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Actions speak louder than words: how to nail a promotion at work without asking for it

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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The statistics are alarming: 57% of men ask for a promotion and only 7% of women do the same.

Whether it feels impolite, troublesome or arrogant, we give ourselves plenty of reasons to avoid asking for a pay rise or title change.

And while many would argue that women need to speak up, there's equally a case for the quiet workers: a truly deserving employee shouldn't have to speak up at all. 

Jim Morris, a principal at Moementum, a global training consultancy has penned an article on how actions in the workplace speak louder than words.

We take a look at three of his top tips.

1. Crave growth, not status

Morris says your priority should be obtaining new skills and knowledge, not a better job title.

“Your boss will be far more impressed with your ability and desire to learn than he will with ego and ambition to improve your rank or status,” he says. 

“Resist the urge to talk about what you know or brag about how easy everything is for you,” he continues. “Instead, share what you’re learning, and be vulnerable and honest about it. If you’ve suddenly discovered a new way to do a task or job better, don’t say “I feel like I have my area wired”, say, “Just when I thought I had my area wired, I learned a whole new way to approach [a task] that I can now apply to how I do a lot of things. What a great lesson!”

He also says it's about continuous self-improvement. Try to see yourself objectively and highlight what you could be doing better.

2. Seek long-term projects

"The further up the hierarchy you go, the more intricate your job will become," says Morris. So it's far more valuable for an employer to see that you can handle multiple tasks, variable goals and execution strategies rather than telling them. 

"Learn to handle multi-layered projects by picking tasks that are progressively more complex. Just remember you want to stretch yourself—not drown. So, if you are used to managing tasks that can normally be completed in a month or two, don’t sign up for a project that’ll take a year to complete. Look for a six-month one first."

"When you show you’re adept at handling a more advanced project, you’re demonstrating that you could work at the next level."

3. Perfect your collaboration skills

"In every great team, there is at least one person who makes things click because he or she has the collaboration superpowers of listening, compromising, and mediating. Be that person," says Morris.

"So, practice your teamwork skills any chance you get. Contrary to popular belief, leading every group effort won’t show your boss you’re the best person to promote. To really impress your boss, show that you’re a true team player—one who can add value through supporting your colleagues as well."

Visit themuse.com to read more of Jim Morris' tips on how to silently landing a promotion. 

Main image: Mad Men

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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