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If you’re wondering how to get a promotion, it’s important to consider how your workplace behaviours are impacting your prospects. Here are some examples of attitudes and behaviours to avoid and adopt.

how to get a promotion

Many people completely underestimate the effect their attitude and behaviours have on their reputation in the workplace. Sometimes we mightn’t be aware of how our behaviours are perceived!

Reputation is crucial when applying for a job promotion, especially within the organisation you’re currently employed.

If your work ethic, attitude, or behaviour is viewed as negative, your colleagues and manager will notice this! Your reputation will proceed you. This can greatly impact your prospects for a promotion.

This post is about how to get a promotion and the workplace behaviours to avoid.

1. The comparison trap

In a world of regular performance reviews, KPIs, targets, performance bonuses and the like, it’s natural we become hypersensitive to how our work stacks up against others’.

Comparing your colleagues’ work quality, performance or behaviour with your own, especially if the organisation you work for has a competitive culture, is a very easy trap to fall into!

Many client’s I’ve spoken to have been in the situation where a colleague has won a promotion they had also applied for. This often gives rise to feelings of jealousy, anger and resentment towards the successful employee.

These types of comparisons and resulting resentment can be detrimental to workplace reputation, wellbeing and culture, and you can guarantee these attitudes are noticed by managers!

Don’t risk your workplace reputation, and potentially a promotion, by falling into this trap. I encourage you to reframe your thinking and focus on what else you can offer to your organisation.

2. Not sharing knowledge

I’ve come across many instances in the workplace of staff keeping important knowledge to themselves to maintain a competitive edge over other employees.

This type of behaviour usually occurs because:

  • the employee doesn’t want to be ‘found out’ they can do something and risk receiving more or undesirable work
  • the employee enjoys being the only expert or thought leader on a particular matter
  • there’s a perception of scarce promotion opportunities or bonuses, and the employee doesn’t want to risk ‘losing out’ to another employees
  • the employee prefers to work autonomously and doesn’t wish to collaborate with others

When you share your knowledge with others in the workplace, you will receive so many more benefits than keeping the information to yourself. You:

  • become a mentor
  • can add ‘training staff’ to your resume
  • can develop your leadership skills
  • contribute to the uplift of the overall capability of your organisation
  • are still seen as the expert or thought leader
  • expertise is more widely known which will expand your networks
  • actively contribute to the positive culture of the organisation

These factors are the hallmark of a high-performing employee. If you are looking for a promotion, this will definitely give you a competitive edge!

3. Avoiding work or doing as little as possible

Ok, I totally get it. In every job there are one or two tasks that nobody wants to do.

It can be tempting to avoid boring, repetitive, unengaging or difficult work. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been guilty of procrastination.

But if you avoid certain types of work, even though it’s in your job description, it’s likely to catch up with you. In fact, it’s a key reason many employees are performance managed.

Don’t let procrastination or apathy be the reason your career is held back. There are certain strategies you can use to motivate yourself when you need to complete tasks you’re not keen on:

  • Chose the right time of day when your motivation is high.
  • Listen to some music, podcast or movie while you’re working.
  • Set yourself a timer and see how fast you can complete it. Try to beat your previous time.
  • Try to turn the task into a social one where you can use teamwork to complete it.
  • Investigate software or a process to fully or partially automate the task.

If you become the employee a manager a can rely on to do undesirable work, this will have a huge positive impact on your workplace reputation which can only increase your chances of a promotion.

If you can find a way to automate a task that can be duplicated to others and increase organisational productivity, this is a significant achievement and excellent for a resume 😉

4. Negative or destructive behaviour

Ok, I really hope you aren’t knowingly instigating or engaging with negative or destructive behaviour in the workplace! If you are, please consider the detrimental effect it’s having on your colleagues, organisational culture and your workplace reputation.

Negative or destructive workplace behaviour can involve bullying, harassment, gaslighting, gossiping, undermining others, intentionally disrupting others, offensive humour or language and so on. Sometimes we engage in negative or destructive behaviour in the workplace, but we may not be aware of it.

Negative or destructive behaviour can sometimes be ingrained in the organisation’s culture and be a regular part of daily interactions.

