Moving up the ranks: 5 simple steps you can take now to switch off your career autopilot, take charge of your growth and land a promotion at work

Instead of letting your career run on autopilot and waiting around for your boss to promote you, it's time you take responsibility for your own professional development.


A lot of us are prone to becoming passive when it comes to our professional lives. Instead of taking charge of our professional development, we are content with letting it run on autopilot. Alas, promotions do not come on a silver platter, unless you are well-connected. In order to land your next promotion and take full ownership of your career growth, here are 5 steps you can take now:

1. Understand the Role

Don't aim for a promotion just because it seems to be the only next step. You need to develop a thorough understanding of the responsibilities you will need to undertake in order to determine if a promotion is the right step for you. Therefore, take time to speak to a mentor, senior colleague, or your boss to determine if you are heading in the right direction. 

Also Read: 7 Reasons to say "NO!" to that Promotion

2. Quantify your Value

You may be a valuable employee to the organization but that doesn't mean anything unless the numbers speak. Keep track of your achievements and contributions by regularly setting aside time. Documenting these will not only show how far you have come in your current role but also justify you asking for a promotion / raise. 

3. Keep Your Manager in the Loop

Your all your hard work will go to waste if your stakeholders aren't aware of the effort you have put in and the results you have accomplished. Help them stay aware by regularly sharing updates on the milestones you have crossed, goals you have achieved and contributions you have made. 

4. Determine what it will take

Ask your manager what it will take for him/her to promote you. Don't settle for vague answers like "You need to show better results." Instead, ask him/her to specifically pinpoint areas where you need to demonstrate your potential better. You can set SMARTER goals in these areas to review with your manager at a point of time in the future. 

Also Read: How to Be Promoted to a Leadership Role (Even If You Don't Have the Experience!)

5. Follow Up Regularly

Don't wait for a whole year to broach the topic of your promotion again. Instead, set up review meetings every quarter to get feedback on your progress and understand if you are on the right path. Use the feedback to make necessary adjustments to your goals / metrics.

When it comes to your career, don't settle for the backseat. Grab the wheel with both hands and steer yourself towards greater success and fulfillment in your professional life. 

Questions for Reflection

Should asking for a promotion be dependent on how long you have spent in your current role or how much you have achieved?

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Chaitra K

With a background in Literature and Psychology, and an MBA in Human Resources Management, Chaitra is responsible for the design and production of NKoach’s courses, workshops and corporate training programs. Her mission is to help people discover their passion and become better versions of themselves.

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