A version of this article originally appeared on Learnvest.com.
Have you ever been promoted? If so, congratulations. If not, there might be something you can do about that. Even if you're not specifically looking for a flashier title or more money (although who isn't?), these tips will help you become—or remain—a valued employee.
We interviewed nearly a dozen bosses, in fields ranging from marketing and tech to new media, executive recruiting and financial planning. They shared exactly why they'd promoted a direct report in the past. From telling the boss when she's wrong to schmoozing at happy hour, their answers just might surprise you.
1. Tell Me I'm Wrong
"I love when someone smart challenges my thinking," says one boss.
That's not to say you should be arguing with your supervisors on a regular basis, but if you have a well-thought-out point that disagrees with your boss's plan, consider bringing it up directly. As this boss says, "I love it even more when a person has the data/facts or examples to actually make their point."
2. Bring the Bad News First
"Don't tell me how fantastic you are. Tell me what is going wrong and, even more importantly, what it is you are going to do to fix it."
Ultimately, a mistake or issue is your boss's responsibility, so make sure your supervisor is aware of any large-scale or constant problems. This doesn't mean you should e-mail every time the printer is a little wonky, but you should make sure your boss is apprised of any serious issues.
This serves two purposes: First, it lets your boss know you're on top of the problem and working to fix it. Second, it gives your boss the time to work on her own solution, or at least prepare for a different course of action ... and to present it to her boss.
3. Be Drama-Free
"I don't care if you don't like the person you sit next to or think the Post-It notes should be yellow, not blue. Bring me drama, and I am certain that you are not worthy of the next step."
Especially in an office environment, we have to work closely with different personalities and in less-than-ideal situations. Unless there's a real problem (read: you feel unsafe or can't complete your work), keep complaints to yourself. As one boss says, "Your job is to make your boss's life easier, not plop your drama on his or her lap. Save that for your friends and family or your diary."
Another boss agrees: "If you gossip a lot, it's a problem."
"Your boss would like to harbor the fantasy that you actually like your job, since she is paying you, spending more time with you than her family and helping you more than you realize," one boss told us. "You can at least smile and seem like you are enjoying things in return."
You don't need to blind every passerby with your pearly whites, but remember that no matter how close your deadline or how heavy your workload, other people will take their cues from you. If you're snapping at co-workers and frowning, they'll snap and frown right back. Instead, take a breath, put on a smile, and show your boss you appreciate the opportunity.