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50 Ways To Avoid Screwing Up Your New Promotion (series)

2014 September 29
tags: Development, Effectiveness, Leadership, Promotion, Reputation, Self-Care, Valuing Others
by Andrew   

Note: This will be a series of five posts, each with ten points essential to making and maintaining a good impression in a new promotion.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

So, you’ve been promoted. Congratulations! The hard part isn’t over. Sure, you prepared for, competed for, perhaps longed or fought for the promotion, and you got it. But there are plenty of ways to fail to keep it, and many of them can have your executives questioning their decision if you aren’t careful.

The fifty tips in this series, ten a week, are intended to help you set a sustainable pace in your new role and avoid some all-too-common problems that can befall people.

The list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it hopefully will build a framework for you to fill in with your own additional notes as you read.

  • Don’t bring social or political agendas into your workplace. They have no place inside the workplace except where the advocacy for such agendas is part of your job.  Otherwise, they will do no good and may well do you irreparable harm. It’s up to you if you want to discuss such things with coworkers outside the office, but it’s also largely up to you whether you’re successful or not when it comes to your reputation. It is far too easy to alienate someone who shares an opinion different from yours, but it’s also easy to alienate people who share opinions similar to yours if you’re overly zealous about sharing them and they prefer to keep politics out of their work environment.
  • Don’t use work computers for inappropriate purposes. This one should seem easy to do and go without saying, but people get disciplined or fired every day for using their office computers to trade stocks, run a home business, gamble, view inappropriate material, and send inappropriate messages. Use the equipment for work, and only for work.  And keep an eye out for the NSFW tag on Internet posts if you’re allowed to use the web for non-work browsing.  NSFW stands for Not Safe For Work and it is usually applied by considerate writers or re-posters to flag items that contain material more likely than not to get someone in varying temperatures of hot water at work. And a final word on NSFW…don’t open it and forward it to yourself at home from your work computer.
  • Don’t tell jokes that reflect insensitivity toward others. They likely aren’t funny, they’re definitely in poor taste, and you will develop a reputation as being insensitive or discriminatory. I’m not talking about good-natured ribbing of coworkers that is common in a workplace with mutual respect. I’m talking about jokes based on size, ethnicity, gender, appearance, socioeconomic status, sexuality, or any other joke that can shame others.
  • Don’t get drunk at the office. I don’t think I need to explain this one. If I do, please seek help from Alcoholics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery.
  • Don’t get drunk at lunch. Yes, it’s probably your own time and they aren’t paying you for it…depending on your job. But returning from lunch in a state of inebriation is unlikely to impress your coworkers or fellow executives, and it is guaranteed to negatively impact your health and job performance.
  • Don’t get drunk on travel. Travel is not an opportunity to behave in less acceptable ways than you do in the office, no matter how many people seem to believe that it is. Drink responsibily. And don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t get drunk at the holiday party. Holiday parties seem to be the time where people have waaaaay too much fun with the expectation that there will be no consequences. Such is not the case…and many a holiday party has ruined the career prospects of rising stars. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have fun…a lot of fun. I’m suggesting you be responsible and set a positive example.
  • Don’t harass people with requests for dates, flirting, or sexual favors. This shouldn’t need explaining, but the concept invariably gets broken regularly and sometimes with embarrassing headlines for some people. For others, it’s just embarrassment at work and potential loss of an otherwise stellar career. And for some people, these behaviors seem to be part and parcel of power dynamics. Regardless, the victims of these behaviors are never going to consider them to be lighthearted fun because they are not harmless, lighthearted fun, and the offenders in these cases are committing egregious acts that range from harassment, to intimidation, to sex crimes.
  • Don’t give the impression that you’re sleeping with the enemy. Be wary of giving the impression that you’re associating too closely with the competition for your organization’s work, and be very cautious about protecting organizational secrets. You do not want to give the impression that you’re considering jumping ship for the competition simply to get a raise or a better office, because you likely have nondisclosure agreements and potentially non-compete agreements. You also will paint yourself as untrustworthy.
  • Don’t sleep with the enemy. Depending upon the industry or professional field, a certain level of association with the competition is either inevitable or expected; be cautious in how you develop and portray the relationships. Don’t give either party the impression that you’re leveraging the relationships for personal gain…and don’t leverage the relationships purely for personal gain. Time was that organizations valued loyalty and perseverance without question…that may no longer be the case in many organizations, but as Shakespeare wrote, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”


This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

~Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3

Take care, and enjoy life,


Photo Credit: Flickr (Robert S. Donovan)


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