5 Reasons Why You are Not Being Promoted

I came across Dan McCarthy’s blog recently. Dan is a practitioner in the field of leadership development for over 20 years and is currently the Manager of Leadership and Management Development at a Fortune “Great Place to Work”, “Training Top 125”, and “High Impact Learning” (HILO 80) company. He has a great blog on leadership that I would encourage you to subscribe to.

Dan wrote a great post Head’s Up – You are About to be Promoted or Fired where he shares why you might get promoted or fired. I think there’s also a third script: the status quo script. While you may not be fired for things you do (or don’t do), you may not get promoted either. Here’s what the script might be why you are not getting promoted:

Status Quo script:

I have some good news – you are keeping your job. Unfortunately we aren’t promoting you. Here’s why:

  1. You are not seen as a leader amongst your peers. You do your job well enough. However you don’t inspire others, either within your team or amongst your peers. People respect you for doing your job with the best intentions and spirit but don’t really look up to you for taking them to the next level.
  2. You don’t take initiatives. If there is a new opportunity, you don’t volunteer. You don’t seem to have new ideas. You usually wait to be assigned tasks and you are happy to do what is assigned to you, which you do well, no doubt. Perhaps you are content and satisfied with your current role.
  3. You are not adding value to your current role. For example, your role is not just to create and present the report, but also work towards improving what you are presenting.
  4. You are not visible. You don’t participate in company initiatives. You avoid official social gatherings. You don’t participate in cross functional teams. You shy away from taking credit for the good work you or your team does. You rarely share what you know, people don’t really see you as a node of reference.
  5. You resist change. If there is talk of changing process or tools, you resist it. Your first reaction to initiatives is that it can’t be done. It is too hard to convince you about the new ideas or changes and too much time needs to be spent with you to onboard you. People see you as an impediment to new ideas.

Picture by