by Scott Tackett

In a recent discussion, a client of mine posed a very interesting question. It was one to which I had previously given little thought.

His question was, “We know an employee fires themselves, but how do they promote themselves?”

This question set me back on my heels and caused me to spend time contemplating a subject that is not often discussed.

In researching to find an answer for my client, I found several articles on how to promote yourself at work. Many of them gave suggestions on self-promoting to get ahead in the workplace — not really the type of answer that my client and I were looking for. Many of the articles seemed to suggest that an aggressive “look at what I’ve done” mentality is the best means of securing a promotion. Right alongside that was advice on being ready to voice your accomplishments, being nice to the boss, and the declaration that it’s acceptable if you need to be forceful to get ahead in today’s competitive world.

My many years in business assured me these were not ways to secure a desired promotion. It takes a combination of positive traits and behaviors to earn advancement in business.

As I reflected upon my own experiences in the workplace and those of others I’ve observed, I found common denominators that I believe will work for everyone who may be seeking a position above and beyond what they are currently doing.

In my professional opinion, the keys to workplace success and promotional opportunities can be found in striving to demonstrate the following actions, day in and day out.

  1. Be authentic. Say what you mean and mean what you say with every person you come in contact with, every single day.
  2. Be professional. Not only with your manager, but your co-workers, vendors, subcontractors, and clients. Think about everything from your dress to your language to your values. Lead by example.
  3. Be reliable. Be the person on which every individual in the company knows they can depend.
  4. Strive for continuous personal and professional growth. This shows your leaders that you are ready, willing, and able to perform at the next level. Seek out and find others who can help you through coaching and mentoring.
  5. Ask for feedback. Not just from your manager but feedback from everyone in the company. Listen and learn from their responses and make the necessary changes to ensure your success. Ask others what you could have done differently or how you could do better the next time.
  6. Help everyone in the organization. Always remember to treat people the way you want to be treated, not just those in your department or division.
  7. Be active; produce and execute. This means so much more than just going through the motions, or putting in your time. Be active in meetings, make positive contributions, and take on additional responsibilities without being asked or told.
  8. Don’t fan the fires of drama. Don’t engage in or allow gossiping, bullying, or degrading of your boss, other managers, or fellow employees. This behavior is unacceptable. It will not lead to people trusting and respecting you and will also not lead to promotional opportunities.
  9. Use the phrases “please” and “thank you” often and with sincerity. American poet Maya Angelou said it best when she stated, “People will forget what you said. People will even forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The above suggestions are but a few actions that will help you to secure or earn a promotion. They are not, by any means, an all-inclusive list. However, by committing to engage in these actions, you will most certainly ensure the recognition that will make you desirable for growth and promotional opportunities in the eyes of your company’s leadership.


Scott Tackett is a Business Development Advisor for Violand Management Associates (VMA), a highly-respected consulting company in the restoration and cleaning industries. He is considered the leading expert in restoration and cleaning for Human Resource Development and Organizational Leadership with over 30 years of experience. Through Violand, Tackett works with companies to develop their people and profits. To reach him, visit or call (800)360-3513.