28 Days of Encouragement: Being Promotable


Are you promotable? As a leader one of my pet peeves is employees not putting themselves in a position to be promoted. A job will open up and the people that apply haven’t done anything to obtain the skills or show leadership capabilities to be able to move up. They have the mindset that they will learn the skills required after they receive the promotion. I have a philosophy on this. Every employee in my department should be working a job level above their present position if they are to be considered for a promotion. Too many times we give people the promotion thinking that they will put forth the extra effort after the fact instead of requiring them to prepare themselves for the next step.

Qualities to look for in a promotable employee.

  • For me, attitude is the most important quality. I think it is best to find a humble person who can adapt to changing personalities in the department and the evolving scope of their job. I can’t stand hearing that it is not part of my job because it is our job to keep the department functioning smoothly.
  • I look for an employee who can accept constructive criticism. I am not talking about being critical of their every move but they should be open to criticism that improves a person’s performance.
  • Often times I lean toward employees that display servant based leadership. This leadership style is popular amongst church clergymen. It is based on the principles of Robert K. Greenleaf in his essay that was published in 1970. He believed that the main goal of a leader is to be a servant first. He stated that people are more productive when they have a common purpose and the leader values their service.
  • Lead by example. I have always told my employees that I wouldn’t ask them to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. If you work along side your employees, they will respect you more as a leader.
  • They should be able to work independently from the group. It is important for an employee to be able to work with limited input from upper management. Upper management should provide you with the resources and a middle manager should take them and run with it.
  • The employee should volunteer for more responsibility. If they are will to take on more responsibility without the job title then they should flourish when they do get the promotion.
  • The employee needs to have a mindset of constant self improvement. I am constantly looking for courses, webinars, and opportunities to learn a new skill. I might not need the skill now in my present position but it can be used down the road.
  • They must be willing to spread the knowledge. They shouldn’t be afraid to teach a fellow employee a skill that they don’t presently know. Too many times, employees are reluctant to share their knowledge for fear of another employee getting a promotion over them. If they are confident and a good leader, this should never be an issue.

This topic was laid on my heart by the actions of a couple of my employees. There is a position that is opening up that would be a promotion. I stated to them that they needed to set themselves apart from the crowd by taking the time to learn what will be required to be promotable. I conveyed to  them the skills that I was looking for and that they needed to acquire them even if they are not being paid to learn them. Last night I was sent a selfie of  the two employees sitting in an Excel class. I didn’t think that they were listening to me but that is step one toward being promotable.


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