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Lottie Sharland19 Dec 2018
  • Work Advice

5 Unexpected Mistakes That Are Stopping You Getting A Promotion

Do you feel like you’re constantly working hard but are always overlooked when it comes to pay rises and promotions? Are you always the last to leave the office and the one that helps everyone out but never get any credit for it? According to our latest research, you could actually be self-sabotaging your chances of moving up the career ladder while trying to make a good impression. Below, our clients reveal 5 crucial mistakes that employees make without even realising it.

You take your work too seriously While we would never suggest that you should slack off, ignore important tasks or start bad-mouthing your boss, it’s important to immerse yourself in the office environment and not be constantly tied to your desk. If you’re forever saying no to team lunches or don’t join in on the office chat because you’ve always got your head down over your desk, you’ll get a reputation for being unsociable and unable to work as part of a team.

Promotion tip – Even if you’re naturally shy and/or have a lot of work on try to park work at times and get involved in team banter and activities where you can. Don’t take your stress out on your colleagues, instead, if you’re feeling overwhelmed let people know and ask if anyone can help, this will demonstrate an ability to get on with people, juggle tasks and control your emotions - all important attributes as you move up the career ladder.

You never say no Don’t pick up other people’s slack. This is especially relevant for PAs, EAs and admin staff as people will often ask you to help out on tasks that aren’t your responsibility. While it’s good to be a team player be wary of taking on extra work you won’t get any recognition for and that may take time away from concentrating on your actual work.

Promotion tip - Be clear with your colleagues about where your responsibilities lie and ensure that your boss knows that their work always takes priority. This will make them feel like they can rely on you and know you’ll get their work done.

You’re always the last one in the office You should have a workload that is realistic to complete within your working day. They’ll always be times when you might have to work longer than your allotted hours but be wary about staying late too often. If you’re always the last one to leave the office it can look as though you can’t manage the workload, making those above you wary of giving you more responsibility.

Promotion tip – Prioritise. Which tasks need to be done now and which can wait until tomorrow? If your workload is continuously too much for you to manage then speak to your boss. Explain that you are trying to get everything done but you’re worried that you don’t have time to give each task the full attention it deserves. This demonstrates a responsible work ethic and an ability to face up to difficult situations.

You don’t delegate The higher you move up the career ladder, the more people you’ll have to manage. Trying to do everything yourself will only keep people asking you to do minor tasks.

Promotion tip - By delegating small tasks to relevant employers you’ll prove that you can effectively manage other people and can prioritise jobs, leaving you time to concentrate on the more important issues that need a more experienced eye. Many of the PAs we place will come back to us as clients further down the line, asking us to help them find a junior PA or team assistant to help them.

You don’t understand the business  Job roles are transferable across different industries, for example payroll, office support and marketing departments will be relevant regardless of what your company does, and you may have many of the same responsibilities, such as diary management and travel bookings, regardless of the industry you work in. However, lots of our clients stated that while their employees were fantastic at their role they were also blinkered, focussing on their own team’s success in their niche of the business while not considering if the way they’re doing things was in line with the wider values or aims of the company.

Promotion tip – To be promoted you need a holistic view of the business. Show your boss that you understand the company values; for example, if your company is trying to cut their carbon footprint think about ways to help with this when booking travel. Could you partner up with another PA and both your bosses share a car to a meeting? If you’re going to progress up the ranks you need to be acting with the companies best interests at heart, explain your reasoning for certain decisions to your boss and they should be impressed with your commitment to the company and knowledge of the industry.