Being good at your job isn’t enough to get the promotion you desire. While you may be an expert in your niche, talent is rarely enough to land you a top spot in a company. While no employee is perfect, you’re more likely to be promoted for your attitude versus your aptitude. As a wise person once said, actions speak louder than words.

Looking to get promoted but can’t seem to climb the ladder? Here are 5 habits that may be problematic.

  1. Complaining

There’s no perfect workplace. No matter where you work you’ll come across stressful clients, hard-headed employees, and processes that can be improved. Complaining rarely leads to anything good. In fact, it usually breeds negativity, decreases team morale, and impacts the positive work atmosphere. No one wants a complainer, let alone one who leads the company.

The Fix

When voicing your concerns, focus on using a positive tone. If you have something to complain about, always offer a suggestion and keep it positive. Find a way to turn your complaint into a constructive criticism. This way everyone can learn from it and work to make the necessary changes.

  1. Being a Bad Listener

Leaders not only need to know how to deliver messages, they also need to be able to listen to others. Listening is one of the most important parts of interpersonal communication. Just as you want your message to be heard, so do others. If you find that you’re constantly interrupting or missing the point from someone else’s comments, your leadership may be taking note.

The Fix

Successful communication comes down to listening. To improve your overall communication skills in the workplace:

  • Embrace active listening
  • Keep eye contact
  • Avoid distractions
  • Ask questions vs. responding

Brushing up on your listening skills may better position you to take on a leadership role. Remember, good leaders are able to listen to their subordinates and relay the proper message to higher ups.

  1. Smoking

While you may not think it, your smoking habit may be impacting your ability to get a promotion. Smoking has shown to impact workplace productivity as well as absenteeism. In fact, studies have even shown that employees who smoke may cost their company anywhere between $2,000-$10,000 a year when considering the cost of smoke breaks, health care, absenteeism, and presenteeism. If you’re a smoker, your habit may be keeping you from being as productive and involved as you need to be to earn that next rank.

The Fix

There’s no wrong or right way to quit smoking. Some people find success in quitting cold turkey while others prefer to gradually wean off of nicotine by using patches or gum. Some people have even turned to vaping, which allows ex-smokers to get the sensation of smoking without the harmful side effects. More than 9 million adults vape regularly. With the right vape mod and ejuice, you too can kick smoking to the curb for good.

  1. Lacking Engagement

Company leadership is looking to promote employees who are engaged. Those who take an active role in the company are much more likely to be noticed. If you’re mostly silent in meetings or don’t speak up when you have an idea, management may see you as unengaged and/or uninterested.

The Fix

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Questions show that you’re interested and actively participating in the topic at hand. You’ll also want to avoid common workplace disruptors like your phone, social media, and your personal email. Be engaged from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave.

  1. Tardiness

If you’re looking to make your way into a leadership position, it’s important to realize that leadership is what defines and drives culture. Tardiness isn’t a value that a company wants to embrace. Constantly showing up late to work or to meetings doesn’t reflect well on you. No matter if you’re 5 minutes or 30 minutes late, late is late. And while you may think that no one notices your lateness, chances are they do. If anyone has complained about your tardiness or been impacted by it, you can rest assured that the information has made its way to your superiors.

The Fix

No one will complain if you’re late due to weather or circumstances beyond your control, especially if it doesn’t happen very often. But if you find that you’re late to work because you hit the snooze button, you’ll want to find ways to go to sleep earlier or ways to get yourself out of bed as soon as the first alarm goes off.

If you’re late to meetings, you’ll want to brush up on your time management and scheduling skills. Use a calendar to keep track of meetings. You can even download a mobile app that keeps you in the know, even when you’re away from your desk.


If you suffer from any of these habits, don’t wait another workday to end them. Improve yourself as an employee to best position yourself for a promotion next cycle.

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