5 questions to ask if you are not getting promoted

Missed out on promotion? Learn how to help get promoted at work fast.

Missed out on a promotion? It’s normal to feel upset, or even angry, if you feel you’ve been unfairly overlooked. But before you storm into your manager’s office demanding answers, make sure you’ve looked carefully at your own reputation in the office first.

How to find out why you're missing out on a promotion at work:

1.    Are you more of a friend than a manager?

Many of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families, so it’s not surprising that some great friendships result. But if you see yourself on the management track, you need to consider the fine line between friendly and friendship. As a manager, you will need to change the way you interact with colleagues who were formerly peers, and if you are very chummy, the question of whether you can manage both the positive and negative aspects of their work may be raised during the promotion process.

2.    Are you looking at the big picture?

There’s nothing wrong with an honest day’s work for an honest pay cheque. But if you want to get to the next level, you need to act like an owner not an employee. That can be as simple as take a whole of business approach to your own work activities. And for extra credit, look for opportunities to add value proactively in other departments.

3.    Are you open to constructive criticism?

Even the most talented employees can benefit from feedback and advice. When it comes to promotion time, managers are looking for staff that are always on the lookout for ways to improve and who take criticism as an opportunity to grow rather than become defensive.

4.    Are you confident (and showing it)?

Confident people rarely sit on the sidelines, even if they don’t have the talent to back up their attitude. If you’ve got the ability, but it’s not being acknowledged, ask yourself how to show it. It’s not about bragging. It’s about being comfortable with your achievements and sharing credit where credit is due.

5.    Do you have your boss’ back?

When a leader is building a team, they are looking for people they can rely on. Ask yourself if your boss thinks of you in that way. Are you reliable? Do you meet deadlines? Do you keep your boss informed on the key aspects of your progress without being asked? And most importantly, do you always ensure that the broader team sees you as positive unit delivering excellent results?

Tips to get promoted at work:

  • Think like an owner, not an employee.
  • If you want others to believe in you, you must believe in yourself.
  • Even if you don’t like your boss, make sure they never know it.
  • Friendly people go far in the workplace. Friendships can hold you back.

What to do to get promoted at work:

If you’ve honestly reviewed these questions and the reason why you’ve missed out on a promotion is no clearer, approach a more senior, trusted colleague and ask them if they can give you any tips on how to position yourself better for future opportunities. Be open-minded and encourage them to be completely honest.


CPA Career Mentor


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