Updated: May 27
While 2020 was a hard time for jobs but with vaccines on the horizon, in this piece some useful advice for starting strongly in 2021 and getting that promotion you've been chasing.
Habits of Successful Employees Who Get Promoted
In our last piece on success tips for promotion, we focused on providing specific steps you can take to ensure that this is your year to get promoted. In this post, we are going to expand upon different habits and behaviors you should exhibit if you want to put yourself in the best position to receive a promotion in 2021.
Having great habits in the office is a great way to ensure that you perform at a high level and put yourself and others around you in a position to succeed. These are important habits to adopt if you want to set yourself up for promotion this coming year:
1. Set and Communicate Career Goals
Be goal-oriented. As the new year approaches, ask your supervisor / manager to sit down with you to discuss your professional career goals. Be open about where you see yourself over the next several months; a good boss will help you achieve these goals by giving you opportunities to grow and provide support to keep you on track.
As Katie Douthwaite Wolf, contributor at The Muse, points out, “In many cases, [your boss] truly does want to see you achieve your goals. As a manager myself, I constantly ask my employees ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’—because if there’s a way I can help them along, I’ll do it. Whether that means putting in a good word for them in a different department at my current company or assigning them specials projects that will help them build new skill sets for a different role, I want to help.”
2. Always Be a Team Player
Be collaborative. Employers don’t like when employees are focused on “I” rather than “we.” They want team players who are committed to helping the greater good of the team, which ultimately benefits the company.
According to the guide, How to be Promotable, “a good employee volunteers his or her efforts before even being asked. They volunteer for more tasks and responsibility, and not just because of immediate reward. This type of employee simply goes above and beyond and will be the first thought of when promotions are being decided.”
3. Make Yourself Indispensable
Be irreplaceable. You want to make sure that you can make yourself an indispensable member of your team. A great way to do so is to become the go-to person for something specific, like quickly (and accurately) performing analysis in Excel, or putting together compelling visuals in PowerPoint. People with these types of personal brands are not only sought after by co-workers, but also admired by leadership because they naturally stand out.
4. Keep Learning
Take initiative. Show your boss that you’re committed to continuously improving and developing your skills by finding learning opportunities, both in and out of the office. This doesn’t mean you need to get your Masters or PhD (unless, of course, that is relevant to your job). Instead, perhaps enroll in webinars or online courses provided by your company, be the first person to volunteer to attend an event that is available to your team, or offer to help with projects that will help you develop new skills. This will demonstrate that you are serious about your career and that you are not waiting for someone else to get you where you want to go.
5. Document Your Success
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 than have to think back and come up with all you’ve accomplished, build a “working” portfolio ahead of time. After you have completed an important project or performed a record sales month, document it. You may not have to directly present this information to leadership, but someone who is vouching for you may ask you to provide them with some talking points. Thus, it is always helpful to have an idea of the specific things you’ve accomplished and be able to speak to your contributions.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Charge
Show leadership potential (Insert internal backlink to Innovative Leadership Strategies for Businesses). 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. Stay away from office politics and be sure to avoid poor qualities such as tardiness or missing deadlines.
Forming strong habits that ensure you’re always placing your best foot forward go a long way in helping you achieve your professional goals and putting yourself in a great position to get promoted. As you prepare to get after your promotion in 2021, here is a good checklist of steps to keep in mind. If you can cross them all off, you’re well on your way to earning that promotion.
1. You need to be good at your job
This sounds obvious. But, if you are not a high performer, it is very unlikely that you’ll get promoted.
So first thing’s first, put your focus here. But as we’ve discussed, being good at your job isn’t enough – being good at your job just proves that you can handle what’s currently on your plate. To be promoted, you need to prove that you can handle a role with more responsibility.
2. You prove you can develop yourself
This is the difference between a high-performing employee who will stay in their role forever and a high-potential employee who will quickly move up the ladder.
While a high-performing employee will do his or her job well, the performance reviews will look the same year-after-year – the same portfolio of strengths and weaknesses.
Meanwhile, a high-potential employee proves to an employer that he or she will push to continuously improve. This means taking on new and different responsibilities, being proactive about having the chance to master new skills, and actively soliciting feedback from others to understand where there is room for improvement.
3. You are easy to work with and have strong relationships across the organization
Being promoted isn’t a decision your boss makes in a vacuum. At most organizations, promotions require the green light of other people within your organization as well. As such, you want people to be on your side and to root for you to get promoted. Be a good partner, always treat people with respect, and be cognizant of how you appear.
4. You see the bigger picture
Being promoted means getting a bigger role within the organization, and the best way to show that you are worthy of that bigger role is by seeing beyond your day-to-day and thinking strategically about how your efforts can most help the organization. This means having a strong understanding of the business you are in and how your role - and your team - fits in.
5. You are a “yes” person.
This doesn’t mean you should agree with everything your boss says - in fact, disagreeing thoughtfully will help you in your career. Rather, this means saying “yes” when there are opportunities to expand your role. Maybe there’s a group you can join within the office, or a pilot program you can be a part of - whenever it’s possible, say “yes” if it means an opportunity to grow.
6. You listen.
There is a time to lead, and there is a time to listen - you do not have to dominate every conversation to show that you are a leader. One of the best ways to improve and to form great relationships with others is to actively listen to and act upon what they are saying.
The Bottom Line
2021 can be a great opportunity to wipe the slate clean and get a head start on your professional aspirations. Your promotion is there for the taking - now is as good a time as any to start preparing and making sure you’re doing all the right things to set yourself up to receive the promotion you’ve been seeking.
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