10 simple steps to be promotion ready

by Feb 1, 2024

Do you know when you are promotion ready?

So many people who possibly deserve promotion get overlooked and left behind. Here are 10 ways to become promotion ready.


Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. It shows that you are capable of going beyond the responsibilities you have now and that you’re ready for new challenges. For many, being taken out of their comfort zone is part of the promotion process. Being stretched and challenged plays a vital role.

So why do so many people who possibly deserve promotion get overlooked and left behind

There do seem to be some common steps that individuals who are promotion-ready have under their belts. This might be conscious, as part of a career coaching programme – but sometimes it isn’t. There are several factors that come together that make them prepared for the next steps, even if there is an element of risk.

#1 Know yourself

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle

People who have self-insight, understand their strengths and weaknesses and show greater confidence. They are usually more open to feedback and willing to delegate. Because their self-work is already done, they spend less time worrying about themselves, what other people think and can focus on others. They will be more empathetic and adept at reading people and situations. Anyone showing self-awareness is open to opportunity and willing to step out of their comfort zones. They have a strategy and a plan to take those next steps. Their managers know they are ambitious.

Self-awareness is a critical career management tool.

#2 Set goals

With self -insight you are now in a better place to set clear goals to give you direction and purpose. You will do your homework and understand the expectations and requirements of the role you are targeting. Check out the job descriptions and speak to current job holders’ positions to gain insights into the skills, experience, and responsibilities involved.

#3 Carry out a skill audit

Get a good understanding of how you meet the required skills in your target role to establish if you need to create a personal development plan to fill any knowledge gaps you may have to get that promotion. Take proactive steps to acquire the necessary skills through training programs, workshops, online courses, or seeking mentorship. Consider both technical and soft skills relevant to the new role.


promotion ready

# 4 Seek feedback

Actively seek feedback from your superiors, colleagues, and subordinates to understand your strengths and areas for improvement. Use this feedback constructively to enhance your performance and demonstrate your commitment to growth.

Self-aware, confident, humble, and independent thinkers are open to input. They are good listeners and because they are solid in themselves they are open to unsolicited feedback, even if it’s negative. They don’t take it personally. Generally, they anticipate and would ask for comments in advance. Women are normally considered to be strong on this type of inclusive approach. This makes them good team players.  Good team players, who combine those other attributes, get groomed for promotion:

Read 10 characteristics of a good team player.

#4 Strengthen relationships

Look at your organisation chart can you identify anyone who you could go to for advice (mentors) and who will advocate for you (sponsors.)  Strengthen relationships with your colleagues, superiors, and other people of influence within the organisation. Networking can provide valuable support, mentorship, and advocacy when it comes to promotion opportunities.

# 5 Raise your visibility

Put your hand up and volunteer for high-visibility projects that will bring you into contact with future decision-makers. Show initiative, be proactive, and seek opportunities to contribute to the organisation’s success.

Worth a read: LinkedIn + Sunshine = Shining Career: How to Raise Your Visibility This Summer! 

# 6 Keep a success log

Now is a good time to update all your documentation and keep a note of all your key achievements so you have those to hand.  This will be a record of your accomplishments, successful projects, and any positive outcomes you have been part of. You can refer to this log during performance reviews and promotion discussions, as it provides tangible evidence of your capabilities.

# 6 Share your ambitions

Make sure your boss understands your ambitions, plus other key players in the organisation including the HR department.  You also need to share your ambitions with your partner and family if you have so they are fully onboard with your goals. Teenage kids and spouses can derail promotion prospects involving a move as much as any boss.

#7 Hone your Leadership Skills

Promotions frequently involve supervisory or people management responsibilities. Demonstrate your ability to lead and inspire others by taking on leadership roles in team projects, mentoring junior colleagues, or participating in leadership training programmes. Leadership skills are highly valued for promotions into managerial or supervisory positions.  If this isn’t your ideal route look for opportunities where you can become a functional specialist.

Career Coaching and Executive and Leadership Coaching

#8 Banish Self-doubt

The enemy of creativity is self-doubt”  said Sylvia Path; Eliminating self-doubt, showing confidence, creativity and independent thought will reduce the need for control and supervision. Self-doubt is a talent and promotion killer because it keeps you in your comfort zone. When your managers are confident in your ability, they will trust you and your decisions. People who don’t require close management, tend to be promotion-ready sooner. It means they are reliable in terms of judgement and process.


#9 Create solutions

“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions”  Tony Robbins

Some believe that the minute you have a backup plan you are setting yourself up for failure. Having multiple options to consider means that you are covering all your bases, not necessarily that you are not pursuing your primary goals. Anyone with the necessary strategic analytical skills who show far-reaching show vision, are usually a good candidate for promotion. This means being visible to your senior managers.

#10 Stay humble

The poet Tennyson wrote that “true humility” is, “the highest virtue, the mother of them all.”

We all know that arrogance and ego can, and does, lead to promotions.  But as a general rule the arrogant eventually trip up. Usually all by themselves.  Being humble is in no way related to being subservient, but is a leadership attribute. Humble leaders are more highly respected and therefore more effective. Being able to craft success stories without bragging, is a skill.


Remember that promotions are not solely dependent on your efforts. Organisational factors and the availability of positions also play a role. Be patient and persistent, and continue to develop your skills and demonstrate your value within the company.


So make sure you are promotion-ready by joining our programme


eLearning PLUS 1:1 Coaching – 10 Steps to get Promotion Ready





Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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