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No Promotion? Questions You Should Ask to Get One

No Promotion? Questions You Should Ask to Get One
Credit: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock

While employees might think they're doing what it takes to get a promotion, many of them are having trouble seeing their hard work bear fruit, new research finds.

Employees believe that to earn a promotion it's critical to perform at a high level, have a strong work ethic, show leadership skills and take on added responsibility, according to a study from the Jack Welch Management Institute. Even though they think they're doing all of this, nearly one-third of employees say they've been passed over for a promotion they felt they deserved.

“Although today's professionals can identify what they need to do to earn a promotion, they don’t have enough information about how to do it," Andrea Backman, dean of the Jack Welch Management Institute, said in a statement. "This missing link creates a huge opportunity for those employees who commit to their career with energy, intellectual curiosity and a drive to succeed versus those who do not." [Want a Promotion? Change Your Name ]

Workers who haven't gotten the promotion they were aiming for need to take time to both self-reflect on their job expectations and delivery and have candid conversations with those they work for and with about their performance and the skills needed to move up the ladder, Backman said. Among the questions she encourages employees to ask themselves, their bosses and co-workers include:

  • Where have I underdelivered and overdelivered on my job recently?
  • Have I expanded my assigned responsibilities beyond what was expected of me?
  • What agenda do I own, and how does my agenda contribute to the organization’s larger goals?
  • Do I look for ways to assist and grow my colleagues or team, and how?
  • Are there things I can do to work better, smarter or faster?
  • How am I demonstrating the breadth and depth of my business knowledge to my organization?
  • What skills am I lacking and what short- and long-term steps can I take to develop them?
  • Am I hungry to learn more about everything to ensure I stay out in front of what is happening in my business, my industry, my country, the world?
  • Am I growing every day as an individual and as an employee

After getting these questions answered, employees need to use the information to create and execute a plan of action, according to Backman.

“If you don’t approach your career with energy, guts, determination and urgency, then a promotion is not likely in your future," she said.

Even those who haven't been passed over for a promotion may still find value from this type of career assessment.

"Everyone can benefit from identifying areas of improvement and pursuing feedback and solutions regularly," Backman said.

The study was based on surveys of 1,795 U.S. adults, including 1,198 respondents who work for a professional or corporate organization.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.