4 Subtle Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Chances for a Promotion

4 minute read

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

It’s been a few years, and you’ve been exceptionally diligent. Ever since you realized it was a possibility, that promotion has been your goal, and you’ve been gunning for it with everything you’ve got.

But, wait. Before you keep charging blindly ahead, make sure your grand plans aren’t derailed by any of these easy-to-make mistakes.

1. Winning Over Your Boss But Not Your Co-workers

Your direct supervisor will have a big say in whether or not you get to move up, so it makes perfect sense to curry his or her favor. But before you keep nodding yes to everything your manager says, consider the impression you’re making on your colleagues. It might be completely obvious to everyone but you that you’re “running for office” and ready to sacrifice anyone standing in your way.

To prevent any resentment from building up, you’ll want to be a bit more mindful of the way your actions to please your boss make you look in front of your co-workers. After all, it’s not like these people just go away when you get promoted. In fact, you will still have to work with them—and possibly even manage them.

2. Focusing on New Responsibilities But Neglecting Your Current Ones

It’s great to be eager, but obsessing over your next career move instead of focusing on your present role isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s easy to get carried away with newer, possibly more exciting responsibilities, but neglecting your core duties will get you in trouble. You won’t make a very compelling case for yourself to take on a greater role in the team if you can’t even manage your current assignments.

In other words, before you get too preoccupied with revamping the internship training schedule or planning the regional conference, make sure your main responsibilities are completed in a timely and consistent manner.

5 Horrible Habits You Need to Stop Right Now

Do Not Email First Thing in the Morning or Last Thing at Night “The former scrambles your priorities and all your plans for the day and the latter just gives you insomnia,” says Ferriss, who insists “email can wait until 10am” or after you check off at least one substantive to-do list item.Chris Pecoraro—Getty Images
Do Not Agree to Meetings or Calls With No Clear Agenda or End Time “If the desired outcome is defined clearly… and there’s an agenda listing topics–questions to cover–no meeting or call should last more than 30 minutes,” claims Ferriss, so “request them in advance so you can ‘best prepare and make good use of our time together.'”Sam Edwards—Getty Images/Caiaimage
Do Not Check Email Constantly Batch it and check it only periodically at set times (Ferriss goes for twice a day). Your inbox is analogous to a cocaine pellet dispenser, says Ferriss. Don’t be an addict. Tools like strategic use of the auto responder and Boomerang can help.Jetta Productions—Getty Images
Do Not Carry a Digital Leash 24/7 At least one day a week leave you smartphone somewhere where you can’t get easy access to it. If you’re gasping, you’re probably the type of person that most needs to do kick this particular habit.by nacoki ( MEDIA ARC )—Getty Images/Flickr RF
Do Not Let People Ramble Sounds harsh, but it’s necessary, Ferriss believes. “Small talk takes up big time,” he says, so when people start to tell you about their weekends, cut them off politely with something like “I’m in the middle of something, but what’s up?” But be aware, not everyone agrees with this one (and certainly not in every situation), and you may want to pay particularly close attention to norms around chit chat when traveling internationally.Reza Estakhrian—Getty Images

3. Going Above and Beyond But Not Letting Anyone Know

So, you’re knocking out old and new responsibilities, helping out colleagues, and mentoring interns. If anyone is paying attention, that promotion should be yours. Problem is, you can’t rely on other people to pay attention. If you’re not fully promoting yourself and your achievements, it almost doesn’t matter that you’re killing it at your job.

So, how does one actually do this? It’s all about setting aside time to talk about and celebrate team successes with your manager. Check out this handy guide on how to brag at work (without sounding like a jerk) for a more step-by-step guide.

4. Not Creating a Plan for When You Actually Do Get Promoted

This one might be the least obvious one. What is your team or company going to do if you’re not longer in your current role? If you don’t have a plan in place, that can be a serious deterrent for promoting you.

Plan for your succession, or if you’re in a more entry-level role, document processes you oversee, training you’ve completed, and your general responsibilities so that it’ll be easy to train someone to take your place. It might feel a bit presumptuous to be getting ready to move on to a new role that you may or may not get, but when it does happen, you’ll look completely prepared and ready to take on that promotion.

The moral of this story is that getting promoted shouldn’t just be about you. If you’re able to make it about what’s best for the team or the company, you’ll be not only be making a better impression on everyone involved, you’ll also be more likely to get that coveted promotion. Good luck!

More from The Muse:

  • 30 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview
  • 5 Ways Your Thank You Note Could Lose You the Job
  • A Day in the Life of Your Most Productive Self
  • Read next: 10 Ways You Can Be More Confident at Work

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