Leadership: How to Position Yourself to Be Promoted

Jan 15, 2024

by Deanna Parkton

Often, when considering a new job opportunity or deciding whether we want to stay in our current position, we think about the opportunity for growth that the role or company provides. Whether it be opportunities to learn new skills, make more money or flex those leadership skills, it is only natural to look for ways to grow. 

Sometimes, growing in our role feels easier said than done. With companies often trying to do more with less, there may not be a clear promotion track for you to move into the next role. Telling your manager that you are looking to grow in your role is an important step, but it is just as important to position yourself to be promoted. By proving your worth in your current role, you are showing your initiative to do well, a clear indicator of a great leader. 

Of course, you want to be mindful about taking on too much. It can be taxing to take on a huge workload in order to prove yourself, and you certainly do not want to take on too much that you are not presenting your best self. The goal is to implement simple ways that you can showcase your leadership skills and position yourself for a promotion. 

  • Build relationships

By being seen as someone who is connected to others at the organization, you will be seen as a natural leader. A simple way to build relationships is to just start conversations! Whether it be in-person while crossing paths with someone, or by starting a chat conversation, you can build a rapport by explaining that you are looking to learn about others across the team or across the organization to have a better understanding of your own work. Ask others about their role and the challenges they face. By having an understanding of the work being done across teams, you are building leadership qualities that can serve your organization. 

For more ideas on building relationships at work, check out some of our previous blogs: 

How To Create Positive Visibility in Your Organization

Become a Master Collaborator

Small Talk is Bigger Than You Think

  • Be seen as a doer

Of course there are big ways to take initiative, such as leading projects and being the one to volunteer to help on an initiative, but consider the small actions day in and day out that are easy lifts. Simple initiative taking such as acknowledging action steps at the end of the meeting or being the one to schedule the follow up meeting can demonstrate your ability to get things done. Being the person that speaks up during a meeting to move the group from brainstorming to action planning can go a long way. Most people have opinions but not everyone takes action. 

  • Support your peers 

If a question comes up on a team chat or an email thread, speak up and share your perspective or insight. Sometimes it can feel tempting to wait for a manager to speak up rather than speaking up yourself. This can be due to a worry of stepping on toes or speaking out of line, but if it feels appropriate and the question is relevant to the team at-large, speak up! Most managers will be pleased that someone else shared an insight and helped contribute to a positive discussion, rather than having another task on their list to respond to. 

  • Support new hires 

Offer to meet with new hires as part of their onboarding period to help support your manager. Oftentimes, new hire training falls on the leadership team to coordinate and manage. By offering to be a part of it, even if it’s a simple “getting to know you” chat, you can contribute not only to the new hire’s success by sharing your insight and perspective, but you are helping the team at-large. Small things like this are direct signals to your manager that you care about the team’s success and want to contribute in a positive way  

  • See the big picture 

It is easy to get bogged down in our individual roles and feel like the management team does not understand everyone’s day to day. Similarly, leadership can feel like the employees do not understand the big picture challenges that they may be facing day to day. Relating to your manager or other leaders and the decisions they make can show an understanding of the complexities of managing others, or leading an organization. You can do this by asking thoughtful questions that relate to the business at large, or just showing an understanding of the difficult decisions that are made. For example, if your manager is explaining a new business need that they need “all hands on deck” for, you can ask questions such as “how might we add more structure and clear expectations so that the team can properly support this?” A question like this not only shows initiative but also shows an understanding that to do well, a team needs support and structure.


Positioning yourself for a leadership role can feel daunting but like with most things, small steps count. Every day is a new day to show up the way that you want. Before you know that, you will be seen as not only an invaluable team player, but a leader. 

For more ideas on how you can strategize your work, consider working with a career coach. A coach can help you identify strategies to face challenges head on. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.

Deanna Parkton is a writer, career coach and educator with a passion for professional development and work wellness and happiness. With a focus on self-reflection, she works with individuals in their quest to reach their career goals as well as satisfaction in work-life balance. You can find more of her writing at workinglivingwell.com and she can be reached at workinglivingwell@gmail.com.