Why wouldn’t you want a promotion?

There’s nothing quite like a beefier paycheck, greater respect from colleagues, and feeling like you’ve made an impact in the workplace.

But spending 15 years with an employer doesn’t guarantee you a leadership promotion. Just like having a Master’s Degree doesn’t solidify a career advancement.

So what do you do?

What types of habits will you have to develop to show your boss that you’re a great candidate for a leadership promotion?

We’re going to discuss five habits to consider adopting to secure a future promotion and a bigger paycheck!

1. Taking Feedback Well & Adapting

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the job or with the company:

There’s always room for improvement!

Being able to accept feedback—even when critical—and then take the necessary steps to change will set you apart from other promotion candidates.

Looking At The Bigger Picture

Nobody likes to hear they did something wrong or not up to par with their boss’s expectations. But try to view this feedback from the perspective of the whole team.

Everyone is a vital, moving piece in the machine that is your department.

With that, everyone needs to be functioning at 100%, on schedule, and efficiently. So envision the constructive criticism as adding oil to a machine so that it runs better.

It’s not a personal attack, but advice for everyone’s benefit!

Turning Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

How you receive this constructive criticism (i.e., Not breaking down in tears or responding in anger toward your boss) is essential.

But your next steps are even more critical.

Learn to push your ego and pride to the side and turn your weaknesses into your strengths. Learn new things to help you step up your role within the team. And vow always to improve, leaving that lousy habit or mistake in the past for good!

It’s not the mistake that defines you, but rather what you do to recover from it!

2. Taking Initiative Whenever Possible

There’s probably one reason you don’t go above and beyond in the workplace:

You do more, but you don’t get paid more!

So while there’s no monetary incentive, going one step further than what’s expected of you can ramp up your chances of a leadership promotion.

And when we recommend you “take initiative,” we mean both in the workplace and on your own time.

Consider doing the following:

  • Offering to mentor a new hire or do the onboarding tasks
  • Looking into ways to make the workplace tasks more straightforward or more efficient. (Then share your findings with the team)
  • Using your time after finishing a job earlier to take on another task
  • Pitching new ideas, projects, or products via a presentation to your boss
  • Attending conferences, courses, or networking events in your industry
  • Getting a degree or certificate in your field or “leadership”
  • Collaborating with other departments on a task.

Just be sure to stay within your “lane” when taking initiative.

Assuming an unofficial leadership role or telling your colleagues what to do can be problematic. You don’t want to come off as bossy or like you’re stepping on your boss’s toes when your intentions are actually to be a good leader.

3. Setting Clear Career Goals

You know that you want a leadership promotion to show your boss that you can handle the responsibility.

But does your boss know?

Your actions might not be portraying your goals to your boss, it’s essential to keep your boss “in the know” about where you envision your career going.

First things first, clearly tell your boss that you’re looking to move up the ladder.

Then, create a professional development plan (PDP) for yourself:

Create SMART goals.

Pinpoint milestones you want to accomplish between now and the eventual promotion. Consider what it’ll take to reach every single one, and determine how you’ll know you met them.

The goal is always to do a little better than yesterday! A PDP will keep you on pace toward your end goal (promotion) without getting in the way of your productivity.

4. Using Professional & Effective Communication

As it turns out, there are certain things employers look for in leaders, and there’s one defining feature of a tried and true professional:

Effective communication.

So on your trek toward a promotion, focus on what you say and how you say it.

Even when you reach the role of “boss” or “leader,” this doesn’t make you better than those below you.

So before you get to this role:

  • Treat everybody like they’re the most important person in the room.
  • Listen more than you speak (other people have great ideas, as long as you’re willing to listen to them).
  • Learn how to explain things in a million different ways to reach everyone.
  • Emphasize the entire team, not your success.
  • Express positive body language (i.e., Good posture, positive expressions like laughing and smiling, and eye contact).
  • Be respectful and polite.

One vital thing to understand is that many people let leadership and power get to their heads.

So you must never assert your authority, skill, or knowledge in a way that’s intimidating or demeaning.

5. Practicing Great Work Ethic

You’ll never get a promotion if you’re proving yourself unreliable, unprofessional, and unpredictable.

Not only will these qualities hold you back from a promotion, but they’ll also put a strain on the relationship you have with your eventual employees.

So practice good work ethics and lead by example.

Work ethic is one of those things that you either have or you don’t.

So if you want to shift that “good” work ethic into “great” work ethic, pick up these habits:

  • Meet deadlines (and communicate with your boss when you can’t).
  • Address pressing deadlines and more critical projects first.
  • Look at the job as something more than a paycheck (see the purpose).
  • Cut the workplace distractions, like social media, your phone, and music.
  • Get to work before your shift starts and clean up your work before you leave.
  • Ask questions and get feedback along the way.

If your boss asks you to take on extra tasks or pick up the slack for some of your peers, then you’re already making a great impression.


When you want a leadership promotion, be sure to focus on consistency.

Show that you’re serious about accepting greater responsibility.  Those above you want to see you can easily assume the role from your current position.

So keep up these positive habits, even when your boss isn’t looking.

A promotion will be on its way in due time.

Author Bio 

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech at Greenville to help them with their online marketing.

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