5 Things Holding You Back From a Promotion

You thought that this time you'll surely get tapped to move up the ladder, but once again, the promotion went to somebody else. You want to know who got in your way, but the fact is, your own work behavior is likely the reason you were skipped over. Here are five things you may be doing to trip yourself up.

 

Dealing Poorly With Disappointment

Writer Ernest Hemingway famously defined courage as grace under pressure. If that's true, you need to demonstrate courage to get a promotion. The fact is, managers tend to judge employees as much by the way they handle problems as by the way they handle success. 

If you feel as though you've failed when things don't go well and you prefer to crawl away to lick your wounds, your behavior brands you as too immature to rise. Managers know that every enterprise carries the risk of failure and they look for employees who own the outcome and learn from it, instead of beating themselves up about it.

 

Refusing to Blow Your Own Horn

On the job, you sometimes have to blow your own horn to get the recognition you deserve, according to San Francisco life coach Shaleen Diebencorn. "Self-promotion used to have a bad rap," Diebencorn says, "and even now many people, and women in particular, have a hard time mentioning their successes." 

But mentioning your wins is perfectly appropriate these days as long as the recital is targeted and low-key. Don't go around the office bragging, but when your boss is looking for someone to handle an important account, remind him that you pulled a rabbit out of a hat on a similar account last month and you feel confident you can duplicate your success with this one.

 

Not Being a Team Player

Everyone likes a team player, someone who thinks "we" more than "me" on the job. When you play well with others, you share the effort — knowing how to delegate and how to inspire — and you share the praise, making the entire team feel good about the outcome.

There are many ways to fail at being a team player:

  • Do you take comments at work personally? 
  • Do you inject personality into disagreements to such an extent that you think coworkers are out to get you? 
  • Are you the divisive force in a group? 
  • Do you work well with a team, then hog all the credit? 

Any of these traits will make you unpopular with colleagues and underrated by management. If the shoe fits, try wearing a different style.

 

Never Seeking Feedback

Insecure people usually don’t like to ask for feedback and do everything they can to avoid getting after-the-fact reviews. This is a strategic mistake, according to Diebencorn. The best and most mature employees are those who constantly seek feedback in order to get a second perspective and to improve performance.

This is a skill you can practice and learn, Diebencorn says. "You don't have to wait for a formal setting. Just get in the habit of catching the boss and asking how you could have done a presentation better; what else could you have included in the report." 

Asking for feedback shows the powers-that-be that you care about how well you're doing and that you expect to improve. Make it a habit and you'll carve out a whole new reputation at the office.

 

Not Taking Responsibility

Playing the blame game is an easy habit to fall into, but it won't look good on you. Sure, there is usually somebody or something that got in the way of you achieving the best results, but there always are challenges in every endeavor. 

Don't denounce the people or circumstances you think prevented your complete success. You'll be more impressive as an employee if you don't focus on what others could have done to make things turn out better.

 

Key Concepts

  • Career mistakes
  • Missing promotion
  • Job errors

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