No one wants to be in a position where they’re passed over for promotion, but this can certainly be a turning point in your career. So what do you do if you get passed over for a promotion? It may be tempting to act with an attitude and lower the quality of your work, but that’s an amateur move. What’s the best way to handle this situation? Don’t get pissed – work harder to get even by improving yourself.
Reasons to get a promotion
When you get a promotion, you automatically have a good perception of yourself being excellent at your job. Knowing your efforts have been validated will motivate you to work harder, and you’ll get inspired to do even better work moving forward.
Getting a promotion is usually tied to both a higher position (bragging rights) and a higher salary. There may be additional incentives, but these two are the most intrinsic and extrinsically valuable to employees.
With great power comes great responsibility. With increased responsibility usually comes increased opportunity. A new position gives you the opportunity to expand skills and knowledge and gain more experience in your industry.
Why others get promoted, but not you
You lack the technical skills
It’s a common misconception for employees that promotion decisions are solely based on the performance for their current role. Even if you are good in your certain position, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be good on another. If the position for promotion requires a certain skill that you don’t possess, you need to accept the fact that you may not be qualified – at least in this point in time.
You lack the soft skills
Most non-entry level positions involve mastery of particular soft skills (business communication, leadership, confidence) sometimes even more so than technical skills. Even if you’re technically adept, you might be lacking the soft skills required for the promotion you’re after.
Look for opportunities to improve soft skills, like a Toastmasters membership or regular attendance at networking events. Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile with these activities and let your team (and boss!) know that you’re working to improve yourself.
You don’t take feedback well
Try to reflect both in good times and bad. You should ask your coworkers and superior for feedback to add structure to this process. Unfortunately, getting defensive can be a career advancement killer. So don’t get defensive. Be curious enough to learn how to improve yourself and act on this feedback.
You lack professionalism
You might have done something like:
- Failed to maintain confidentiality (and were found out)
- Joined or started gossip within the workplace
- Dressed for the job you have, not the job you want
- Didn’t put clients on a pedestal
At least inside the workplace (especially around management), you have to behave and stay professional to be considered for promotion.
You don’t take initiative
If you proactive work to solve problems, it shows that you care about the company long term. Don’t just look and listen – try to get involved and come up with your own solution to a problem. Taking initiative will show your ability to lead.
What to do when you get passed over for promotion
Check your emotions
It’s hard to deny the fact that getting passed over for a promotion will hurt. It’s OK to get angry, but censor the way you display your emotions in public and even to fellow coworkers or your boss in private. Don’t make any quick decisions, like deciding to quit, before you’ve had some time and space from the situation. Before making any move, calm yourself down and get to a place where you can think rationally.
Ask yourself – did you really deserve the position? Was the person who got the promotion a worthy adversary equally (or more so) deserving of it?
Take some time to journal your opinions and let it all out before seeking feedback from others. Once you’ve calmed down, feel free to seek the input of coworkers and your boss. This is a valuable part of the process that will help you determine what needs to happen so you don’t get passed over for a promotion in the future.
Act, don’t complain
Don’t dwell on the situation. Instead, focus your energy on positive actions. Take the initiative to do something that will help with your professional development and get you ahead in your career. This could be as simple as asking the people on your team how you can help them be better at their jobs, or as complicated as going back to school for another degree. Any action is better than complaining and contributing a negative attitude to your team.
The reasons why you got passed over for promotion might deeper than how they look on the surface. It’s important to not let a position define you. It may hurt, but don’t let it ruin opportunities for you moving forward. If you’re passed over for promotion, don’t get pissed, get even. Start taking steps to deal with the situation and improve yourself in areas you might be lacking.
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