Corporate Secrets: Signs That You’re Promotable

by Richard Owens 3 years ago in career / list

Knowing the signs that you're promotable can help you identify bias and adjust your career path accordingly.

Corporate Secrets: Signs That You’re Promotable

A friend of mine approached me and asked me, what are the signs that you're promotable? At first, I felt pity for him. This is because we graduated from college at the same time and both of us were lucky enough to get employed at the same company. While I have moved up the corporate ladder and I am currently the head of my department, he is stuck at the junior level. In addition, his wife just gave birth to twins and the pressure is mounting on him to move up the corporate ladder. This a common problem faced by many individuals. As human beings, we do not love being stuck in our place, we like moving forward.

As human beings, we tend to bias. Your boss' biases can be the reason why you are not moving forward. Andrew Greenwald at the University of Washington performed a study and came up with findings showing how bias can keep employees stuck in the same position. Knowing how to exploit your boss' biases may help lead to you getting that big promotion you have been wanting. Exploiting your boss' bias sounds shady, but it's actually a tactical method that is regularly practiced in the workplace.

Delivery of Work

Photo by Bench Accounting

Before asking yourself if you are promotable, ask yourself about the quality of your work. Let your work do the talking for you. The first thing that will catch your boss' attention is your work. Let your work be so good that the company fears to lose you. For instance, if you are an investment banker let your number be so good that if you leave, the company may face the loss of some of your clients. This isn't to say being a good employee will automatically get you promoted. Be an exception, so that your boss has to take notice.


Photo by Avi Richards

During a crisis, does your boss or peers depend on you to sort out important issues? If so, then you are displaying signs that you're promotable. If your boss sees how dependable you are, he/she will probably promote you. This is because he/she needs someone who they know, no matter the time of day, you will come through and sort the issues out.

By being dependable, you are an asset to the company and it means that you are probably on your boss' radar. Being on your boss' radar in a good way means that when an opportunity presents itself in the company, you may be the first to be considered.

However, do not place yourself in a situation where you cannot be replaced. While at first thought you may think you should be indispensable, this would mean that there is nobody to take your job should you be promoted. You can do this by grooming a junior staff. Try to create a balance in which, when an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder comes along, you can easily grab it without affecting the position that you were in.

Go the Extra Mile

Photo by Jay Wennington

Anyone can follow instructions. Even a dog can follow basic instructions. So if you want to display signs that you are promotable, go the extra mile. You can do this by taking on extra workload and responsibilities. Doing this it will position you in your boss' scope. Taking on extra workload and responsibility means that you are ready for the extra step on the corporate ladder.

A practical example is from James Mworia, CEO of Centum Investment Group, Kenya. During an interview, he was asked how he rose to become CEO of one the biggest investment firm in Kenya and Africa. At the age of thirty-six, he became the CEO in a country where in a country CEOs are typically in their late fifties. He said the reason behind his success was that he often took on additional tasks by helping his workmates after completing his own tasks.

Be that Cool Guy

Being that cool guy in this context means that you have emotional maturity. Emotional maturity means that you can control your temper. In every working place, there are situations which may provoke you to anger. How you react to such situation will display your emotional maturity.

By giving coworkers the silent treatment or creating chaos through your anger, you are showing that you are emotionally immature. No boss could promote such a person as they fear you may destroy the image of the company. When facing a situation that provokes your anger, be the cool guy, keep your cool and handle the situation like a pro.

Build Bridges Between You and the Management

Be the friend of the company. In every company, they are those that are against the management. These people, in most cases, do not go far up the corporate ladder. This is because when the opportunity comes along, management will kick them off. You can build a bridge between you and the management by being friendly with your boss, your managers, and showing a willingness to work for the good of the company, not for the good of yourself.

Try to Get Along with Your Peers

Photo by Charles Forerunner

Another important sign that you are promotable is how well you get along with your peers. A person who demonstrates that they get along well with their peers shows that the person will not have problems being a leader. A boss will likely promote you if cooperation with your peers is good.


So if you are looking for signs that you are promotable, and having troubles landing a promotion, you should examine the signs listed above. Try to focus in on these signs, and see if there is room for self improvement. By just reading this article, you are taking a step in the right direction by taking initiative and showing the desire for growth.

Richard Owens
Richard Owens
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Richard Owens

Beer Connoisseur, classically trained pianist, traveled to over 50 countries in my 20s alone, and lover of the arts.

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