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5 Behaviors That Pretty Much Guarantee You Will Never Be Promoted

This column was originally published on on February 8th, 2018.

Stop talking. Start doing.

Unfortunately, getting promoted is often more of an art than a science. Whether or not you’re up for a promotion or you have an annual review coming up, these five tips will guide you through the dos and don’ts of asking for a raise and getting that promotion you’ve been working towards.

1. Never acknowledge other people’s contributions to your work.

One of the hardest truths I’ve learned about management is that when the people under you are doing well, it’s all about them, and when they screw up, it’s all about you. I realized very quickly in my career that the people I respected and enjoyed working with always gave credit where credit was due. This means not throwing people under the bus and owning your own mistakes. It also means that I want to be known as a cheerleader for the people I work around. Frankly, promotions and raises are as much about being liked/a teamplayer as they are about earning the advancement.

If you don’t want to get promoted, don’t cheer people on, be constantly negative, and don’t acknowledge when someone else is right.

2. Constantly ask about getting promoted instead of how you can improve.

This is something that I’ve learned about the hard way. This doesn’t mean you should never ask, but you should be smart about when and how you ask your supervisor about a promotion or raise. If you want to get promoted, focus on delivering and then bring up your results, how you’re contributing, and ask confidently and humbly for a promotion or raise. I also think it’s smart to give your manager a heads up that this question is coming if it’s not expected. I’ve often sent a note to my boss letting them know that I want to discuss my salary before I bring it up, which also ensures that I don’t chicken out and end up not asking.

If you don’t want to get promoted, make sure to ask your boss more often about when you’re going to get promoted than how you can improve, grow and contribute to your team.

3. Focus on what you want out of the promotion.

It’s crazy to me how often people expect a raise because they do their job, or even do their job well. A promotion, and most raises, typically come from not only doing your job well, but adding value — typically in the form of more revenue for your company — outside of your currently assigned role. I’ve never had a hard time making a case for a promotion when I can show that I’m helping the company make more money. In fact, I have gone as far as creating an infographic that showcases how my efforts have resulted in more revenue.

If you don’t want to get promoted, tell your boss that the promotion will help you with your career goals, and make it clear it’s all about you.

4. Ask about a promotion in an emotional way instead of focusing on facts.

Too often, people get heated and frustrated in these conversations, or they shrink back and don’t speak up to get what they deserve. Don’t use a negative experience as a springboard to ask for a raise, or suggest that you work harder than others and that’s why you should get a more money. Don’t keep quiet when you know it’s long past due and that you can easily make a case for a raise given the feedback you’ve received. Focus on the facts; what does your specific experience bring to the table? What quantifiable changes have you made? What would you be able to do differently if you got promoted?

If you don’t want to get promoted, get frustrated or upset when you ask for a raise, and focus on your feelings instead of the facts.

5. Give up and get impatient.

From my experience, promotions never come exactly when you expect, even when it’s really spelled out or you’ve earned it. The key is try to find what your boss needs from you in order to justify a raise or move you into a new role. If your supervisor can’t define that for you, or you don’t want to make the agreed upon changes, start looking for a new job. I’ve left companies because promises weren’t kept and it made the most sense for my career trajectory. I’ve stuck it out in other situations and have been rewarded for it.

If you don’t want to get promoted, give up.

Use your interactions with your supervisor to focus on how you can improve and deliver more to your organization. If that is what you lead with, you’ll get a promotion before you know it.

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