The Highlands Company Blog

3 Simple Ways to Get Promoted at Work

An article by Luke DeLaVergne, founder of Thrive Consulting.

Have you wondered when you will have an opportunity to promote? Or have you felt as if your potential was not being observed by the right leaders?

Let me first reassure you… you ARE uniquely gifted. You have talent that can translate into leadership positions within your organization. So, the question becomes…”how do I get in position for the next promotion opportunity?”

As a non-profit leader and career coach, I want to provide you with 3 easy ways you can position yourself to advance in your field.

Before I jump into the 5 ways to position yourself to promote at work, I want to share a personal story with you. When I was in college in the early 2000s, my wife and I (yes, we got married super young, but it’s worked out well for 18 years, so don’t judge) were trying to get involved in a local faith community. We attended a church that had thousands of members, plenty of other college students, and numerous resources for young adults…but we felt disengaged. We felt invisible in this church, but being in a rural area of Arkansas, there were not many other options. We were beginning to discuss the possibility of leaving the church to find somewhere we could feel “plugged in.”

My wife decided to call her father, who was a pastor and wise mentor to us. I shared my feelings about feeling overlooked at the church. My father-in-law responded with something that changed my perspective on every moment I’ve felt disengaged. He said “Well….I’m hearing you both say that you feel unknown at this church, so what are YOU doing to put yourselves in position to BECOME KNOWN?”

That simple question led to a new mindset for me. Instead of waiting around to be noticed or become known in any setting, I became determined to position myself to become known. In the story of our church, my wife and I decided to get involved in a class with older adults rather than college students. These warm, welcoming people invited us into their small group, into their homes, and into a deeper relationship. We developed incredible relationships with people that we thought would never connect with us. Lesson learned!

A recent survey revealed that 70% of workers in America feel disengaged. More than 75% of workers leave their jobs, not because of money, but rather because of the lack of recognition from their leaders.

Use the information in this blog to determine yourself to get in a position to promote. Before you quit, before you start searching for other jobs, before you become dejected from feeling overlooked, try these strategies first…


You were designed to be a success in this world! You have been given a unique set of brain pathways and life experiences that have equipped you to be successful in the right work role and environment. According to a recent Gallup poll, 85% of people “hate their jobs.” I have learned why. It is not because of difficult coworkers, a lazy boss, boring desk space, or a lack of cool office features. People only grow to hate their jobs when they feel they are not using their talents to their maximum potential. You were made to achieve things that no one else is designed to achieve. You are hardwired a certain way and discovering your natural abilities is the way to find the role and position in which you can achieve tremendous success.

EXAMPLE: some people are hardwired to work in fast-paced, chaotic environments like an emergency room or a school. That person needs to bounce and move throughout the day, needs to use their quick, “think on the feet” kind of cognitive processing. Imagine what happens if that person is placed in a call center or traditional office environment doing routine tasks in a cubicle for 8 hours? You get the idea. In my work, I measure 19 different aptitudes that clarify your unique personal style, problem solving patterns, and specialized abilities.

You can clarify your talent in multiple ways:

a.       Work with a career coach to identify your unique gifts.

b.      Take objective assessments (not self-reporting assessments) to help you identify your natural abilities. The one I use with my clients is The Highlands Abilities Battery. You can take online assessments in a quick and easy fashion, but often they are self-reports rather than objective, scientifically validated tools to help you discover your abilities.

c.       All of the above! I would highly recommend that you work with a career coach to provide a personalized approach to your talent discovery along with a validated talent assessment tool.

Discovering your unique abilities provides clarity about the best ways you can add value to your employer.

2.    Speak up!

Often, the most vocal people on a team gravitate into leadership positions. Communicate your vision, ideas, and plans freely. Do not withhold ideas because you’re afraid someone will steal yours. The more you communicate with colleagues and supervisors, the more you will find they ask for your feedback and ideas. Put yourself in a position of value to the team by thoughtfully adding your ideas and input when it feels appropriate. I have seen many people who are extremely qualified and talented to be overlooked for promotions because they fail to speak up in the work place.

It is important for you to understand that speaking up does not mean that you need to share your every criticism of the company or leadership decision. When you share your ideas, remember to be solution focused. Filter your ideas by asking this simple question: “Will I add value to the discussion?”

EXAMPLE: While in a meeting, your boss asks for people to volunteer to serve on a project team. Regardless of the project, it might be wise for you to be one of the people to show your willingness to jump on that committee while others in the room are averting their eyes because they don’t want to get “volunt-told” that they have to serve on the committee. Or maybe you have an idea to make the project timeline more efficient, speak up and share your idea and a positive, solution-focused manner showing your colleagues and supervisors that you’re willing to be a helpful voice on the team.

3.    Create Added Value

Once you’ve gained the courage to speak up in team meetings to share your ideas that might help the team achieve its greatest goals, then you can explore new ways of adding value to the company. Think of this step as a “value bonus” beyond what value you already bring to the team. Team members who focus on going beyond their job description in ways that can be helpful to the mission of the company are usually viewed as strong leaders. Think about the leaders that you’ve respected the most. They are likely people who have gone beyond the call of duty of their basic jobs to achieve bigger goals. When team members see the “big picture” of the organization’s mission, they will be viewed as “big picture” people and given opportunities to show what they can do in leadership roles, even if those opportunities start small. Being trustworthy with the smaller opportunities will lead to bigger opportunities.

EXAMPLE: In my work as a non-profit leader, I’ve been asked to add on new states under my supervision because I’ve been willing to do some extras beyond my job description. When asked to attend a special customer service training with a few key leaders and develop a customer service training video for the entire company. “YEP, I’ll do that!” When asked if I would serve as a trainer for a peace-making workshop that would be rolled out to the entire company: “Yep, I’ll do that!” These moments of stepping up when asked to take on projects that were not within my job description have now led to take on and start up new regions for the organization as well as to serve on leadership committees that speak into the overall direction of the organization.

In our modern work culture, there is a movement that focuses on “getting in your lane” and “creating a niche.” While there is value to learning what you can and cannot accomplish and certainly value in creating work/personal boundaries for yourself, I’ve seen many young professionals less than willing to add extra value to the organization for fear of giving up too much of themselves or working long hours. If your goal is to grow into leadership roles at any company, it is important to push yourself to take on new and different challenges that will grow leadership experiences within you.

Highlands Consultant Luke DeLaVergne, LMFT, is the founder of Thrive Consulting, a career coaching agency based in Nashville. Thrive exists to create a purposeful future for students, professionals, and leaders.

“What if you could feel incredible satisfaction and purpose in life? Maybe you are a student considering which career path to pursue or an adult seeking help with a life transition. You could be a young professional figuring out your best career path. I am here to help you work through those transitions so that you can do more than survive in life…you can thrive!”

Contact Luke at