12 Signs Your Boss Wants to Promote You

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Why did you ask for a promotion_

There are only a few people in this world that are content with remaining in one position. The vast majority have accepted their innate evolutionary instinct to compete with each other and themselves and come out on top.

This is why you are most probably not happy that you have been in the same position at work for some time and so might be looking to move on to greener pastures especially when you know that you have and keep putting in work that merits a promotion.

You feel that at the very least, your employers should give you some signs to show that they will promote you eventually so that you can have something to look forward to. The truth is, they might have already started giving you signs that you are being groomed for promotion and you just don’t know it.

This is why this article will explore some of those signs so that you can spot them if and when your company starts showing them.

Before that however, we believe that it is important that you know some of the things that you need to do in order to qualify for a promotion at work. That way you can be certain that the reason you are not being promoted – if such is the case – is not from you.

Check out our related article on signs your boss either wants you to stay or leave.

10 Ways to get promoted

1. Come up with solutions.

Managers understand that problems arise at work. It’s part of the trade. It is also expected that the managers are the ones that should come up with ways of fixing these problems and that employees should go to them to alert them of said problems.

Research has shown however, that managers prefer that employees who approach them with problems should also have some form of a solution to proffer. This shows that they are management material because as we said, problem solving is what is expected of managers.

2. Understand your job

Employers prefer a person who does their job and does it well. This is why it is important that you understand your job description and what it is you are supposed to do in the company.

Once you understand your job and act on this understanding, you will be a much more effective employee who will be able to draw the attention of your employers to your work.

3. Be a team player

Work these days is all about teamwork. Gone are the days when workers were expected to act alone and bring out results alone. It is now a general consensus that work is more effective if people pool their resources together in a team and bring out the most efficient solutions.

This is why most job assessment tests try to find out how well an applicant can work in a team. 

Employers say that when they spot an employee who is capable of working well in a team, contributing as they should and showing initiative in that team, they are more likely to promote them.

4. Socialize

Like it or not, people who are more social are more likely to be promoted quickly. People who are able to relate well with others strike at the human factor and this is very important in building business relationships both within the company and outside.

Chances are that when you are promoted, you will have to represent the company outside and for this to happen, you need to have great interpersonal skills. This is why employers prefer to promote those who can relate well with others and will generally monitor their employees to see who is capable of doing this.

One place they do a lot of monitoring is at office parties. It is therefore very important that you not only attend every office party that you can, but that you also talk to people whilst you are there. It is also a great way to build connections within the company, connections that could get you promoted.

Check out things to do with coworkers outside work for more ways to socialize.

5. Don’t let the stress ruin your cheer

Mood is very important in a workplace. When people are down, they tend to be less motivated to work which leads to lower productivity which means that the company suffers. Employers don’t want that. They want you to be so pumped that you keep up your productivity and keep moving the company forward.

This is why it is important that regardless of what you are going through, regardless of the stress keeping you down, you try as much as possible to be more cheerful at work. It will motivate others and keep you productive.

If the stress becomes unmanageable however, we recommend that you see the HR department and express your concerns. If you need a break, take it.

Tips on how to make yourself feel better when sad.

6. Avoid Drama

Few people would hire a person who has a lot of negative stories following them and even less would promote them. It reflects badly on the company and distracts the person from working hard.

This is why it is important that you avoid drama as much as you can, especially in the workplace. Avoid open displays of anger as best you can and try to avoid being in other people’s business. Employers will notice this and it will be one of the things they consider when deciding whether to promote you or not.

7. Constructively Criticize

The whole purpose of hiring multiple employees and putting them in teams is to get the best out of all of them. This means that if a colleague suggests or does something that might not work out well, you tell them where they went wrong and how to fix it but don’t be arrogant about it.

Some research has shown that bosses actually want their subordinates to constructively criticize them. Of course this is easier said than done and if you must do it, choose your words carefully and approach them in private. You might find that they would be so appreciative of it that they would consider you for more responsibility.

8. Offer help

Some people are perfectly fine with seeing their colleagues suffer under a heavy workload or tasks that they do not understand. That should not be you. So long as helping out a colleague won’t interfere with your work, you should offer your help often.

Like we said, teamwork is important and if your employers see that you are such a team oriented player that you are going out of your way to help your colleagues, this is a tick in a couple of boxes relating to a promotion.

9. Be productive

As much as all of the above are important, being productive is arguably the most important. When it comes down to work, it is a numbers game. There is a significant weight assigned to how hard you work and what results you bring in.

You shouldn’t only strive to work hard, however, you should also strive to work smart. Working smart means prioritizing the more important work and getting it done first so that it can bring in more results whilst you finish off the little things.

10. Be open to learning

You can’t very well be productive at work if you don’t know the tricks to do so. You need to open your mind to learning, especially from your bosses.

An equally important thing is to show your bosses that you are willing to learn. Listen when they talk and ask questions. Write down what they say in a notebook and make sure they see you doing it. When you then act on these things that your bosses said, they will remember that you took notes and would be impressed by your willingness to learn.

Check out a related article on how to get your coworkers to like you.

12 Signs you are to be promoted

When you are sure that you do most of the things above, a promotion might be coming and here are signs that you can look out for to confirm this.

1. More feedback is coming your way

If your boss has been giving you more attention and giving you more feedback on what you did than usual, you shouldn’t feel like you are under the spotlight because it might just be a sign that you are being considered for a promotion.

