Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: The 2 traits that are guaranteed to get you promoted

"How do I get a promotion?" If you've grappled with this question, only to be left feeling confused or frustrated, you're certainly not alone.

Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch knows what it really takes to rise. She's worked with hundreds of executives, written extensively about leadership and has been a boss herself.

She says that those who get a promotion are known for consistently delivering excellent results. But to really shine, Welch says that you need to distinguish yourself on a personal level.

Suzy Welch
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Suzy Welch

"You're going to need two other traits to guarantee that promotion, and they both start with 'G,'" she says. Here are the qualities Welch says are key to getting ahead, and how to demonstrate that you've got them:

1. Grit

Inevitably you're going to receive some tedious assignments. Completing them with a positive attitude, Welch says, is something your boss will notice.

"Grit is getting the job done without complaint," Welch says, "especially in challenging situations."

To show grit, don't give up when the simplest solution isn't an option. Be creative and show resolve in completing the assignments you're given. Welch says a boss can identify grit in an employee who demonstrates "perseverance, resolve, creativity and the ability to just figure it out."

To show grit, don't give up on difficult problems the first time around.
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To show grit, don't give up on difficult problems the first time around.

In performance reviews, label yourself as someone with grit, and bring examples of how you've shown it throughout the year.

2. Gravitas

The second trait, gravitas, is all about presence and the way you carry yourself.

"You can showcase gravitas in voice, language and attire," she says. "But most of all through the way you comport yourself."

Welch describes this elusive characteristic as a mixture of "seriousness, maturity, thoughtfulness, wisdom" — traits that are tough to fake, and that will lead your boss and colleagues to respect you and give your perspective greater consideration.

You can also cultivate gravitas, Welch says, through the behaviors you avoid, like gossiping, being unprepared for meetings, interrupting others or improvising important presentations.

"Learn when to talk and when to listen respectfully," she says. "If you're not sure about something, ask a good question."

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Not sure if you possess natural grit or gravitas? Don't worry. Welch suggests asking a trusted colleague, or better yet, your boss, to rate you on key traits. Constructive, honest feedback can help you learn where you need to grow in order to get ahead.

"The best thing about the two G's," says Welch, "is that if you weren't born with them, you can develop them over time."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker.

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