Why You're Not Getting Promoted + How to Fix It

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an entry-level employee or a seasoned, senior staff member — we all want to make a strong impression in the workplace. After all, we’ll never receive that promotion if our contributions aren’t getting noticed!

Here are six simple methods you can use to highlight your achievements while maintaining pursuit of that next big promotion.

Your Attitude

A lot of employees are under the false impression that their workplace attitude or demeanor is irrelevant as long as their day-to-day responsibilities are accomplished. While some managers may be able to overlook mood swings and short periods of melancholy, they’re less likely to see past those who maintain overly negative or pessimistic attitudes.

In fact, a recent study by CareerBuilder shows that 62% of employers are more likely to pass on an employee with a negative attitude when promoting from within.

In order to make sure you’re receiving the consideration you deserve, try to maintain a positive attitude while at your place of business. Be sure to separate your personal life from your career, let go of any grudges and remember to mind your manners.

Furthermore, try to make the best out of every situation you find yourself in, regardless of how challenging it may be. This simple act can go a long way toward proving your integrity and resiliency in the workplace.

Workplace Insecurity

Believe it or not, insecurities regarding your job, your overall career and even your personal life can all have negative effects on your long-term career growth and development. According to some sources, workplace insecurity can be a sign of neuroticism.

Behaviors to avoid include constantly seeking praise, checking in when it’s not necessary and bothering supervisors with useless or moot questions.

Instead, remain confident and take pride in your work. Try not to worry about showing off or seeking praise in any way, as your hard work and commitment is sure to be noticed by your managers and supervisors.

Don’t make any excuses for shortcomings or missed deadlines and, if possible, try to make up for any inadequacies. Apart from showing self-confidence, actions like these also help to underscore your dedication to the company.

Lacking Professionalism

Finishing your daily responsibilities in a complete and timely manner is one thing, but maintaining a professional disposition every single day is a separate battle entirely. Those who work in customer-facing roles must maintain a smile on their face at all times, while all of us must make an effort to achieve cohesion among co-workers and peers.

The inability to cooperate with your teammates, or the unwillingness to embrace your professional side, could cost you a promotion.

Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take in order to bolster your professional image and increase your on-the-job professionalism. Adopting the company’s inner culture is a good start, but don’t forget to take your work seriously. Those who are constantly joking, slacking off or playing around will find their professionalism in question time and time again.

Unwillingness to take on assignments

While it’s crucial to accomplish your established responsibilities and assignments on a daily basis, some employees stop there. After all, we’re not really required to take on the responsibilities of our co-workers. However, an unwillingness or inability to accept new assignments when called upon can cause you to miss out on some great opportunities.

According to a separate survey by CareerBuilder, 71% of managerial respondents have passed up qualified employees in the past simply because the employee wasn’t willing to assume additional responsibility when called upon. With that in mind, you may want to think twice before turning down additional work.

This one is easy to circumvent or counteract. Instead of constantly denying additional work, step up and take advantage of the new opportunities. Not only will your paycheck improve as a result of the increased hours, but you’re more likely to be considered for future promotions than those who refuse.

Who knows? You may even develop some new skills and experiences that prepare you for an upcoming promotion!

Too Agreeable

Believe it or not, agreeing too much with your co-workers and supervisors can actually do more harm than good. While it’s true that some companies might be looking for yes men, the majority of organizations are looking for genuine, unbiased feedback from their staff members. In fact, studies by the Harvard Business Review state that most people believe agreeable workers make for poor leaders.

This is definitely one of the more challenging habits to overcome. While you want to avoid arguing too much — especially when it comes to your managers or supervisors — it’s important to provide your honest input when called upon.

However, avoid interjecting your opinion when it isn’t asked for and, when possible, try to provide alternative solutions to any points or strategies that you don’t readily agree with. Not only does this show you as an honest employee, but it also highlights your creativity and willingness to work as part of a team.

Timing

As with most things in life, timing is everything. As noted by Donald Asher, a prolific author, it’s important to know when opportunities are available and when they’re not. Those who aren’t actively seeking a promotion or pay raise every 12 to 18 months, according to Asher, need to step up their game.

In order to do so, make sure you maintain open lines of communication with your co-workers and managers. This can be done both inside and outside of the workplace — just remember to keep your personal life separate from your career. Becoming friends with your co-workers is fine, but it’s important to know and respect professional limitations when interacting with your peers outside of the workplace.

 

Do you have any personal advice, techniques or experiences regarding promotions in the workplace? Please share in the comments!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

2 Comments on Why You’re Not Getting Promoted + How to Fix It

  1. Larry Robbin
    July 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm (10 months ago)

    This is a good list, but it puts everything on the employee and leaves out a very important factor about why some people do not get promoted – discrimination. Just look at the stats in the tech industry about women, people of color, seniors and people with disabilities to see that in spite of what employees do there are glass ceilings in place. While I agree with the list, I think it is out of balance with reality.

    Reply
    • Sarah Landrum
      July 18, 2016 at 7:04 pm (10 months ago)

      Thanks for sharing, Larry! There are many reasons for not getting promoted that are beyond our control, discrimination being the largest, that I chose to leave out (I only have so many words!). Maybe that would make a good post in itself!

      Reply

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