By Lisa Quast
Special to the Seattle Times Jobs —
When you haven’t received the promotion you’ve been striving for, it’s time for a little introspection and self-analysis.

You’ve been working hard and thought that, by now, you’d have received that promotion you wanted. But it still hasn’t happened.

Instead of getting frustrated, now is the time for a little introspection and self-analysis. Here are five things that might be holding you back — and how to overcome each obstacle.


You’re doing average work. Doing so-so work won’t get you promoted. You’ll need to do outstanding work that will get you noticed by management. Look at the results you’re achieving in your current job and make sure you’re not just meeting – you’re exceeding – all your manager’s performance expectations.

You’re not managing up. Beyond doing outstanding work, you need to make sure your boss sees the contributions you’re making. If you currently aren’t providing regular progress updates to your manager to demonstrate the contributions you’re making to the organization, fix this situation fast!

You’re not ensuring adequate face time. Part of managing up is making sure you’re spending enough time working face-to-face with your manager and co-workers. Learn from and listen to those around you. Don’t forget to network informally through coffee chats and lunch discussions to build strong relationships and help colleagues get to know you as a trusted advisor.

You’re not being a team player. No one likes a person who is out for themselves. To be promoted, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re a trustworthy and likeable leader. Leaders are focused on the success of all, and they give credit where it’s due. They have can-do attitudes and are expert communicators and listeners. Become the person who inspires those around you to do great work by giving compliments, jumping in to help whenever needed and supporting colleagues in their career development journeys. In a nutshell, if you’re not a team player — become one!

You’re not asking for more responsibilities. Upper management rarely gives promotions to employees who don’t ask for additional responsibilities. Why? Because they’re looking for employees who consistently strive to go above and beyond what’s asked of them and who want to become leaders within the organization. Volunteer for projects or work assignments. Hone your strategic mind by training yourself to seek solutions when faced with problems, and by presenting solutions to your manager, not problems.

If you’ve been striving for a promotion but haven’t gotten it yet, take some time to consider what might be holding you back. Analyze your skills, communication style and your interactions with your boss and colleagues. Use the results of your personal reflection to improve your skills and adjust your behaviors, so you’ll be ready for that promotion.

Originally posted September 21, 2017 

Lisa Quast is a certified executive coach, and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach.