Improve your performance at work to get promoted

How to improve your performance at work to get promoted is actually really simple: you just need to show you are ready for the next level. And today I tell you exactly how to do it in 5 simple steps. 

Step 1: you need to excel at your current job first 

This should go without saying but if you want to get promoted you first need to demonstrate that you can perform in your current role at the highest level. Because, and I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, if you still have things to learn in your current role, it means you are not ready to get promoted yet.

If this is your case you should focus on becoming so good they can’t ignore you (when you asked for that promotion). The best way to do it this is to review your job description and your objectives and check where you are against each item. This will help you identify the areas you need to work on. And of course you shoudl listen to your boss’ feedback too.

It is really important to make sure your boss is happy with the quality of your work and with your attitude, so that he can genuinely recommend you for a promotion to a colleague. Because let’s be honest, whoever is hiring internally will ask your current manager for feedback on how you perform in your current role. So you need to ensure that feedback is great.

Do you prefer to watch or listen rather than read?

This article is also a video: How to improve your performance at work to get promoted and you can find it here:

Step 2: what promotion are we talking about?

Are you clear about what promotion you actually want? What role would you like to do next? What type of work? What challenges do you want to take on? 

This is important because different roles involve different skill set and the skill set required for the role you want will inform the next step.

Step 3: what competencies do you need to get promoted?  

Once you know which role you want to do next, find out what the competencies needed for this specific role are.

A practical way to do this is to keep an eye out for internal and external roles being advertised for similar roles, so you can read in the role description what skills and competencies keep come up. This will give you a general list of what you need to focus on.

Once you have the list, review the competencies and be honest with yourself. Which competency do you already have? Which one do you need to acquire? 

Step 4: get ready for the next role

Now it’s time to start embodying the competencies needed for the role you want. This mean you should act right now as if you were already on the next level but within your current role. This is a very important nuance so bear with me.

If you are enjoying this article, you might enjoy this one too:  The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin | TEDxOcala

Embodying the competencies needed for the next role will be a great reality check in terms of the skills you do have and which you need to work on.

For example, if you want to move into a role with more responsibilities where you will be calling the shots, you need to be ready to call the shots now. So when you encounter a challenge, try to find to what the solution to this challenge yourself instead of running up to your boss to ask them for the solution. Imagine that you are the one making the decision. What decision would you make?

But! There is an important caveat! Do not go beyond your authority!! If you have to get approval from your boss, get the approval. The best way to do this is to prepare the discussion with:

  1. a concise summary of the matter that requires their approval that includes all the information they needs to make a decision
  2. why this matter requires their approval
  3. your recommendation – i.e. what decision you would take if it was your call

This is a great way to show them you know what you are doing and that you are ready for the next level.

By training yourself to take on the responsibilities of the next level, you will identify very quickly any gap in your skill set or any training required and you can work out a plan to close the gap.

Step 5: don’t wait to be 100% ready for the job

If you have 75% of the skill set already, you can learn the rest on the job so it’s time to apply for the role you are dreaming of. If you already have the entire skill set it won’t be challenging enough and you will get bored!

Improve your performance at work to get promoted: in 5 simple steps – summary of the steps 

  1. Excel at your current job – make sure your boss is happy 
  2. Be clear on what promotion you want
  3. Find out what competencies you need to have to get that promotion
  4. Get ready for the next role by embodying the competencies required in the role you want and filling any gap in your skill set
  5. Don’t wait to be 100% ready for the job before applying

Further resources on how to improve your performance at work to get promoted

How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Managing Conflict In The Workplace

Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on

Do you have other tips on how to improve your performance at work to get promoted? What works well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.

And remember, happiness is a choice, and you are in charge!

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8 thoughts on “Improve your performance at work to get promoted”

  1. Considering ourselves “perfectionists” is (too often?) holding us back without us even being aware of it. Thank you for reminding us that we don’t need to be 100% ready to go for it!

    • Carole, you are absolutely right. I am actually going to write about perfectionsim soon as this is such a big issue that is not only holding us back, but also preventing us from being happy.

  2. J’aime beaucoup ton article Emilie-Marie mais tu n’abordes pas le sujet notre relation aux autres collègues qui souhaitent aussi être promu. Cela fera t’il l’objet d’un autre article? Si oui je le lirai avec plaisir! Merci

    • Merci d’avoir aborder ce point Véronique. C’est une excellente question sur laquelle j’ai beaucoup à dire. Je vais ajouter ce thème à ma liste d’articles 🙂

  3. Thanks for this really interesting article! It’s super helpful if you’re looking to start a new career. And you’re absolutely right, often 75% of the knowledge is enough, the rest you learn on the job. Keep up the good work!


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