If you’re engaging with, or notice, this type of behaviour, speak with your manager in the first instance. If you are finding it difficult to cope at work, reach out to your manager, Employee Assistance Program or have a chat to your GP.

5. Poor attendance and tardiness

If you’re consistently late or not attending work at all, this will be observed by your manager and is a pretty big red flag you are disengaged with your work (excluding medical and caring reasons of course!).

If you’re exhibiting attendance issues or tardiness, then it’s likely your manager will assume you’re not interested in a promotion due to disengagement or perhaps apathy. This is another reason many employees are performance managed.

Realistically, attendance issues are more complex than this.

If this is true for you, again, I encourage you to reach out to your manager, Employee Assistance Program or have a chat to your GP about the reasons why you don’t want to be at work and some strategies for resolving any underlying issues.

6. Resisting change How to get a promotion

Ah, this ol’ chestnut.

If you’ve been in a diverse workforce for several years, it’s likely you’ve observed at least one employee who resists change.

You know the person I’m talking about. The employee who whinges terribly when there’s a Microsoft Suite update and the menu buttons have changed or when a process has changed and there’s yet another new form to fill out.

As frustrating as those changes may be, being adaptable is one of the most important attributes an employee can have. I challenge you to find a manager or business owner who doesn’t want adaptable employees!

The reality is the change is constant, in and out of the workplace. Embracing change with patience and acceptance is key to not only the longevity of your career, but demonstrating your transferable skills such as flexibility, problem-solving and digital literacy.

7. Sense of entitlement to a job promotion

Believing you’re entitled to a job promotion without taking any meaningful action is not going to make your promotion happen, no matter how long you’ve worked for an organisation.

Note: simply applying for a promotion is not meaningful action! job promotion congratulations.

Decades ago, ‘time in role’ used to be a key aspect of career progression and often led to a promotion. This worked on the basis of rewarding loyalty to an organisation and an expectation of ‘paying your dues’.

To gain a promotion now, it’s essential to demonstrate to your manager you have the skills and knowledge to perform at the level of your ideal job. As a standalone factor, ‘time in role’ will not usually achieve this.

For a comprehensive list of effective strategies on how to get a promotion, check out: 8 Essential Actions You Must Take To Get The Job Promotion You Deserve

8. Waiting for your manager to realise your potential

If you’ve been working super hard and producing great results, it’s likely your manager has noticed this, however it won’t necessarily translate into a promotion.

Unfortunately, good work doesn’t sell itself. how to get a promotion at work.

Similar to the points above, promotions aren’t necessarily given to employees as a reward for years of consistently producing good work results and waiting to be noticed or rewarded.

It’s essential that you actively implement additional strategies to stand out from the rest of the competition.

If you need more strategies on how to get a promotion, check out: 8 Essential Actions You Must Take To Get The Job Promotion You Deserve 

9. Focusing too much on upskilling and nothing else

It can be tempting to assume the more highly qualified or skilled you are, the higher likelihood of a job promotion or job-hunting success.

Truth bomb – for many industries, this isn’t the case. job promotion quotes.

If you are focusing on upskilling to gain a promotion, this is great! To advance your career means you must advance your skills and knowledge, but don’t let it be the only thing you do.

There are so many more elements which make up a high-performing employee than job-specific knowledge.

For more ideas on strategies to get a job promotion (yep it’s that link again!), check out: 8 Essential Actions You Must Take To Get The Job Promotion You Deserve  


Don’t let undesirable behaviours influence your prospects for a job promotion.

The key is to focus on meaningful and effective strategies you can implement to increase your potential for a promotion.

If you’re in doubt as to how your attitude and behaviours are viewed at work, ask your manager at your next performance review meeting. Have an honest and constructive conversation about your career goals and how your attitude and behaviour can support your goals.

This post was about how to get a promotion and the workplace behaviours to avoid.

Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward

Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward

Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.

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Hi there, I'm Danielle! I've got a combined 15 years of experience in the career development and human resource industries. I'm passionate about helping people live empowered, purposeful and fulfilled lives through engaging in meaningful work. Calibrated Career provides innovative and affordable self-guided career exploration tools and resources to facilitate your career development and empower you to achieve your career goals.

Help others with their career development!