Think of it as an unofficial training. They are trying to make you more prepared for a higher role so that you are ready and able to give your best when you are promoted.

2. You have newer and upper level roles

This one is a bit of a more obvious sign that you are being groomed for promotion at work. If you are being assigned to roles that are normally reserved for someone above your pay grade, this is a very strong indication that you are about to be someone that is above your current pay grade.

So keep up the good work and smash the tasks being given to you so that that promotion can come fast.

3. Your immediate boss or their boss is leaving the company

While this is more of an opportunity than a sign, it can still signal that you are getting a promotion. If your immediate boss is leaving the company, someone would be needed to fill up the position that they leave behind. The same goes for if your boss’s boss is leaving and your boss gets promoted.

If this is the case, employ more of the tips listed above so that you can be a worthy candidate to replace your boss when they leave.

4. More work is being given to you

Instead of being given roles that are reserved for positions above you, you may just start to be given more work in general.

A manager’s work tends to be like that. They are the glue that holds their department together so they might be preparing you for a promotion to a position that would require you to do more work than you currently do.

5. You are being asked about your future plans

If your bosses or people in positions above them begin to ask you what your future plans and ambitions are, this might mean that they are considering offering you a higher position in the company so that you stay.

If your bosses or people in positions above them begin

This is especially true when they hint at how you would be more comfortable if you considered staying in the company. It is their way of saying that they are planning to offer you something better that would be worth your while if you stayed.

6. You are now being involved in interdepartmental or management meetings

Depending on your current position in the company, there may be meetings that you are not privy to attending.

If that changes and you begin to attend meetings with people with higher positions than yours or meetings with other departments, it is a strong indicator that you are to be promoted because it means that they are preparing you for these meetings ahead of time.

7. You are working on higher level projects

There are some projects that a company only reserves for employees of a certain grade. For instance, managing the account of a high net worth client in an investment firm.

Should you get such a role yet you know that it is not traditionally given to someone of your position, you might be in the process of getting a promotion to a position that handles such projects.

8. You are presenting the company more externally

One of the roles of a manager, according to Henry Mintzberg, is to act as a liaison for the company. They represent the company externally and negotiate with the company’s stakeholders.

If you notice that you are being sent out more and more to meet with the company’s external stakeholders like suppliers, competitors and even regulatory agencies, it’s a good sign that your company wants to promote you.

9. Your company is expanding

Much like your boss leaving, this is more of an opportunity than a sign. Companies expand all the time and they will need people to fill in new positions, and some of these will be higher than the one you currently have.

You should therefore take the initiative to show that you can be one of the people that can fill up new or empty roles so that the company considers you for a promotion.

10. Your performance reviews are stellar

As we said before, the numbers are very important. Companies review the performance of their workers regularly so that they know who to remove or where the person needs improvement.

If you find that your performance reviews have been very good, your bosses would have noticed and this is the kind of thing that gets a person promoted so if you keep it up, you might be getting a better salary soon.

11. You are given a mentorship role over a junior employee

You get to a certain position in a company where you have subordinates that answer to you or who you are to mentor. If you never had this before but are suddenly put in such a situation, a promotion might be coming as your bosses may be testing you to see if you are ready to handle more authority.

It also shows that they trust the kind of employee that you are and would like you to pass on whatever it is that they like about you, to another employee.

12. You are being given learning opportunities

In order to be good at any new position, you need to learn some new skills that would be beneficial to you in that position. This is why new employees need an orientation when they first join and why those moving to a new position are sometimes given some training first to prepare them for it.

This training can come in various forms and if you find yourself in one, for instance, you are being sent to conferences that try to teach participants new skills, skills needed for a job above your level, this is a good sign that you are about to be promoted.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. How do you know if your boss likes you?

If your boss likes you professionally for the work you do, they will:

  • Give you positive and constructive feedback on your work
  • Give you advice on how you can move ahead in your career
  • Give you more high level projects to embark on

If your boss likes you in a romantic way, they will:

  • Try to find out if you are single
  • Ask to hang out with you more than they need to
  • Flirt a little

Other ways to tell are included in how to get a male coworker to like you and how to attract a female coworker.

2. How do you know if your boss is playing you?

If your boss is playing you for a fool and trying to take advantage of you, here are some signs that you need to be wary of:

  • You seem to always be the one working overtime.
  • Your boss or others either take credit for your work or give it to others.
  • You are doing your job as well as that of someone who left the company without additional pay.
  • You have not been promoted in a while
  • You are doing tasks that your boss’s personal assistant is meant to do like fetching coffee.

3. How do you tell if your boss wants to promote you?

  • They are giving you higher roles and responsibilities.
  • They are giving you more feedback.
  • You are being asked about your future plans.
  • Your performance reviews are really good.
  • You are attending higher level meetings.


If you feel as though you have been seeing the signs above for a long while(18 months or more) and yet you have not received a promotion, the company might be manipulating you. In such a scenario you should seek advice from mentors and relevant friends (friends with experience) and then plot a way forward.

You might have to plead your case for a promotion yourself. Should you decide to go down this route, be sure to prepare a carefully crafted proposal as to why the company should promote you. Present this to your boss and/ or the HR department in accordance with company guidelines.

If after you have done this, there is still no promotion coming yet you and others know that you deserve to be promoted, then you should seek out opportunities elsewhere. If the company won’t appreciate you by promoting you, others just might.

Here are some other reasons to quit your job in addition to the above.





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