Getting a promotion is often made harder by a person's propensity to self-explode under the weight of their expectation when all that's needed is a few simple changes to their habits.
With that in mind, here are 10 simple habits that, in time, will likely secure that seemingly elusive job promotion.
1. Remain visible and alert at all times
If you questioned the word 'visible' then well done! You're off to a good start because staying alert in an office doesn't always mean you look it. For instance, you could be writing a brilliant piece of market research for your boss but if you're listening to music while being slumped in your chair your seemingly lackadaisical body language could suggest your heart isn't in the task.
If may sound petty, but if you're giving off the impression that you don't care (which negative body language often does), or that you'd rather focus on your own tasks as opposed to being on hand if someone else needs help, your boss may not see you as a team-player or someone they can rely on for more stress-inducing tasks.
2. Make sure you can be counted on
Unless you have the luxury of working at home or being employed in a 24-hour office, it goes without saying that arriving on time is a must. After all, punctuality is a precursor for success, and it's little wonder some of the most famous minds adhere to a strict morning routine.
Better yet, go beyond required deadlines and starting and finishing times. Let your boss know you don't mind dedicating a couple of hours a week to working on a project you believe requires more focus or inform co-workers of your availability if any help needs doing for one of their assignments. It's that simple. Just don't make grand gestures then not follow through on them because you forgot your favorite Netflix show recently released all 12 episodes on a wet and windy Monday.
3. Remain level-headed and professional at all times
Working environments can sometimes be besieged with unpleasant scenarios, but it's important for the sake of your career to stay level-headed and professional at all times.
That could even mean biting your tongue when someone higher in rank criticizes your work. Often, the workers who receive endless promotions aren't necessarily the brightest. They're simply the best at dealing with a range of people and events in an appropriate manner.
4. Don't get involved in drama
Office politics is never pretty and is the bane of most people's existence. For others, however, workplace politics present ample gossiping opportunities with the chief perpetrators looking to rustle people's feathers, so it's better to exclude yourself from such practices and focus on what matters most: The company.
Inevitably, you might even be dragged into a heated discussion or asked to give your opinion on a worker or situation. If that happens, and if you want a promotion, it's better to remain neutral and simply say you don't have an opinion on it. That way, you can't be held accountable for any rumors or disturbances that ensue.
5. Look the part
If your job adheres to a dress code, then you can always go the extra mile and make sure your uniform is ironed to within an inch of its life, and your hair is looking its best. It may sound unnecessary, but workers notice these things, and unkempt appearances can be a big turn off in all realms of life (unless you're an uber-cool artist).
For those with the luxury of not being told what to wear, it's tempting to wear what feels most comfortable, which often results in a baggy pair of jeans and a hoody worn every day, yet your boss will take notice if you arrive at the office looking more kempt. It's slightly vain, but looking good often translates into a better mindset, and thus more productive bouts of work.
6. Offer advice to those in higher positions
When you're starting out in a new job, it can feel daunting just asking for directions to the workplace cafeteria let alone offering your opinions to those of a higher position. With that said, keeping to yourself won't make you stand out, and while being brazen and overzealous is a no-no, it won't hurt your cause for promotion if you take the initiative to ask questions and even challenge them on certain areas of concern.
The worst thing that can happen is that they end up disagreeing with you and unless the company discourages innovation and growth, it's unlikely you'll be told off for offering your thoughts and opinions for the benefit of your employer.
7. Learn as much as you can about the position you want to be in
If you want to set yourself apart from the competition regarding the possibility of a promotion it's advisable you learn as much about the coveted position as you can. More often than not we want a promotion at work without knowing about what the role entails so get acquainted with the role and even offer suggestions to those already working in that role.
And who knows? When they get promoted or decide to leave, they may very well recommend you to the manager for the sage counsel you displayed in a role which didn't require you to know as much as you demonstrated.
8. Always be polite
There's a big misconception in the world of business that you have to be ruthless to be rich which is nothing more than age-old nonsense fuelled by glossy finance films like Oliver Stone's Wall Street.
You should never be a pushover, but if you juggle your desire to move forward with a moral set of values, which can be as simple as remembering to smile at your colleagues and say please and thank you, you'll find yourself gaining much more admiration and respect than you would otherwise.
9. Don't be afraid to ask for help or seek feedback
Perhaps owing to pride or embarrassment, many don't ask for help and advice in workplace settings which stifles one's ability to recognize and learn from the mistakes they are making.
In fact, those who excel most are usually those who don't think twice about asking their colleagues for advice. It's worth remembering that that's what workplaces are for, and if you don't utilize those around you, it's more than likely that your boss will see you as less of a team player and more as someone who is happier when left to their own devices.
10. Prepare for the unexpected
This point is arguably the most important point and applies to any role or position. Put simply, whatever plans you have, both in and outside the office, it's essential to remain flexible and open to things changing at the drop of a hat.
So if your boss is asking if you could stay an extra hour, you should be able to be adept and accustomed to saying yes without a second's thought to the session you booked with your personal trainer at the gym. You can always re-arrange such things, even if it means telling a friend or relative that you won't be able to make a certain date you had arranged weeks- or maybe months- in advance.
Just go with the flow and don't panic or feel overwhelmed with the workload. If you want a promotion, embrace it, and you'll soon find yourself higher up the pecking order when it comes to the company recruiting for that much-coveted position.