You’ve Been Passed Over For A Promotion. Now What?

Being passed over for a promotion feels awful. You may feel embarrassed, ashamed, and downright angry. It’s far too easy to be consumed by emotions and react by lashing out. Launching a campaign to discredit the person via gossip and complaints is certainly an option. However, by doing this, you are probably showing the decision makers and your colleagues why you weren’t chosen to be promoted in the first place.

Promotions are Difficult Decisions

Making a decision about who should be promoted can be very difficult for the people who are involved in making the final decision. These decision makers understand that emotions are involved and one of their top concerns, especially if there is competition, is losing a team member because they were passed over for a promotion. It’s a huge risk that involves multiple people. Promotions should be a time to celebrate a person’s success, however, these situations can also compromise culture. The point? If you have been passed up for a promotion, take a moment to understand the situation at a high-level. This was not an easy decision and the competition was probably very close.

Look Inward

If there’s only one thing about this topic that you remember, it should be this: The only person who is responsible for not getting the promotion is you. This is an opportunity for you to evaluate yourself, your intentions, and your goals. Reach out to the person (or people) you report to and rather than use that time to complain, ask for feedback. What were the differentiating factors and what can you do in the future to improve?

The higher up the corporate ladder you climb, the less opportunity there is to receive constructive feedback. Take every opportunity you can to learn and grow.

Communicate And Act On Your Intentions

Ask yourself this one simple question. Does your boss or the decision makers in your organization know that you want to be promoted? Nine times out of ten, people who want to be promoted don’t tell anyone. Effective communicators and more importantly, leaders, clearly communicate their intentions and act on those intentions.

If you want to be promoted, let the decision makers know. Create goals, work towards those goals, and have ongoing and open conversations about your progress. Surprises are a leader’s worst enemy, so do everything you can to avoid them. Be proactive about your career growth and understand exactly why you were or were not promoted.

Related: Goals are a way to create opportunity for yourself

Maintain a Leader Perspective

Regardless if you received the promotion or not, you are perceived as a leader and leadership is not always easy. Leaders are looked to during times of success, but more importantly, leaders are looked to during times of challenge or failure. The way you handle success as a leader may not be remembered, but the way you handle distress certainly will be.