top of page

How to Get Ahead in the Workplace - Part I

Getting ahead in the workplace consists of many variables. Part I focuses on how you can be more visible to your leadership team by how you perform. Part II addresses understanding yourself, acknowledging accomplishments and 10 steps to building confidence in the workplace.

You have been working at the same company for a while. You have consistently met your targets and you receive positive feedback regularly.

You love the company, and you have been eyeing that higher position. With a promotion you will be rewarded with:

  • More responsibility

  • More money

  • Professional challenges

  • Greater job satisfaction

  • Respect

  • Recognition

It is common knowledge that those who work harder, work smarter, achieve their objectives; those who are team players and show leadership skills are more likely to be promoted. Simply doing your job won’t get you noticed. You need to go above and beyond.

Are YOU going above and beyond?

If you were your boss, what would you look for in a candidate to promote? What qualities, characteristics, attitude, and performance indicators would you look for? This isn’t about tenure. Your boss is looking for how one handles obstacles; how s/he treats others; is s/he a team player; does s/he consistently perform and excel?

Is that YOU?

Unless you are a salesperson, you probably roll your eyes at the mention of the word. Salespeople are cunning and cheesy. There is a negative connotation around sales and salespeople.

What you may not realize is that YOU USE SALES SKILLS EVERY DAY.

Negotiating with your child to do his homework before watching TV; persuading someone to date you; convincing your spouse that you are marriage material; convincing your wife that a golf-vacation trip will be nicer than spending two weeks with her parents; or getting your boss to agree to use your presentation over someone else’s. These are ALL sales tactics.

Furthermore, in order to succeed in the workplace, YOU MUST SELL YOURSELF AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY!

Before you got hired, did you submit a resume? Sales campaign.

Did you go through an interview process? Sales campaign.

The fact that you landed the job shows that you “closed the deal”.

Still think salespeople are cheesy? Well, look in the mirror. 😊

The promotion you are seeking may be desired by others as well. The company may be looking outward to fill the position. If you want this promotion, you need to sell yourself; you need to show them why YOU are the best person for the job. You need to sell yourself to gain promotion and progress.

You should be constantly demonstrating your ability to hold a higher standard than your colleagues.

You must be able to take on extra responsibilities and execute them flawlessly. Don’t wait to be asked to take on more…. GO OUT AND SEEK MORE RESPONSIBILITY!!

See every challenge and responsibility as an opportunity to sell yourself to your boss and to the company. Expose yourself as the person who has the aptitude and ability to take on new challenges.

In order to win that promotion (yes, it’s a contest), the decision-makers need to take into consideration your past actions and achievements; they will evaluate your past performance and consider the impact you will have in this new role. They will also consider what you are doing now to gain positive results in the future.

It is crucial to impress the right people. You always want to make your boss look good, which will make HIS boss look good, and so on and so forth.

Use each opportunity to impress the right people EVERY TIME.

One quality that companies always look for when evaluating a candidate for promotion is Innovation. What contributions and/or ideas have you introduced or recommended to improve working practices, profits and processes.

If you haven’t produced any ideas or suggestions to date, start right away.

  • How can your job be made more efficient?

  • How can processes be performed faster?

  • Better?

  • Cheaper?

Regardless of whether or not your ideas are implemented, your suggestions will show a commitment for improvement and will reflect a positive attitude. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Understand the issue at hand; investigate all of the relevant information and data, analyze your findings and then propose your recommendations.

Remember, it is no good just coming out with an idea if you haven’t got any evidence to back it up with.

Next, produce a professional looking document and offer to present your ideas to the management. Outline the cost benefits of this solution.

Plan out your presentation and rehearse it over and over again. Use a whiteboard. Prepare a PowerPoint ™ presentation.

Make it interesting and add a touch of humor! (Yes, this is where you roll your eyes because you just thought of salespeople.)

Here is your opportunity for you to sell yourself to the decision-makers. Your objective is to impress and leave a lasting impression via your successful presentation within a managers meeting.

If done correctly, you will have attracted the attention of the people and that is what counts at the end of the day.

Be confident, but not boastful. Be sure of your facts. Be prepared to answer questions. If you do not have the answer, assure them that you will get back to them. And then follow up within 24-hours. Accept feedback for what it is. Arrogance will get you nowhere.


Attitude and behavior are also important; the manner in which you communicate and how you interact with others is crucial to succeed in any area of your life.

It is popularly believed that people to whom we are speaking understand what we are saying by interpreting different elements in varying proportions. The way in which we communicate with people can be broken down into the following categories:


  • 7% of our message is interpreted from the words we use.


  • 38% is picked up from our voice – speed, tone, pitch, rhythm, etc.


  • 55% is what the other person sees – our body language.

Please keep this in mind when you are speaking to people, whether it is with one individual. or a large group of people. Watch a few TEDx Talks and observe what they are saying, how they are saying it and their body language. Then, at the end of the day, try to recall what you remember about the Talk.

The importance of a positive mental attitude was covered in an earlier Newsletter, and the same applies to the workplace.

People with positive attitudes are far more successful than those with a negative attitude.

Anger and resentment promote isolation and destroy personal motivation. The majority of people lose their jobs due to poor attitudes and/or behavior more than their incompetence. Who wants to be around negative people, constantly complaining?


Back to the salesman…. Salespeople excel at showmanship. They are not afraid to stand out in a crowd and be noticed.

Showmanship is an entertainment value that gives you a little “something extra” which distinguishes you from the rest. It does not mean you need to make a fool of yourself but may be as simple as adding a little humor to your presentation. Something memorable.

Laughter is memorable. You don’t need to be an “entertainer” to demonstrate showmanship. It can be how you dress, adding self-deprecation to your presentation, showcasing what could happen if the product doesn’t work (something funny, not serious), a deliberate “faux-pas”.

Anything to set yourself apart from the others. Showmanship demands creativity and a good sense of timing. Being favorably noticed is a winning move; it shows you are not afraid to put yourself out there; it shows that you have a sense of humor or are creative.

“If a storyteller cannot paint a picture of how he or she wants to improve themselves - how it can happen, why it should happen, and what might happen – it’s a boring monologue of ‘why I’m worth it’” – R. Jackson, VP Spandex Group

If you struggle with this, consider some of the following:

  • Aspects of yourself that you can joke about.

  • Situations at work where you have made a mistake and people still tease you about it.

  • A faux-pas created by your competitor(s) – companies, not people*.

  • A company faux-pas that resulted in a lesson-learned.

*Note: if you are going to make fun of a superior in your company during a presentation, clear it with him/her first. You never want to put someone else unexpectedly in the spotlight.

Embrace your inner Salesperson. S/He is in there!

If you want to discuss how to get ahead in the workplace, schedule time with me by clicking here to discuss what it is you want to achieve. Through the coaching process, we will work together to help you with the following:

1. Define your vision and direction

2. Review and reconstruct your plan

3. Evaluate your environments to ensure success

4. Assess your skillsets, and

5. Master your mindset

Dare to DREAM and let me help you make those dreams come true! Without question, the greatest opportunities ARE on the other side of change.

Visit, like and share my FB page @jsbcoaching and, if you haven’t already, sign up for notifications on blogs, newsletters and future webinars!

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page