Boss Lady

11 mistakes to avoid when you want a promotion


Asking for a promotion can be one of the most daunting things to do in our professional lives. Because we know we are putting ourselves at risk. It can be very rewarding if we get it, but it can be very disappointing and depressing if we never keep getting it. And… it is not easy to get a promotion, and the path towards one is littered with the potential to make mistakes that could prevent you reaching that goal.

Here are the 11 mistakes to avoid when you want a promotion:


  • You wait until the performance review to have a conversation about what you want in your career.

It is not effective to wait until the formal performance review to have a conversation about where your career is going, or ask to be promoted. Because then it will be too late, and by that time, all of the budgets and future plans have already happened.

Instead, you may want to have a more proactive conversation in advance of reviews, so that your manager can know months ahead that you are looking for promotion.


  • You assume that performing really well on your job means you deserve a pay increase or a promotion

This is a tough one. We need to accept the fact that it does not always mean something to anyone if we are outperforming our peers. If we want to start getting noticed by our co-workers, we also need to start operating outside of our job description.

We can do this by taking more initiative, solving other people’s problems, and inspiring people at our workplace in a way that adds value to their work.


  • Gossiping About Your Management, Company or Office Politics

Avoid engaging too often in office gossip as this may sabotage your career. It is best to keep our behavior professional at all times in the workplace. You are being watched all the time and it does not take long before gossip gets around.


  • Disagreeing with Your Boss in Public

You want to be careful how you project yourself in front of people at the office. Always support his decisions and have his back when in public. Don’t be a show-off or know-it-all, even when you know your boss makes a mistake.

You’ll be surprised how far respect can go. How you make your boss feel at the end of the day will play a big part in your promotion.


  • Saying You’ll Deliver on Something and Then Failing

Be sure you are able to deliver what you promise, always. If you say you will have something by tomorrow and you deliver the day after tomorrow, it really shows that you are not committed and people may think you are unreliable. Losing this credibility is a hard thing to recover from.


  • Asking for Too Much at Once

Many of us ask for a raise, promotion, privileges, and many more things – all at once. This will not only frustrate your manager, it will also give them the impression that you are a demanding worker.


  • Pretending to Know Things You Don’t

When your boss asks you something you have no clue about, the last thing you want to do is to make a guess. Be honest and say you don’t know, and then either add a qualified suggestion or volunteer to research the answer. It is never impressive to look like a fool when your guess turns out to be wrong.


  • Regularly Talking Behind Your Boss’s Back

This is a common one. Very few people like their boss and it is normal to disagree often. Although discussing issues and disagreements with them can be highly beneficial, discussing them with your colleagues is simply asking for trouble. It is best to always be direct and honest with your boss or simply don’t discuss them at all.


  • Being Full of Excuses

It is important that you accept your mistakes and make an actual attempt to learn and grow from them. If you keep coming up with excuses, it will show that you have no intention of learning from those mistakes.


  • Generally Being Irritating

Social skills are hugely important. Although you certainly don’t have to be a truly outgoing person to get ahead in your career, you do need to be able to hold a conversation without making it painful. This is crucial, as this works as an indicator of how good you make people feel around you or when talking to you.

You need to know how to make small talk and be interesting. This may sound unfair, but if your boss can’t stand talking to you, he is very unlikely to promote you.


  • Showing Zero Initiative

Finally, it pays to show initiative at a workplace. Of course, there will be many times where you need to ask your boss to get help. But if you get into the habit of asking for your boss’s assistance with every single thing, this can be irritating — and most likely you won’t get promoted any time soon.


About Loretta Suhero

Loretta Suhero is a young writer and postgraduate journalism student who is passionate about topics related to business tips, news, modern lifestyle, fashion, and entertainment. She has experience in marketing, fashion, event management, and community blogging. Connect with her at,, and

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