Former Navy SEAL: Don't do this if you want to get promoted

Former Navy SEAL: This is the best way to get promoted

Want to get ahead at work? Don't fixate on landing a promotion, says former U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, who is now an author and leadership coach.

If you're focused on earning a title change or salary bump, he tells CNBC Make It, "you start to miss out on the things that are important parts of your job," such as being a team player or supporting your boss.

Plus, only looking out for yourself might rub your coworkers the wrong way, which can hurt you in the long run. "In your mind, you think no one notices that you're maneuvering and you're trying to be noticed, when in reality, most of the time when you're trying to stand up above everyone else … everyone else on the team notices and they don't like it," he says.

That means that "when the opportunity comes for them to pull you down, they're going to take it."

Former US Navy SEALs Jocko Willink (L) and Lefi Babin (R).
Jocko Willink

It sounds counterintuitive, but "one of the best ways to ensure that you get promoted and you get put in a leadership role is to not worry about getting promoted and getting put in a leadership role," says Willink. Instead, direct your energy towards working hard and adding value to your team.

If you focus on supporting your colleagues, "you will get noticed for that," he continues. "And when people have the opportunity to pull you up, they're going to do that. So, don't focus on yourself. Don't focus on your promotion. Focus on doing a great job."

If you do that, "in the long run, you'll get your selection," he says, adding: "All leaders know that great team members, if given the right opportunity, will step up and turn into great team leaders."

Don't focus on yourself. Don't focus on your promotion. Focus on doing a great job.
Jocko Willink
former U.S. Navy SEAL

At the same time, you want to make sure you don't go completely unnoticed, Willink says: "If you start to turn into someone that doesn't ever voice their opinion because you don't want to ruffle any feathers, then you could perhaps get overlooked.

"You want to find a good, solid balance between being a solid performer, keeping your mouth shut, not interfering with people, but at the same time, being a positive force on the team. ... That kind of attitude is what everyone is looking for inside of an organization."

Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch offers similar advice when it comes to landing a promotion. Always over-deliver, she says, and make sure you're going above and beyond with the intent of helping your entire team and not just yourself.

"Don't mix up over-delivering with being ambitious," she tells CNBC Make It. "Overzealous ladder-climbing is about you. Over-delivering results is about making your company and colleagues more successful."

In short, the key to getting to the next level at work is to "over-deliver on results and under-deliver on office drama," says Welch. Doing this, she adds, is "a one-two career punch that's hard to beat."

Don't miss: Ex-Navy SEAL commander: What to do when coworkers aren't pulling their weight

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