6 habits that are ruining your chances of getting a promotion

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Hungry for a more senior role? Eager to sink your teeth into a new challenge? Whether there are promotion opportunities on your radar or not, your habits can put the odds of getting promoted on your side — or stop your career development in its tracks.

And if you think hard work and experience alone are enough, think again. “Hard work and experience are great things to possess but it’s not the only thing that’s going to get you where you want to go,” says Joyel Crawford, CEO of Crawford Leadership Strategies and host of Career View Mirror, a career development show. “It’s up to you to put the career address into the GPS and press go.”

Wondering what kind of habits to keep in mind in order to avoid a career crash? It’s all about being visible and putting yourself in front of the right people — even in the age of remote work. And you’ll also wanna focus on cultivating a solutions-oriented, resourceful mindset.

“Having an intrapreneurial mindset can really help catapult you into visibility projects that will drive results for the business and for your professional goals as well. What solutions can you bring to the table? How can you help the organization save, make or donate more revenue?” says Crawford.

Beyond cultivating your network and adopting the right mindset, there are also actions and approaches you should absolutely avoid if you want to get a promotion anytime soon. Start by unlearning the six habits below.

1. Passive decision-making

“You have to take an active part in navigating your career,” says Crawford, who recommends building a network of professionals who can not only act as a support system but also serve as possible mentors or sponsors that help you drive your career.

And if you’re interested in a particular role or career direction, shadowing or informally interviewing someone who holds a similar position is a great move.

“This type of background research is key — you may find that the position you want isn’t at all what you saw from the outside looking in. Shadowing and informational interviews will also give you some visibility. And don’t let working remotely get in your way, you can still do this via a web-based meeting platform.”

2. Being a sore loser

Being resentful at work is a surefire way to erode your reputation. Let’s say you just got passed up for a promotion. It’s normal to feel disappointed, but it’s really important to process your disappointment in a healthy way and avoid letting it show. “If you don’t get the role the first time, how you show up afterward counts even more,” says Crawford.

So resist the temptation to lose steam or disengage. Do lick your wounds if you need to, but then focus on using the missed opportunity as motivation to improve and find an even better opportunity for you.

3. Not knowing your why

Do you know why you even want a promotion to begin with? And are you making it all about yourself? When thinking about your next step, Crawford says it’s important to keep in mind the why behind the what — not only in terms of what you value but also what your organization values.

Aligning your own interests and desires with the needs and goals of the company will help you get clarity on what to bring to the table. Better yet, the alignment will naturally encourage you to tap into your passion. “That passion will come through in your interview and your day-to-day dealings with others.”

4. Lack of consistency

Getting promoted is not the finish line. It’s only the first step. “Every day is an interview even after you nailed that next step up the career ladder or across the career lattice. Everyone matters, from the assistant to the executive. Treat everyone with kindness, dignity and respect. Get to know all of the names of the people you interact with. No one is beneath you,” says Crawford.

The good news is that if you focus on cultivating the right habits, you’ll be equipped with lifelong best practices regardless of your role or industry.

5. Neglecting relationships

Life sometimes gets in the way. But neglecting to nurture your professional relationships might be costing you your chances of getting a promotion. From thanking people who’ve helped you to keep in touch with former coworkers and bosses, small gestures go a long way when it comes to keeping career bridges intact.

Crawford recommends reaching out to mentors on a quarterly basis, getting into the habit of sending thank-you notes and booking one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders: “I’ve also found that having a one-on-one with your new clients or a new manager that you’re supporting is paramount.”

Why? To discuss expectations and deliver on them, which will get you that much closer to a promotion. “This really helps set the tone of collaboration and support. It used to blow people’s minds when I came into their office and asked them how they wanted to be supported,” says Crawford.

6. Having zero boundaries

Even if you love working, burnout won’t get you where you want to go. “Take care of yourself and create boundaries. Putting in 20+ hours a day thinking that will help you get the promotion faster is only burning you out and making you less productive,” says Crawford.

“You need to take care of yourself. There’s only one you — and we need you to keep bringing your best light and talents to the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Manage your energy in a sustainable way so you can keep crushing it once you get the job.