Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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9 Steps to Getting a Promotion in 2021

So, your life was progressing just as planned…and then 2020 threw everyone a curveball.  The good news? Many organizations are eager to resume operations and full functionality.  Which means you might be ready for that promotion in the near future.

 Like any achievement, getting a promotion can be gratifying. The key is to prove that you deserve a promotion and are the right person for the job. With a little planning, you can get a promotion and advance your career.

Even if you’ve been stuck in the same job for years, it’s never too late to make new career strides. You can establish yourself as a valuable employee that deserves greater responsibilities.

To get a promotion and revitalize your career consider the following steps:

  1. Work for a company where promotions are possible. For example, if you work for a small company with a loyal workforce that stays at the company long-term, there will be fewer opportunities for promotion. Your first step might be to find a new company! Ideally, it would be a larger company with multiple locations. Explore options, if necessary.
  2. Start each day with a plan. Most employees arrive at work, grab a cup of coffee, socialize for a while, and then try to figure out what to do. Have a plan before you go to bed the night before on how you are going to maximize your day. With a plan, when you get up, you can start your day effectively and get a head start on the competition.
  3. Go above and beyond. Does everyone else arrive at 8:00am and leave by 5:00pm? If so, consider arriving at 7:30 and leaving at 5:30. It doesn’t take long for people to identify you as the person that comes in early and leaves late. Find a way to stand out as a superior employee.
  4. Always be early and reliable. It is not enough to just show up early. Be early with your work. If something is due by Friday at 5:00, have it completed on Thursday. Be 100% reliable. Don’t just be on time for meetings. Be early. Avoid letting anyone down. Be impeccable with your word.
  5. Avoid making enemies needlessly. Some people just have a talent for irritating other people. Don’t be that person. You don’t know who knows whom. You and your competition both might be low on the totem pole, but they might be best friends with the CEO’s daughter. Be one of those people that everyone likes and admires.
  6. Be indispensable. There are certain people that your company can’t do without. You probably know a few of them. What can you do to be so valuable that the company will try to keep you happy? Are you showing up at company events? Are you known as being a team-player? One key to getting a promotion is being important enough that the company won’t want to disappoint you.
  7. Identify the important people. Where is your promotion likely to be? Who do you want to work for? Start making friends and prove your worth. Specifically ask about the position and what qualities they need in an employee. Begin developing the skills necessary to be successful.
  8. Speak to your boss and human resources. Let them know that you’d like a promotion in the near future. You’ll be viewed favorably for showing initiative and you’ll be on their radar. Being proactive shows that you’re willing to take on greater responsibilities. Supervisors want to know when their people are motivated to take on greater roles and responsibilities. Be honest about your intentions. Communicate your willingness to do more.
  9. Apply for appropriate positions. Monitor your company’s job postings. You can even suggest a new position be created that’s perfect for your background, skills, and interests as the organization grows. Be part of the strategic planning committee so you know the direction of the company. 

Remember, many employees aren’t willing to earn a promotion. You might have less competition than you think. However, if your best efforts fail, it might be time to look for another company. The perfect promotion for you might already exist somewhere else. Stay open-minded and pursue new opportunities.


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