Get Promoted

Promotions help us fulfill our esteem and self-actualized needs
Promotions help us fulfill our esteem and self-actualized needs

How To Be The Natural Choice For The Promotion

Staying in one job for too long is the number one reason employees leave their company.

Organizational Psychology dating back from the 1950s asserts that growth is a natural part of the human psyche. Pay alone is not enough to motivate us.

Abraham Maslow is one of the great contributors of psychology but also organizational literature. He helped us understand human needs.  He details what he referred to as a higher order of needs. We have the drive to fulfill ‘esteem needs,’ such as recognizing, confidence, a sense of achievement, and respect by others. Above this, we have the drive to become what Maslow terms ‘ self-actualized which in short means becoming your ‘ideal self. Promotions help us fulfill our esteem and self-actualized needs as we gain a sense of recognition, achievement, and respect, and we sense we are ‘on a path to becoming our ‘ideal self.

I explain this to company exec’s by asking them this one question. ‘If you were paid $30k a year to run a company or $80k a year to sweep floors which would you choose?’ The light bulb moment appears as they realize people aren’t always seeking extrinsic rewards, but intrinsic growth. Growth is a fundamental need and part of who we are.

Being stuck in a job without a sense of growth is deflating. Glassdoor research has shown that staying in a particular role for too long makes it more likely that employees will leave their company. To get a promotion you need to build a case for your superiors to be a natural choice.

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There are three critical factors your superiors will be looking for:

  • Delivery on targets consistently and on time
  • Professionalism and Integrity
  • Be Proactive, Proactive, Proactive!

Tip One: Deliver On Your Goals Consistently

Nobody likes someone who oversells and underdelivers. I was once told a line by my mentor which has stayed with me for years. There are results or excuses. Make sure you deliver. If you are one of those who has an excuse, ‘well I couldn’t do my job, because Sam didn’t get the papers to me on time’  The question is why didn’t you check in on Sam sooner than the last day. Why didn’t you wait until the deadline had passed until you communicated that you were behind?

If you are going to be a trusted you have to take care of your responsibility. Even when we get distracted on day to day small side jobs make sure you are making time for the big goals. If that means your work is reliant on other people, make sure you are checking on those people to see if there any potential delays. Taking responsibility for the flow of work and communicating when things don’t go to plan gives you a lot of credibility. Build your reputation by making sure you are clear on your goals and deliver them.

How to get a promotion

Tip Two: Ensure You Have Clarity For Your Goals

Show that you don’t need to be micro-managed. Show you are responsible and accountable to detail and the big picture. Ensure you clarify the outcomes, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ensure you know the timeline and make sure you plan to achieve your target ahead of the timeline. If you need support, ask for it. You won’t appear less credible if you ask for support, but you will if you fail to meet the outcome.

Managers always like someone who thinks strategically. This means you are looking out for corporate goals. It is awe-inspiring when an employee notices a problem or inefficiency in the system, affecting the outputs and coming up with a better solution.

Tip Three: Be Professional

Hitting your goals at the expense of others will damage your reputation quickly. Just because you are succeeding at delivering your targets doesn’t mean that you can cross boundaries. Be mindful and respectful of others people’s opinions, religion, gender, color, and lifestyle. Be a people person and show interest in all people, not just those who can serve your needs. People notice how you treat other people, so don’t join coalition groups that seek to gossip and undermine other employees.

Tip Four: Show You Are Someone To Be Trusted

If you are seen as the go-to source to get the job done, you will be seen as someone who can be trusted and won’t fail when a task needs to get done. This will mean as projects become more complex, they will know you have the character to take it on. Communicate with your manager to understand the bigger picture and how your project fits in with corporate goals.  Stand behind your manager as a key source of support and as a credible employee.

Tip Five: Be A Champion Of Other People’s Success

Make sure your interactions are positive. When things get tough and conflict happens, make sure you stay centered. Don’t bring heightened emotions, gossip, negativity, or reactionary behavior into the workplace. When things happen, don’t react, act with professionalism.

People won’t always agree but be someone who stands for constructive conflict, not destructive conflict. Acknowledge your mistakes and show a willingness to learn from them when you don’t get things right.



Don’t work for just you; work for the team’s interests.

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