Asking about your delayed promotion without seeming pushy

a female boss talking to her employee

I was suddenly reminded of a close friend at work who was “chasing” after her promotion but kept facing delays.

It was not just a frustrating experience for her but for me as well because I was looking forward to her promotion as much as she was.

But days turned to weeks and weeks to months; nothing happened.

Is that you too?

You’ve been promised a promotion by your boss but months have passed and you’ve yet to receive any official email or letter from your HR?

Then this article is for you.

Keep your emotions in check

Yes, I know your emotions are running high now.

It’s natural.

But showing your emotions for the world to see at work can sabo you instead of aiding the situation.

Woah, woah, don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not asking you to ignore your feelings. It’s unhealthy.

I’ve “exploded” once at work before and I know how it feels to bottle everything up.

What I’m saying is that you should know the difference between “feeling” and “showing” your emotions.

If you need someone to talk to about the situation, connect with someone outside of work, or better still, seek a professional counselor.

Schedule a meeting to discuss the issue

Sometimes, even the most patient among us needs a gentle reminder about something promised but not delivered.

Don’t second guess your boss’ thoughts. Reach out and ask if you can schedule a meeting to talk about your promotion. Of course, be armed with the main points you want to make.

Share that you are looking for clarity as to when the promotion may come through (since you’ve waited long enough since the last talk).

Tip: Keep that accusatory tone in your bag.

Come prepared with examples of your achievements

If you’ve stayed long enough, you would have some past performance reviews stashed somewhere, right?


Image Credits:

Use that as a starting point.

Highlight the positives in your past reviews—whether that be praises from your colleagues, successful projects you spearheaded, or any other accomplishments that speak to the value you’ve added thus far.

You can also share some “evidence” of successes that you’ve had since the promise of your promotion was made.

But we all know we’re not flawless.

So play the balance game by mentioning your shortcomings—delayed project deadlines or issues with communication—whatever it is, openly acknowledging your flaws can show that you’re aware of personal areas of improvement.

Express your commitment to career growth at the company

You want the promotion for the money. That’s a fact.

But showing it upfront is not going to get you anywhere.

You want your boss to know that you don’t just want the promotion—you want to take ownership of the opportunity and drive results for the company.

And you can do so by revealing your long-term vision for yourself and the company.

Showing that staying at the company is part of your long-term plans will help demonstrate that you don’t just want the position—you want to be here over time, to contribute in every single way.

Okay lah, a bit fake but you want the promotion, right?

Ask for clear next steps and timelines

You can’t be waiting forever for a delayed promotion.

I sure won’t.

So ask for the details about your promotion. This will give you an idea of how long the process may take.

But be reasonable too.

For example, if your bosses are dealing with a huge project or it’s “paperwork season”, they may need more time than usual to process your promotion.

This is why it’s important to be patient and understanding when waiting for an official confirmation of your promotion.

Gear up for the next steps if the promotion ain’t happening

If months have gone by (or worse still, a year or two) and there’s still no sign of your long-awaited promotion, it’s time to think ahead.

Perhaps it’s about time you start looking elsewhere for opportunities that could help you get ahead in your career.

Go to job search portals and start researching potential similar roles in other companies.

Prep your resume and portfolio, write cover letters… you know the drill, yeah?

And yes, it’s time to log in to your moldy LinkedIn profile and start networking—you never know what opportunities may arise.

However, be sure to not neglect your current duties in your role as you await more updates from your boss and HR manager.

And always, always, leave on a good note (if you’re resigning). Burning bridges won’t do you any good.

As we close, if your boss is delaying your promotion, don’t be afraid to ask why. Be direct but polite, and make sure you’re specific about the terms of the promotion. By being mindful of both your needs as well as your boss’, you can have a productive conversation about your delayed promotion without seeming pushy. Remember, the only way to get what you want is to ask for it. Don’t settle for anything less than you deserve.


Do these things if you want a work promotion soon

colleagues looking at a laptop

Peeps who’ve been with the same company for some time now, it’s normal to be thinking of a pay increase or title raise.

Well, who wouldn’t want some extra cash in the bank each month for savings or investments? We could all do with a bit of perk-me-up via a position raise from “executive” to “manager”, right?

