The Real Reasons You’re Not Getting Promoted

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Have you been passed over for a promotion you felt you deserved? Meeting (or even exceeding) your performance goals may not always be enough to climb another rung up the corporate ladder, as many companies have additional, subjective criteria for promotions.

Here’s a look at some of the real issues that could hinder your advancement. 

You’re Relying Too Much on Your Technical Skills

It’s great that you’re the most productive coder on your team, or that you’ve developed a reputation for being a top-notch project executor. Unfortunately, individual contributors who can’t look beyond the task at hand are often passed up for promotions.

“Great tech skills and execution will help you keep your job, but they aren’t a differentiator,” explained Alan Bronowicz, global business process lead and VP for Thomson Reuters. “You may be seen as someone who can’t analyze problems or create value for customers and users, because you keep your head down when you should be collaborating and proposing ideas.”

Look for opportunities to interact with clients and colleagues in ways that showcase your readiness to move from individual contributor to team lead or other higher-level positions. Demonstrate your ability to move beyond linear thinking to conceptual thinking by evaluating problems and ideas on a different level.

You Can’t Help Your Boss Succeed

The objectives for IT trickle down from the CIO to everyone else on the team, explained Anita Bruzzese, a career workplace expert and contributor to The Fast Track blog: “If you’re not viewed as someone who can help your boss and organization meet their objectives, such as being more strategic or overtaking competitors, then you’re not going to be promoted.”

Demonstrate alignment with IT’s mission, vision and current objectives to show that you’re a valuable advocate and go-to-resource for your boss and other execs. Apply your skills and efforts in ways that affirm your ability and willingness to help your boss reach her personal, professional and financial goals.

You Lack Social Smarts

Rolling into work in hoodies and flip flops might help you bond with your peers, but dressing too casually can make a bad impression on customers or the C-suite. To be promoted, you need to be viewed as someone who can rub elbows with board members and investors, communicate effectively with non-technical folks, and thrive in social settings. While you don’t have to wear a suit every day, always dress for the job you want, not the job you have. And be sure to project a professional demeanour when interacting with clients and executives.

Your Attitude is Holding You Back

You bill yourself as a pragmatist who prevents costly mistakes by taking a contrarian approach to impractical ideas and solutions. But everyone else thinks you’re a pessimist who can be hard to deal with.

While you don’t have to be disingenuous, or jump on every bandwagon that passes by, a positive attitude is critical to reaching your full potential. Flex, compromise and work toward a ratio of five positive comments to every negative comment to alter your image, outlook and fortunes.

You’re Stuck in Your Comfort Zone

If you’re waiting for a new formal title to start acting like a manager, you’ll never get promoted. Expand your horizons, raise your hand and seize opportunities to show that you’re ready for the next level.

Bronowicz believes that creating connection points to the next role has helped him advance throughout his career at Thomson Reuters. For instance, he gained financial management and decision-making experience by volunteering to work on the budget, making him eligible for higher-level management positions. In his thinking, tackling side projects that aren’t in your job description is the single best thing you can do to advance your career.

“It shows a willingness and desire to learn and grow,” he added. “But perhaps most importantly, it shows the executive team what they will get if they decide to promote you.”

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Comments

4 Responses to “The Real Reasons You’re Not Getting Promoted”

October 08, 2015 at 1:33 pm, John said:

Or some companies simply don’t promote from within because HR and upper management feel workers will not show the same level of respect to their buddy buddy co-worker who is now their manager.

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October 08, 2015 at 3:43 pm, Ks4life said:

I would also like to see your suggestion if your brand has become tarnished, whether or not it is your fault. Can or how do you work past that?

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October 21, 2015 at 11:46 am, emilov said:

Somehow, if the job is (scheduled) to be off-shored… is not a legitimate reason NOT to be promoted?!
Really?

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October 22, 2015 at 10:04 am, John cavanovich said:

I am assuming this does not apply to someone who supports his team, goes above and beyond to make the team successful, puts in the extra time to get things done the right way. Only to find out someone else is been promoted as they did not do a good job selling themselves as they were way too busy making the team successful. There is also a fear of loosing a great worker to management, while its hard to find someone who can get the job done, same can’t be true about someone already on the management team, who will do the work if you get promoted? Great leaders make and create great leaders, so if you don’t get promoted it’s not your fault. Analyze it and realize it before it’s too late.

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