If you’d like to snag a promotion, wouldn’t it be nice to get into your boss’ head and find out exactly what it would take? We thought so. And while probably didn’t talk to your boss, we did speak to 13 bosses who were willing to dish on the surefire moves you can make to get a promotion this year. Read their advice here.
1. Consider what you shouldn’t do.
“I reward people who don’t do things: they don’t gossip, they don’t just do their job, they don’t show up late, they don’t become a mindless follower. If I don’t have an opening, I will find a way to promote [these kinds of] talented people.” — LaDonna Snow, president of Snowflake Designs
2. Think like the owner.
“A surefire way for a team member to earn a promotion is to think like an owner. Said a different way, someone who is able to anticipate a situation several steps ahead, someone who cares deeply about their colleagues and customers, who is responsive, judicious, and insatiably curious—qualities that are hard to teach. If you are someone who demonstrates these behaviors regularly, you are absolutely on the promotion path. If you’re not, find a company who will recognize and reward these invaluable traits.” —Amy Zimmerman, head of global people operations at Kabbage
3. Be a team player.
“As you progress in your career, you are more than likely going to be required to work with more people—and taking on a promotion almost always means more responsibility, which can often mean being responsible for other employees. A boss needs to know that you can work well as part of a team, so … be proactive in team meetings and discussions, and offer to assist other people in their tasks if they are finding it hard to stay on top of their workload.” — Steve Pritchard, managing director of It Works
4. Take on tasks—without being asked.
“The single easiest way to earn a promotion and get more responsibility is to prove that you can lead without authority. The very best way to do that is to volunteer to tackle assignments others don’t want, but that put you in a position to prove that without authority you can still get things done.” —Jerry Acuff, CEO of Delta Point
5. Don’t bring problems to your boss. Solve them instead.
“Employees are great at bringing a problem to your attention. What we rarely get, however, is a solution to that problem. So a great way to get promoted or to get a raise is to bring me a solution at the same time you are bringing me a problem. Think it through, put a plan of action down on paper … and then ask your boss for a meeting. I can’t tell you how rarely that happens but is so appreciated when it does.” —Danielle Kunkle, cofounder of Boomer Benefits
6. Hone your soft skills.
“Begin to focus on the soft skills you need to be a successful leader. [How?] First, gain self-awareness of your strengths and improvement opportunities. Then you can begin to truly harness your strengths and develop your blind spots. Things like showing empathy, having a strong presence, expressing gratitude, communicating effectively, and managing stress are all critical skills to develop [in order] to get promoted and to be an effective leader.” —Nicole Wood, CEO of Ama La Vida
7. Make your boss look good.
“Make your boss look good. Make your boss’ job easier. And be able to be 1,000 percent trustworthy, because you will be one less problem for your boss to deal with.” —Debra Benton, executive coach and author of The Leadership Mind Switch
8. Show off your work ethic.
“[Employees] who surpass expectations and extend their job descriptions in are the ones who get the most promotions. [So], if you want to earn a promotion and show off your work ethic, you should be making it a point to prove yourself each day that you’re on the job. Be naturally curious, ask questions, take notes, and bring new ideas to your meetings.” —Deborah Sweeney, CEO of My Corporation
9. Initiate your own employee review.
“Set up time with your boss and bring specific examples of times you’ve gone above and beyond or over-performed. Start the meeting by letting your manager know that you’d like to discuss your [job] and as a starting point, say you would like to walk him through some of your accomplishments over the last year.” —Megan Driscoll, founder of EvolveMKD
10. Show your passion.
“I just can’t help but promote an employee when I see passion—a contagious type of passion where I see the employee genuinely wants the company to succeed through his or her efforts. In my experience, people with this type of passion tend to give their 110 percent and bring more value than they are required to bring.” —Mack Dudayev, CEO of InsureChance Inc.
11. Be a leader.
“I’ve managed countless people in my career, but one trait that always makes me take notice of an employee, and ultimately help them move up the corporate ladder, is leadership. Some people believe it’s an intangible quality, but I disagree. I can see it in how an employee presents him or herself, how they speak, and how they behave. Take notice if someone who works for you gives credit to others rather than steals the spotlight for themselves, or if they spend time with a non-performing employee by helping them get up to speed—that’s an individual who is secure in their abilities coupled with compassion for the team.” —Bob Shoyhet, CFO of Melillo
12. Show how you’ve added value to the company, in numbers.
“I like to look at statistics as a way of measuring an employee’s potential. Ultimately, I want people to drive sales and revenue. Not all positions are directly involved with increasing revenue, but adding value to the company in some way is truly crucial. It is not only a way of gauging how successful an employee is in their field, but it helps me to see how driven they are.” —William Forshaw, CEO of Maxwell-Scott
13. Network like you mean it.
“Network with the right people. Get to know people who are in the position you desire, or in a position to hire. You can learn from them and at the same time know what is needed to be promoted into that position. Hanging out in a circle of people who are at the forefront of their careers makes you be seen as such a person too.” —Julia Ng, executive coach at Executive Coach International