What You Should Do When You Don’t Get the Promotion

What to do when you don't get the promotion

You just heard that a coworker got the promotion you thought would be awarded to you. What should you do:

  1. Scream and run out of the building?
  2. March into the boss’s office and demand why?
  3. Start bad-mouthing the newly appointed coworker?
  4. Immediately quit your job?

When you see these responses written down, it obvious the answer is NONE of the above? Then why do we do a variation (e.g. we might not scream, but excuse ourselves and cry in the bathroom away from prying eyes) of one or more of these things when we are passed over for a promotion?

The way you handle yourself when you don’t get the promotion is key. Mess that up, and you will continue to get passed over again and again and again, I promise. After all it’s how you lose that counts, not how you win.

Learning from Disappointment

Before you even here if who got the promotion, remember not the take the decision personally. This is work after all and whether someone is promoted should be due to ability and whether or not the candidate is the best fit for the promotion.

If promotions are not awarded for ability, skills, and/or performance, at your place of work, there are bigger problems to deal with. In this case, you may need to evaluate if the job is worth the time and effort.

But, if your organization does promote on ability and not politics, it’s time for a little self-reflection to learn from the disappointment, not react to it. In fact, sometimes the best way to move a career forward is to embrace conflict, and this certainly qualifies as one of those times!

Ask yourself the following questions to move on, away from the letdown:

  1. Did you do enough to deserve the promotion? Just performing required job duties is probably not enough to show you deserve increased responsibility.
  2. Are you ready for the advanced position, or did you just “want” it?
  3. Were supervisors aware you wanted the promotion? Never assume the boss knows you want to advance.

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, it’s up to you to find out why another employee was awarded the job. Do not let your disappointment fester and poison your chances for future advancement. Ask for a meeting to discuss why and find out what needs to be done to remedy the situation.

However, do not approach the boss right after you hear the news either. Take time to process the information, formulate your thoughts for a meaningful conversation. “Sleeping on it” is the best advice. Things always look better in the morning.

You’re Not Alone

60% of American workers say they have been passed over for a promotion or award at work. Use this disappointing development to shine. Do not let it squelch your dreams and prevent any future advancement.

Remember, how you deal with it can make or break a chance for the next promotion. Make sure to handle the rejection in a professional manner.

  • Do not take it personally
  • Do not give into knee jerk reactions, sleep on it before commenting or seeking explanations
  • Take an honest look at yourself
  • Set up a meeting to discuss why you were passed over
  • Handle yourself in a professional manner and ask what you can do to get the next promotion

You never know, being passed over might be the best thing for your career.

Improve Communication with Fun Team Building

Larry Lipman of Fun Team Building has been facilitating team building meetings for over 20 years. He has vast experience getting participants to open up and work effectively as a team. Call Larry at 770-333-3303 to set up a free 15 minute consultation.

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