How promotable are you?

Have you ever stopped to consider whether you are promotable? Not just whether you think you are ready to step up to the next rung on the corporate ladder, but whether you have what it takes, whether others perceive you as potentially promotable.

Here are some questions arranged under six headings, to help you assess your promotability. Don’t just tick each one – be honest with yourself. For example, do you really walk your talk? Do you know what your talk is in order to even know if you walk it? You might think you do, but others might see it differently. Any that are a definite ‘No’ signal something to pay attention to.


Two aspects of reputation are important: your character and your track record.


  • Do you adopt a principled approach to your work?
  • Do you acknowledge mistakes and learn from them?
  • Do you model professional behaviour?
  • Do you commit energy and drive to your work?
  • Are you persistent?
  • Are you calm under pressure?
  • Do you ‘walk your talk’?
  • Do you reflect on your own behaviour and recognise its impact on others?
  • Do you show commitment to learning and development?

Track record

  • Do you establish clear plans and timeframes?
  • Do you see projects through to completion?
  • Do you have a positive and flexible manner, able to adapt to changes and uncertainty?
  • Do you share your expertise?
  • Have you volunteered to ‘go the extra mile’?
  • Do you review project performance and identify opportunities for improvement?
  • Do you negotiate responsibility for work outcomes?
  • Do you take responsibility for meeting objectives and progressing work?
  • Do you show initiative?
Corporate awareness
  • Do you identify the relationship between the organisation’s goals and your operational tasks?
  • Do you understand the reasons for decisions?
  • Do you contribute to the development of plans, strategies and team goals?
  • Do you take an active interest in organisational matters?
  • Do you identify broader influences that may impact on your work?
  • Do you maintain an awareness of the organisation and keep informed on issues?
  • Do you recognise the links between interconnected issues?
People skills
  • Do you involve others and recognise their contributions?
  • Do you consult with others and share information?
  • Do you work collaboratively and operate as an effective team member?
  • Are you able to see things from different perspectives?
Networks and allies
  • Do you actively mix and mingle with colleagues, clients, stakeholders and professionals?
  • Have you developed a network of contacts?
  • Do you participate in professional networks and communities?
  • Have your formed alliances across your organisation?
  • Are you known as a ‘circle of influence’?
  • Have you used coaches and mentors?
  • Have you established links with a range of senior staff who could speak favourably on your performance?
  • Have you examined what is required of people at the next level?
  • What special skills and abilities are involved?
  • Have you assessed whether you match these requirements?
  • Are you willing to take on the extra responsibility?
  • What is your leadership potential?
  • How do you rate as a manager?
  • Have you got the political nous to operate effectively at the next level?
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.