Feeling stuck at work? Passed over? You know the feeling: it seems like you’ve been doing the same old thing for ages, yet no one seems to notice. You’d excel at a higher position, but coworkers who have been around for less time are being picked before you. What’s going wrong?
If you’ve been wondering why that promotion you think you deserve has been so long in coming, it might be worth taking a critical look at your job performance – before you start complaining about a conspiracy theory at work. Are you making any of these six mistakes?
1. You’re not detail-oriented
You may think no one cares if you arrive at 8:10 instead of 8 on the dot a few days a week, or take a few extra minutes for lunch. You may think no one noticed that you’ve been late filing your reports, or that you’re skipping that pesky bit of protocol that surely doesn’t matter anyway. Typos in you emails and forgotten attachments? No big deal, right?
But as they say, “the devil is in the details.” All these little flubs add up to say that you don’t put much effort into your job. If you want a promotion, you need to show that you’re the type of person who cares about details.
2. You’re working hard – but not getting results
Maybe instead of slacking off here and there, you’re actually one of the hardest-working people in the office. Shouldn’t that do the trick?
Not always! It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend at your desk if your work isn’t producing the types of results that really benefit the organization. Refocus your efforts away from always being busy, to making meaningful contributions – and documenting them so that next time promotion season comes around, you can show your bosses just what a difference you’ve made.
3. You’re not taking the initiative
Wait – have you told your boss that you’re looking for a promotion? Many a good candidate has been passed up simply because those in charge of promotions thought he or she was happy in the current position. You need to show initiative and motivation in order to push ahead. Look for opportunities to challenge yourself, to take on new projects, and to demonstrate that you’re hungry to move up in your career.
4. You require too much management
Does your boss often have to remind you about meetings, deadlines, and tasks? If your manager is having to spend extra time to make sure you’re on track because you’re not organized on your own, that’s a problem. After all, if you’re hoping to be trusted with bigger and better things, you need to nail the small stuff right now. To make sure you’re promotion-ready next time around, prove that you can manage your own time. Set yourself reminders, create a solid organizational system, and get your work done on time without nudging.
5. You don’t look like management material
You may need to up your game, both in wardrobe and in attitude, if you want to take the next step. Dress like the people on the level you want to be promoted to, and don’t let yourself get sloppy – even on Casual Friday.
Presenting a professional image is more than just clothes, however. You need to act and sound professional, too. Try taking public speaking course at a local community college to brush up on your presentation skills, cleaning up your posture, and making sure your emails are free from typos and grammatical errors.
6. You’re not invested in the organization
Great employees aren’t just showing up for the paycheck – they’re showing up because they’re passionate about their work and their organization. Your managers are looking to promote people who have the best interests of the organization in mind, not who are simply looking for a pay raise.
Challenge yourself to think like your bosses: on an organizational level. How does your current position contribute to the overall mission? What attitudes might you need to shed before you can become part of the bigger team? Are you serious about making a difference? Show it, and your bosses will start to see you as the leader you want to be.