How To Get a Promotion Without Even Asking, According to a Business Coach


Feeling undervalued and underpaid at work but don’t know how to move up from your current role? If you don’t feel ready to request a promotion and raise, there are ways you can potentially achieve both without asking.

Jennifer Messina is a business coach and psychologist based in New York, specializing in executive leadership, organizational transformation and employee professional actualization.

“The most common reason it can be difficult to ask directly for a promotion is that it’s simply awkward to discuss money with your boss,” she told Newsweek.

The downside of never having that discussion is that you may get passed over for a great opportunity or “fail to earn what your performance merits,” the business coach warned.

Those feeling unhappy in their current job are certainly not alone in the age of quiet quitting and rage applying.

Only around half (51 percent) of workers in the U.S. were reported to be either “extremely” or “very satisfied” with their job overall, according to a February 2023 survey by the Pew Research Center.

Around a third were reported to be either “extremely” or “very satisfied” with how much they are paid (34 percent) and their opportunities for promotion at work (33 percent), the survey found.

Five Ways to Get a Promotion and Raise Without Asking

Messina is the founder and co-CEO of FORTE and has advised athletes, celebrities, the U.S. military, Fortune 100 companies and finance leaders.

She noted that “every company’s promotion structure is different, so it is important for workers to be thoughtful about the best approach for their particular organization.”

The business coach said: “There is a vulnerability to asking for a promotion and many avoid doing so in order to shield themselves from that experience.”

Others may be crippled by a sense of self-doubt, often referred to as “imposter syndrome,” and the fear of getting a “no” can be “complex to navigate,” she added.

However, “humbly advocating for oneself is a sign of professional maturity and the surest path to the promotion and raise that has been earned,” the business coach noted.

Below are some ways you can bag a promotion and a raise without asking, according to Messina.

Have Regular Check-Ins With Your Manager

The business coach advised proactively establishing regular check-ins with your manager. “Use these meetings to get some clarity, including understanding the needs of the business and your own areas of strength and opportunities for growth.”

These check-ins can also be a great way to showcase your work and achievements on an ongoing basis, so that “your manager is already well aware of your achievements when it comes time for annual reviews,” she noted.

Establish Clear Growth Goals

Discuss clear goals with your manager and the human resources department.

If you’re hoping to earn a promotion, communicate your professional aspirations and help the employer to understand your “why,” such as long-term goals, a deep interest in learning and growing, a belief in the potential of your company, Messina advised.

“Ensure there are clear milestones for the promotion you seek and what an appropriate cadence would be to track your progress,” whether quarterly or bi-annually, she added.

Create an Action Plan

Establish a roadmap for developing skills that supersede your current role. This can include building additional industry expertise and the required interpersonal skills to step into the role for which you are striving.

Messina explained: “You will be in the best position to be selected for a promotion if you are far exceeding the competence required for your current role and are a collaborative and reliable teammate. Executing your action plan will make it abundantly clear that you are ready for the next level.”

Actively Seek and Be Highly Responsive to Feedback

Messina noted: “High self-awareness, a growth mindset and strong communication skills are all assets that leaders look for when a position opens up for which they could hire within the current team.”

Look for Ways To Grow the Business as a Whole

The business coach advised proactively looking for solutions that will benefit your entire department. Volunteer for “stretch and cross-functional assignments,” with a focus on growing the business as a whole and not just your personal development.

“Companies want to invest in employees who are equally as invested in them,” she said.

Do you have a work-related questions or dilemma to share? Let us know at [email protected] and we can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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