Guidelines on how you can be promoted

Guidelines on how you can be promoted
Last Updated: January 1, 2023

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A promotion is how the employer demonstrates your importance in the company and how much they value the work you do. It is what many of us strive to get however, being promoted may not always be easy. Promotion means more influence, more control, greater opportunities for career growth and not forgetting more money just to name a few advantages that come with the change. The final decision to be promoted lies with the organisation- the man or woman at the top, but proactively pursuing your promotion does increase your chances. Landing that promotion primarily hangs in your hands.

Promotions are not merely given, many assume because they have served the company for years and years surely they deserve to go up the ladder, or one may assume their intelligence or speed will always result in a promotion. Assuming that promotion is entitled to you is the quickest way of holding yourself back and regressing in your career. It is important to understand that you must create and manage your own career path. Keeping in mind promotion may not always be an upward path, in some cases, it might take making a lateral move in order to position yourself for a later upward move.

The best way to pursue a promotion comes down to two things: acting in a way that will warrant a promotion and asking for a promotion and this article covers both these aspects. Here are some the qualities you need:


Be good at your job

This may seem obvious; however, it is the first and most important element. You have to be good at your current job before you can even dream about getting a bigger role. Analyse your own performance, are you meeting set goals, are you meeting your manager's expectations or even exceeding them. Only then can you start to look for ways to go beyond the daily requirements and prove your value to the company. To be promoted you have to prove you would be better in a bigger role. Keeping in mind that just because you have been at a company for a few years does not mean you are automatically eligible for a promotion. You must show that you add value to the company. "After a certain amount of time, employees just expect a promotion, but they don't stop to think if they really are effective," wrote Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell, the principals of Skyline Group, in Entrepreneur (2016). Evaluate your competence by reviewing your past performance evaluations. Are there any gaps? Any areas of improvement? Talk to your supervisors and workmates in order to find out what needs to be done. In this way, you can identify skills that fall between strengths and weaknesses.


Focus on self-development

There is no point in being a high performing employee that stays in their role for years with no career growth. A high performing employee will have good performance reviews however; they will stay the same year after year with the same skills. It is more important to be a high performing employee who moves up the ladder. The high potential employee proves to their employee that they not only excel in their role, but they push themselves to improve. This individual takes up new and different responsibilities, they are not afraid of lateral moves if it means a chance to master a new skill. It also means they actively seek feedback from others in order to understand their weaknesses, which enables them to learn and grow in their own time. It shows you have a growth mindset, not a fixed one.



Identify areas of improvement in the organisation

Confronting problems that others avoid is a great way of paving your way towards that promotion. It is important to identify where you can add value. Analyse your department and overall business. Where are there gaps or inefficiencies which you can solve? Through identifying these areas you will know where to focus your efforts. People who show initiative in areas where business may be weak place themselves in a good position for promotion.


Evaluate the job requirements

Going through the job description in order to identify the job requirements for the promotion you want. Gain a clear view of where you want to be, and what is required to get there. Conduct a gap analysis by going through every requirement and comparing it in your own skills, knowledge, education, certifications and experience. The next step would be to create a career development plan. For every gap you manage to identify, you determine a plan of action of how you overcome it. Push to compensate where you fall short.


Build strong relationships

A promotion is not a decision made in a vacuum, at most organisations a promotion requires the go-ahead from other people within the organisation, not only from the boss. Making enemies in your workplace is, therefore, the most crippling element you can put on your career growth. ‘The people who typically get promoted keep calm under stressful conditions’ Nicole Munoz of Start Ranking Now told The Muse. They focus more on solving issues when they arise and learning from their mistakes and avoid future problems. Building strong relationships is done through treating people with respect even it is not reciprocated. Therefore, keep in mind no matter how good it might feel to treat someone bad it might just kill your chances of promotion.

Be bold and speak up

It is important to let those who make the decisions be aware of your ambitions. You may be a high performer, you may meet your goals, and be the most talented person, but if the people at the top think, you are happy where you are, they may overlook you when promotions are available. "The delivery of your message matters," Hauser (2018) wrote. "If you sound like you're not sure about whether you deserve a raise, it may raise doubts for the person across the table. It will also tip them off that it's easy for them to say no."


Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +263 783168453 or email: or visit our website at

Munodiwa Zvemhara
This article was written by Munodiwa a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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