As a manager I am constantly on the look out for great people with potential. One the primary things I am always looking for is a great attitude, the kind that is always saying "sure thing boss" and then following that up with reliable execution. Attitude matters as much, and sometimes more than, ability. I have had many people work for me who are great workers with excellent knowledge about the process, but I won't promote them because they don't get along with others, they wander too much, they need too many reminders to do the little things correctly, or they complain and argue about everything. These kind of behaviors will kill a team.
Another big thing I look for is someone who will be a supporter of the store processes. Many times people in corporate offices will roll process changes out that retail stores are expected to execute, even if they don't agree with them. Associates who jump on board and support the change positively are a breathe of fresh air to their managers. Most of the time management is handcuffed when it comes to the choice about executing changes, and associates who understand that, stay positive (there's that attitude thing again), and help initiate the change have a much better chances of advancing their careers upward.
Thirdly, to be successful associates have to own their own development. I recommend that they start a folder of accomplishments during the course of a year. This is extremely helpful for them to chart their progress and see their success. It is also very useful they are asked to write a self-review. If you want to promote in your job find a manager in your workplace that you trust, and ask them for thirty minutes sometime to express your career goals. Ask them for ideas on tasks and company goals you can own and then try to drive tangible improvements in those areas. Use your accomplishment folder to hold yourself accountable and then chart your success.