But if you’ve been working for a decade or longer, you would know that a career advancement doesn’t come that easily. Do these things if you want a work promotion soon.

#1: Seek feedback from your superior

One of the best ways to get promoted is to ask for one. Set a time to meet with your boss, and bring your case for promotion to the table.

But before you do that, make sure you’re ready to share your achievements over the years, your upgraded skills, and the potential value you can bring to the company should you be given a title raise.

If your boss seems to be sitting on the fence amid the discussion, don’t leave the conversation hanging. Seek specific projects that you can undertake or accomplish to get the promotion, and then follow your superior’s directions to earn yourself a chance in the subsequent months to bring the topic back on the radar.

#2: Observe promoted colleagues
a group of young asians at work

Image Credits: Her World

Look at your coworkers who have been promoted ahead of you. Do they have something in common? Are there some aspects of what the company seeks that has made them better candidates than you do?

Maybe there is a specific certification or credential that your company finds very appealing in an employee. To find out, it’s time to be a social butterfly. Attend social work events where possible and be engaged with your peers in the same industry to get updated on what’s up and coming. 

You may also volunteer to work on team projects headed by those promoted to give yourself a chance to see for yourself the skills your promoted colleagues hold.

#3: Add value to everything you do

The management team will judge you based on whether or not you add value to the company. In other words, it’s the assessment of worth and your indispensability for the company’s growth.

Give them the very best, no matter how small the task may be, and they will likely see you as someone worth keeping. A job well done will never be overlooked as the benefits it brings add up over time.

#4: Search for ways to be noticeable

Image Credits:

Being a great employee and an eligible candidate for that promotion may not be enough if nobody notices you and your hard work.

If you want to start being more visible, being helpful is a great way to get noticed at your workplace. Volunteer to be on projects or initiate leading challenging tasks if you think you’re up for the job. Look out for opportunities to display any relevant niche knowledge you have.

At the end of a project cycle, see if you can set an appointment with your direct supervisor to check in on what they think of your contribution. Should they be unsatisfied with your performance, work on their feedback and take it positively instead of being defensive over it.

#5: Lead whenever you can

As you advance, you will require progressively more leadership skills in the company’s hierarchy. Leadership skills can refer to conflict management and an ability to motivate or steer your colleagues in the right direction.

Keeping up with excellent work performance through taking the initiative is a way to get noticed. Both your coworkers and superiors will come to know of the good shepherd that you are. In the long run, the company will trust you with more significant projects, and if done well, a promotion awaits.

#6: Be a positive presence
a female colleague motivating her coworkers

Image Credits: HealthHub

It can be easier to dwell on negativity amid workplace stress and criticisms. But negativity won’t get you anywhere.

Companies want leaders who have a positive outlook and can inspire people, not pessimistic and off-putting ones. Being a positive presence in the office will set you apart from the crowd and distinguish you when that promotion opportunity opens up.

#7: Recognise workplace issues and solve them

Have you ever worked with someone who complains about anything and everything? Such people can be viewed as toxic as they are consistently whining about things.

Instead of making a fuss over a particular business process and grumbling about it non-stop during break times, craft real solutions to improve the situation. Find specific business cases to convince your manager that it’s worth spending some money fixing a particular process. Then do your best to pitch it to them.

Take it as an excellent way to show that you’re a self-starter and keen on doing something that can benefit the company and its employees.

#8: Keep up with your work ethics
an asian woman leading a meeting

Image Credits:

One factor that all of these suggestions have in common is that they require hard work to set yourself apart from your peers. One of the best ways to do so is to show an exceptional work ethic.

Work ethic can be defined as an attitude of determination and dedication towards your job. Maintain your focus at work, be punctual for all work meetings, and make sure you’re keeping up with the deadlines. You can’t be asking for a promotion if you can’t even get your foundations right.

Final thoughts

We’re not going to lie because it will take a lot of effort to get ahead and receive that promotion. Besides the tips mentioned above, you will need to find a way to stay motivated as you work towards that pay raise.

Organise your thoughts by making a plan to achieve that long-awaited promotion. When you have it all written down, it’s easier to check back and evaluate to see if you’re on the right track. Your time will come. Keep at it!