesn’t solve the root problem and even if you find a higher position at some other place, you’ll run into a similar wall again. If despite your best efforts, you didn’t get promoted, ask your manager about it. Objectively measure their response and ask for a revised plan of action. Only if you’re still unconvinced by the feedback, look for a new opportunity.

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