How to get promoted at work

Are you getting passed over for promotion? Learn how to fix it.

“How to get promoted at work?” This phrase has over 1,700 searches every month online. At Echelon Front, we regularly encounter people who are frustrated that they didn’t get promoted. Maybe they were passed over for promotion in favor of someone else. Often, they feel undervalued. They feel there is little recognition of effort. They feel as if their team, their boss—maybe the entirety of the company they work for—doesn’t recognize or appreciate their contributions.

The questions they search: “How to get a promotion at work?” “How to get a promotion at work?” Even, “How to get a promotion.” These online searches stem from deeper internal soul searching, like: “How do I get the people I work with to value and appreciate my contribution?” and “How do I increase their recognition of my efforts?”

The secret to “how to get a promotion at work”, to get the recognition you deserve, and to create an appreciation of effort in the eyes of your peers and your employer, is to realize that you don’t deserve recognition and or promotion. You have to earn a promotion.

Here’s How to Get Promoted at Work:

To Get Promoted at Work, You Must:


If you are demonstrating success in your specific tasks—hitting or exceeding your numbers, accomplishing your goals, making your boss look good—the team will appreciate you. Your ability to influence up the chain and your peers will increase dramatically. So, if you aren’t winning, stop complaining and start executing. That’s step one in understanding how to get promoted at work.


Stop thinking tactically about whether you got the immediate recognition of the effort you deserve. Start thinking strategically about how you can better support the team and improve your contribution to the overall mission. This is the first law of combat: Cover and Move. To understand Cover and Move is to recognize that it’s not about you, it’s about the mission. So put the mission first. And don’t seek recognition or worry about how to get promoted at work. When the team wins, everybody wins. Your efforts will be recognized. And the effort of someone who always puts the team and the mission first, and doesn’t seek recognition for themselves is powerful. People around you recognize it and become your advocates.


Leadership positions are hard. Take as much off your boss’s plate as you can. Give them credit. Make the boss look good. This isn’t brown-nosing. It’s building good relationships and leading up the chain of command. Good followership is a critical aspect of leadership. To be a good leader, you must also be a follower and that’s a surefire way to stand out as a candidate for promotion.


Just because you think you’re ready, doesn’t mean you’re actually ready for promotion. If you are promoted too soon, you may fail and set yourself back. Trust your leader’s evaluation. And trust in the Lord’s timing for opportunities that might open up. Many times, we have seen people who were passed over and didn’t get the immediate promotion they sought, only to have a much greater opportunity open up just a few months down the road. Think long-term, keep performing well, put the team and the mission first, and the opportunities will come.


Negative feedback bruises the ego. If you are passed over for promotion, told you aren’t ready to step up to greater responsibility, or see someone else you feel is less capable or qualified promoted ahead of you, a common response is to let your ego flare-up. Don’t let that happen. If you react negatively, denigrate your chain of command, or slander the person who received the promotion you wanted, you are only confirming that you weren’t the right fit for the job or weren’t yet ready. Don’t do that. Instead, support your chain of command. Support the person who received the promotion you wanted. It never helps you to form antagonistic relationships with other people. Don’t burn those bridges. Think strategically—think long-term. Even if you ultimately decide that it may be time to move on to a different company, you still need references and recommendations for your next employer. Remember that the world is a small place. It may feel good to burn bridges in the immediate when you feel you’ve been wronged. But it is shortsighted. We’ve seen multiple cases where someone leaves a company on bad terms, but then months or years down the road, they are once again forced to work alongside their former employer through a business deal, merger, or acquisition. Maintaining strong relationships is key to future success, even at a different company. When you are seen as a team player who puts the mission before yourself, that only helps you in the long run.

Now You Know How to Get Promoted at Work

Knowledge means nothing if you don’t implement it. Just because you understand how to get promoted at work doesn’t mean it will come. You have to do the work. Consistent daily discipline is the path to victory. Extreme Ownership is the guide down that path. If you find yourself reading this article, you are not alone. At Echelon Front, we’ve helped thousands of men and women just like you. If you’re tired of struggling with feelings of inadequacy, and frustration at work, or searching for answers to questions like, “How to get promoted at work,” then you are at the right place. The key to progress is action. Here’s what I want you to do now: Click this link and visit Extreme Ownership Academy, our online resource for leadership development for people just like you.

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