Career Advice

How Your Coworkers Can Help You Score a Promotion

“Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You’re only as good as the people you work with and the people you work for,” Casey Kasem, renowned actor and radio host, once said. It may seem logical to keep to ourselves and try to outperform others in the race for a promotion. But our coworkers need not be seen as competition – in fact, they are one of our greatest assets.

There are multiple ways that we can rely on our coworkers to give us the boost we need towards career success. Here are some of the best ways we can utilize the talent, knowledge, and expertise of the people we work with, to help each other in a way that makes everyone win.

Honest Feedback

There’s no one who can give you a more accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses than the people who work next to you every day. While it may be difficult in particular to ask about your flaws on the job, ultimately it’s the criticism that will help you grow the most. Solicit feedback from a wide variety of coworkers in the company, so you can be sure that the feedback you’re getting isn’t clouded by one person’s subjective bias. “People often hesitate to ask others for help or advice because it requires admitting they don’t know something important. So instead they work in isolation, redoing something that their colleagues may have already done or making similar mistakes,” writes Christopher G. Myers, professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. By asking for honest feedback, you’re doing everyone a favor.  

Visibility Through Collaboration

It’s important to find the best people to team up with on projects, so that you can work on projects with eye-catching results, and learn from your high-performing coworkers along the way. At the same time, keep an eye out for projects where you can take the lead and show your coworkers (and management!) your leadership potential and drive. If you can prove yourself, your coworkers can serve as a potent reference in advocating for your leadership strength.

Leveling Up Your Skills

Surrounding yourself with coworkers who have expertise and good work habits can be one of the best ways to boost your skills, and make you a more attractive candidate for a promotion. In fact, a recent study by Cornerstone OnDemand, a cloud-based employee management company, showed that employees can be more productive just by sitting near a high-productivity employee. “The effects were driven by a combination of inspiration and/or peer pressure from sitting near high-performing workers,” wrote the authors of the study.

Advice From the Pros

And by pros, we mean those who have already been promoted. There’s no better source of advice on getting a promotion than someone who’s already done it themselves. While every situation is different, you may find a common roadmap among coworkers you speak with. Additionally, if you schedule a coffee chat to pick a coworker’s brain on promotion, you are implicitly sending a signal that you would like to be promoted, and your coworkers will take note.

Building Your Network

Your coworkers are your greatest asset in building a professional network. While you may not know everyone in the company, the network you have access to is larger than you think, if you just take advantage of the connections that your coworkers have. By meeting new people in the company, you increase your visibility, and also open yourself up for new opportunities to join projects or find mentorship. And of course – you can do the same for your coworkers, introducing them to the people you know. Mutual collaboration is key to mutual success.

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